Public Speaking: If You Must Use PowerPoint…

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“The trouble with PowerPoint is, usually there’s no power and no point.” I’m not sure who said it first – the advertising executive I heard it from said it came from Bill Gates, former CEO of Microsoft, who many blame for unleashing a powerful tool on unsuspecting speakers and audiences everywhere. We have all heard snide references to “PowerPoint Hell” … Read More

Overcoming Email Immunity with Face-to-Face Communications

Egan EnergyBlog, Communities, Customers, Employees, Face-to-Face, Low-Cost, Utility Communications, Utility Marketing, Utility Stakeholders2 Comments

Earlier this summer I was delighted to speak at CONNECT ’14, an absolutely terrific event for electric cooperative communicators and marketers sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). The heightened importance of direct, face-to-face interaction with members was one of the takeaways of CONNECT ’14, held in San Antonio. And while the specifics of marketing and communicating with … Read More

Making Peace with Stakeholders Who Are Mad as Hell

Egan EnergyBlog, Utility Communications, Utility Community Relations, Utility StakeholdersLeave a Comment

“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Forty years ago Peter Finch won an Academy Award for his haunting portrayal of television newscaster Howard Beale in the movie Network. Beale channels the rage of his age into a nightly newscast that predated reality TV by decades. The two-minute newsroom scene where Beale goes crackers … Read More

Speak Continually, Sometimes Use Words

Egan EnergyBlog, Creative, Non-Verbal, Utility Communications, Utility Media RelationsLeave a Comment

I love this photo. You don’t have to have be a student of Middle East politics (although I was) to decode its meaning. Clearly, some person in authority is concerned about a bomb. Even though the bomb graphic looks like it came from the “Rocky & Bullwinkle” TV show, you get the point. Speaking at the United Nations, Israeli Prime … Read More

How Utilities Earn the Benefit of the Doubt

Egan EnergyBlog, Utility Communications, Utility Community Relations, Utility Customer Satisfaction, Utility Leadership, Utility Media Relations1 Comment

The horn sounded and another terrific North Carolina-Duke basketball game was in the books. I’m a Tar Heel fan, so I was happy North Carolina won. The team’s margin of victory came from the free-throw line, where it had 20 more attempts than Duke. Carolina players spent so much time at the free-throw line you would think they called ahead … Read More

Getting Your Utility’s Culture Back on Track

Egan EnergyBlog, Employee, Non-Verbal, Utility Communications, Utility Leadership, Utility StakeholdersLeave a Comment

Last month’s blog post asked whether your utility could be headed for a culture-based disaster. To help you answer that question, we proposed a simple and easy, albeit qualitative, diagnostic tool: is there a gap between what your utility says about customers, and what it does? Most utilities “talk the talk” about customers, stakeholder engagement, transparency, the importance of communications, … Read More

Is Your Utility Headed for Trouble?

Egan EnergyBlog, Effective, Employee, Utility Communications3 Comments

I hung up the phone and thought, “Wow, that utility’s headed for trouble.” Then I turned on the TV and watched the Washington Redskins get mauled. Again. The sideline reporter kept talking about how cultural problems had turned an exciting playoff team into a cellar-dwelling disaster in one season. That’s why I’m glad I’m not affiliated with the Redskins either. … Read More

Creating an Eye-Catching, Customer-Friendly Utility Print Ad

Egan EnergyBlog, Communities, Creative, Customers, Effective, Messaging, Programs & Services, Utility Advertising, Utility Stakeholders1 Comment

Almost every utility has a good story to tell, but too few consistently tell it well. Good news, whether it’s about cleaning up the environment or improving the quality of life in a community, is typically smothered under industry jargon or a legalistic avalanche of words. But people are busy. Less is more. For utilities especially, brevity is Job 1. … Read More

Utility Messaging – How Much Energy Do You Waste?

Egan EnergyBlog, Cost-Effective, Creative, Messaging, Utility Advertising, Utility Marketing, Utility Media Relations2 Comments

Hmmm… that may feel like an awkward question. But Ashley, pictured in the ad here, knows exactly how much energy she used to waste — $275 worth. Let’s leave aside the dollar figure to focus on the messaging – waste. Despite our society’s consumption ethic, we also have a cultural aversion to “waste.” Think about rueful recollections of a youth … Read More