Getting Outside Yourself: Customer Communications

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Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, “Get over yourself” sometime in your life. Today I’m going to adapt that and say, when writing for customers or other external stakeholders, “Get outside yourself.” Years ago, when I was a communicator at an electric company, a communications consultant would pop in now and then to help us sharpen our messaging. More than a … Read More

Stakeholder Engagement: Build Bridges Before You Hit Walls

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Stakeholder engagement is a mindset as well as a specific business practice. Energy companies are gradually accepting that their ability to conduct business requires the consent of critical constituencies, including customers, investors, employees, communities, regulators, strategic partners and others. The term “social license to operate” includes, but is not limited to, stakeholder engagement. Over the next decade, there are hundreds … Read More

Changing Your Organization’s Culture One Minute at a Time

AdminEffective, Employee, Employee Communications, Employees, Organizational Culture, Utility LeadershipLeave a Comment

In last month’s blog, I discussed the wide gap between words and deeds among Colorado energy companies on the issue of stakeholder engagement, and how that disparity finally caught up with them in last year’s election. Sooner or later, I believe that same tendency to favor talk over action will hit providers of electricity. I’m talking about the critical role … Read More

Earning, and Keeping, Your Company’s Social License to Operate

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April 16, 2019 was the day that social license to operate (SLTO) became real for Colorado’s energy companies. That’s the date that Colorado’s governor signed into law Senate Bill 181, which is transforming the business environment for Colorado oil & gas companies. If you wanted to quibble, you could say the date SLTO became real was November 8, 2018, when … Read More

Environmental Communications: When Green is the New Black

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In recent years, a growing number of electric utilities have added “sustainable” or “environmentally responsible” or “cleaner” to their longtime vision of providing electric service that is safe, affordable and reliable. That’s one part of their response to a shifting market. Even utilities operating in traditionally regulated monopoly markets, where there is no threat of losing customers to a competitor, … Read More

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

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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

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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!

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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