The Lede: Crafting a Compelling Start to Your Story

  “Hey Dad, don’t freak, but I just totaled my car.” — The first thing my son Jack said when he called to say he would be unable to visit us last year   “You walked into the party like you were walking on to a yacht. Your hat dipped strategically below one eye Your […]

Nonverbal Communications: Eyes and Arms are More Important than Words!

  I am job-coaching a talented young man who I will call Jim (not his real name and the image above is not him). Having gone through the preliminary stages of a job search, such as career exploration, resumes, and informational interviews, it was time to practice nonverbal communications. Like the fellow above, Jim did […]

Culture: Your Utility’s Secret Sauce as the Market Evolves

    Communicators tend to believe that effective communications can solve many, if not most, business challenges. Ineffective communications, on the other hand, are at the root of all sorts of business problems. Utility leaders can’t talk their way through the energy transition. They can’t convince customers that their power is on when they know […]

AMI: Be “Smart” About Advanced Meter Communications

I thought advanced, two-way, digital meters was a “been there, done that” thing for utilities until I caught up with a friend and colleague late last year at the annual Customer Connections Conference, sponsored by the American Public Power Association. Her utility was deploying smart meters for gas and electric service. Then I got home […]

Price Increases Call for a New Approach to Communications

There is a real crisis afoot in electricity prices: increases of 20% or more are being implemented by electricity companies across the country. This crisis offers utility marketers and communicators an opportunity to take a fresh look at the strategies and tactics they use to communicate price increases.  Price Increases in 2024: Out with the […]

Generative AI, Unsupervised Children, and Utility Communications

I was having lunch with a prospective client recently when one of the principals turned to me and said, “So, you’re a writer. Are you worried about ChatGPT?” My mind reeled. My thinking has changed at least once daily over the last year or so since ChatGPT entered the market. Competitive threat? Tech time-suck? Potential […]

Utility Crisis Communications: Q&A with an Expert | Part 2

If you missed Part 1 of our interview on utility crisis communications in last month’s blog, you will want to check it out here. This month, we are continuing our conversation with veteran crisis communicator Tom Fladung of Hennes Communications. From wildfires in Hawaii to hurricanes in Florida, and sweltering heat, ice storms, boil-water notices, […]

Utility Crisis Communications: Q&A with an Expert | Part 1

From wildfires in Hawaii to hurricanes in Florida, and sweltering heat, ice storms, boil-water notices, tornadoes, and extended service outages everywhere in between, 2023 has provided many crises (or near crises) on which utility communicators must communicate. That’s why we sat down with Thomas Fladung (below), managing partner at Hennes Communications, a crisis communications firm, […]

Podcasts: The Next Step in Utility DIY Content

We are living in (or perhaps through?) a golden age of “do it yourself” (DIY) digital content. There are innumerable TikTok and YouTube personalities opining on, filming, and doing just about anything imaginable…