By Ken Colombini, Communications Director
Those attending the National Ethanol Conference in 2019 and 2021 were able to learn the results of focus groups held by the Renewable Fuels Association to gather feedback on how consumers feel about ethanol and related topics. These biannual focus group sessions complement nationwide polling RFA undertakes each quarter, for a complete qualitative and quantitative approach to developing successful ethanol policy and communications.
In 2019, for example, we learned that it was helpful to talk about ethanol’s track record, rather than about future benefits, and that consumers are more concerned about overall fuel “quality” than about higher “performance.” This round of focus groups included registered voters and fuel consumers in St. Louis and Alexandria, Virginia.
For 2021, RFA held four sessions, with participants in Atlanta, San Diego, and Minnesota’s twin cities, as well as a group representing rural and suburban Minnesotans. We learned then that—while awareness and understanding of ethanol may be limited—fuel consumers remain persuadable on the benefits of ethanol.
This popular session is returning for the 2023 NEC in Orlando and will be led once again by Phillip Morris of the Locust Street Group. It will provide results from focus groups now being scheduled for January in Ohio, California and Florida. With the COVID pandemic, a lot of this work has become virtual, a change that is more convenient for the participants and that allows us to more easily organize statewide focus groups like the three we are planning. As before, we expect it to provide smart insight into perspectives that may have evolved, and the best language that helps us persuade others about ethanol’s many benefits.
The focus group presentation kicks off the last day of the conference, which takes place February 28 to March 2. For more information and to register, click here. Advance registration saves participants $100 and ends on January 28. I hope to see you all there!