03.14.2013 - by Kirk Brown
What’s In A Name?

We’re headed towards the third iteration of National Plug In Day, scheduled for September 28/29, 2013. We’re hoping to build on last year’s success to see 100 events that reach 100,000 people with test drives and information on how fun and easy it is to own and drive an electric car.

As the event and the market grow, we’ve been mulling a potential name change for National Plug In Day because that name doesn’t necessarily emphasize the fun of driving. We buy the cars to drive them, so why not call the event National Drive Electric Day?

Given that so many people have worked so long and hard on building and promoting National Plug In Day, we thought that we’d ask our supporters to help us decide. We got an avalanche of input from across the entire market. We were surprised to see opinions pretty divided – people representing drivers, our long-standing supporters, car companies, charging manufacturers, utilities, environmental groups, and public officials came out in favor of each formulation.
The feedback provides an interesting snapshot on the state of the industry.

Here are some quotes that we particularly liked:

From a leading market participant: Clearly National Plug-in Day. The fact that it’s not blatantly obvious will play very well year after year. It is timeless as it slowly builds momentum. National Driving Electric Day sounds like some narrow special event. It may help idiot proof short-term, but in time, every day will be national driving electric day and it will lose it’s meaning. There should always be a National Plug-in Day. We get the chance to steal, then transform, those plugging in all things while getting the nation focused on EVs. So EV coins a broad expression for selfish use. It’s perfect! You got it right from the beginning! Any change is a hint of desperation and lost momentum, and lost continuity. Patience… We’re in the top of the 2nd inning

From a long-standing Plug In America’supporter (and driver) – National Drive Electric Day! It is so clear what it means. A day of driving electric makes so much more sense than a day of plugging in. We are asking everyone to take action by driving Electric. Plugging-in is what we do when we sleep.

From a leading manufacture – keep National Plug In Day. The name has brand equity and gets more directly to the point…From a leading utility – I’d recommend incorporating electric vehicles into the name, as National Driving Electric Day does. To our customers Plug-in Day could mean plugging anything in and has no reference to electric vehicles and therefore I think is a missed marketing opportunity. National Plug-in Day is for the public and we should be marketing exactly what people will see when they attend through the name. My vote is for National Driving Electric Day.

From a supportive national environmental organization – National Plug In Day. The other may be better for the reasons to which you alluded, but less words is better when it comes to things like this.

From a large rental car provider – National Drive Electric Day I think would represent the benefits of driving electric to market newcomers.

From a leading market participant – Personally, I like “National Plug In Day”. Not sure, but it might be my bias the “Driving” part is just a necessary evil required to run the batteries down so you get a chance to plug in again.

From a leading market participant – The latter is better. Many, many people will only hear about it and not know exactly what it is. At least if they hear National Drive Electric Day it is self explanatory. The former could mean anything. Also, the cause/movement is about driving electric cars. Plugging in is incidental to that cause. So better to stick to the idea of having the idea of driving electric in the name.

From a leading market participant – I don’t have a strong opinion. I have a slight preference for keeping National Plug-In Day as I think it already has some momentum. I also think Plug-In has a nice bit of double entendre. I’m a little tired of “Electric”.

We could provide many more quotes, too.

Given the divided opinion we’ll stick with National Plug In Day as the name for the event – why change if there isn’t overwhelming preference? – but we’ll also include a tag line that highlights driving electric. We’d invite your input on a tag line! Ideas under early consideration include:

National Plug In Day – We Drive Electric, You Can Too!

National Plug In Day Drive – Electric – it’s fun, fast, and less expensive

National Plug In Day – Experience the Fun and Freedom of Driving Electric

Let us know if you like these or other ideas – and thank you for the great thoughts!

1 comment on “What’s In A Name?”
  1. Sherry Boschert says:

    I vote for the first tagline. It conveys so much of what the day is about. The “We” personalizes it. And it tells people that they’ll be able to meet with real-world drivers, not just salespeople. And it encourages them to think that they might want to get in on this: “You Can Too!” Plus, it’s shorter and punchier than the other taglines, which is always a good thing.

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