Battling for Employees’ Hearts and Minds? Don’t Lead with “Reliable, Affordable and Safe”

Egan EnergyEmployee, Employee Communications, EmployeesLeave a Comment

Those words might have worked as a rallying cry 75 or 100 years ago, when the U.S. was electrifying (right). Back then, working in the electricity business was a leading-edge, change-the-world endeavor, like working in the space program was in the 1960s or the perennial search for a cure for cancer. But today, many utility employees need a more current, … Read More

Employee Communications: Showing Your True Colors on Day 1

Egan EnergyEmployee, Employee Communications, EmployeesLeave a Comment

Sometimes Saturdays come on Thursdays. When you own your own small business, you have to flex around client needs/crises, deadlines, business development, client management and lots of other to-dos. Going hard for three or four days in a row sometimes means your brain needs a day off. There are times my brain can’t wait until Saturday for a day off. … Read More

Utilities, Do More Face-to-Face Public Engagement!

Egan EnergyCommunities, Customer, Effective, Face-to-Face, Utility Communications, Utility Community Relations, Utility StakeholdersLeave a Comment

I’m not much for poetry — I know, my loss — but one poem that did make a lasting impression on me was Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” which I learned in Mr. Gagliardi’s 7th grade English class at St. Theresa’s School in Briarcliff Manor, New York. The poem ended this way: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and … Read More

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

At the Movies: How KUA Connects with Customers

Egan EnergyCommunities, Face-to-Face, Uncategorized, Utility Community RelationsLeave a Comment

Utility marketers and communicators I speak with remain intrigued by the idea of direct interaction with their clients, contacts not mediated by email, social media, the news media or the contact center’s voice-response unit (VRU). They understand the power of personally connecting with customers. But these utility representatives I speak with seem fixated on the logistical challenges of direct outreach: … 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

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

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

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