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

The Danger of Detail – Use “Prices,” Not “Rates”

Egan EnergyBlog, Creative, Customers, Effective, Messaging, Utility Communications, Utility Media Relations, Utility Stakeholders2 Comments

Most energy utilities – electric, gas and combinations – are increasing the price of their service these days. OK, let’s stop there. Yes, I said, “price,” not “rates.” That’s a conscious word choice I recommend, because “price” is more customer-intuitive than “rates.” Don’t believe me? Take off your “utility communicator” hat, put on your “consumer” hat, and join me as … Read More

“Truthy” Thoughts on 10 Persuasive Words that Improve Our Copy

Egan EnergyBlog, Communities, Customers, Effective, Messaging, Utility Advertising, Utility Communications, Utility Marketing, Utility Media RelationsLeave a Comment

Stephen Colbert would call it “truthy”– something that comes from the gut, sounds true, feels right, may be accurate — but ultimately has no basis in fact. Colbert’s idea about “truthiness” came to mind recently when I found Internet references to a list of the most persuasive words in the English language. The product of market research by a prestigious … Read More

“SUCCESful” Utility Messaging

Egan EnergyBlog, Creative, Effective, Messaging, Utility Communications, Utility Marketing, Utility Media Relations1 Comment

How fast does your spam filter fill up? What about your personal message filter? We are absolutely overwhelmed with messaging. Digital ads pop up during Internet searches. Direct mail pieces fill our mailbox. Robo-calls interrupt our dinner. Traditional TV ads shout at us. Newspapers and magazines carry forgettable ads. While driving, we listen to CDs to avoid commercials. To continue … Read More

What are (Our) Words Worth?

Egan EnergyBlog, Creative, Effective, Messaging, Utility Communications, Utility Marketing, Utility Media RelationsLeave a Comment

“What are words worth?” Tom Tom Club asked in a catchy song from the 1980s. You probably danced to it in college. I know I did. But let’s not go there, because it was a very different time and place. Instead, today, as utility communicators, let’s ask ourselves, “What are our words worth?” We know a poorly chosen word or … Read More

How’s That Employee Engagement Project Working?

Egan EnergyBlog, Employee, Employees, Utility Communications, Utility Leadership, Utility Stakeholders

Employees are feeling beaten down. Can you blame them? Their commitment to their organizations is being sapped by frozen salaries, staff cuts, organizational inertia, endless reorganizations, and poor quality communications. High-skilled employees depart, opting to pursue more rewarding work elsewhere, leaving fewer people around to do the work. That’s not how you would characterize life at your utility, would you?