Utility Communications: Don’t Play Word Games on Price Increases

Egan EnergyCreative, Customer, Customers, Messaging, Utility Communications, Utility StakeholdersLeave a Comment

“You say ‘po-TA-to,’ I say ‘po TAH-to.’ You say ‘to-MA-to,’ I say ‘to-MAH-to.’ ” That’s the kind of word game more and more utilities are playing these days. It’s a game I expect most will lose, mainly because utilities and their customers are not using a common vocabulary. Changes in prices — mainly increases but sometimes decreases — will be … 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

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

“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

“Medium Rare or Well Done?”

Egan EnergyBlog, Communities, Cost-Effective, Creative, Customer, Customers, Effective, Low-Cost, Utility Communications, Utility Community Relations, Utility StakeholdersLeave a Comment

Creativity Cuts Cost of Connecting with Utility Customers Utility communicators are under increased pressure to do more with less. That puts a premium on creativity. We’re all searching for the same Holy Grail: low-cost, high-impact ways to connect with customers. Two public-power utilities recently shared some very creative ideas to connect with customers. Perhaps their ideas can help you connect … Read More

Creating Customer-Friendly Utility Messages

Egan EnergyBlog, Communities, Creative, Customer, Customers, Effective, Messaging, Utility Advertising, Utility Communications, Utility Customer Satisfaction, Utility Marketing, Utility Stakeholders, ValueLeave a Comment

Here’s an example of clear, customer-friendly messaging: it costs you $1.36 per year to charge your iPad. Note the simplicity and the customer-centeredness of the message. It doesn’t offer a range, and it doesn’t include a lot of qualifications about utility rates, iPad usage, or number of users in a household. It may—or may not—be accurate to the fourth decimal … Read More

Making Utility Ads Fun and Memorable

Egan EnergyBlog, Creative, Effective, Safety, Utility Advertising, Utility Communications, Utility Marketing3 Comments

You may not recognize the name of Professor Nathaniel Burke. But I’m pretty sure you’ve seen him and know who he is. And that tells us a lot about the future of utility advertising. Prof. Burke is not a utility mascot. He doesn’t teach at an Ivy League university. And I’m pretty sure he knows no more about electricity or … Read More