Customer Outreach: You Reap What You Sow

AdminCustomer, Customers, Utility Communications, Utility Customer Satisfaction, Utility StakeholdersLeave a Comment

Ever wonder why some companies emerge from crises faster, with more of their reputation intact, while others die a death of a thousand cuts? The answer can be found in the adage, “As you sow, so shall you reap.” You can find all kinds of validation of that simple premise. Recently, I was reminded of it while writing an article … Read More

Communicating on ESG: An Emerging Need for Utilities

AdminCommunities, Customers, Efficiency & Conservation, Employees, Utility Community Relations, Utility Marketing, Utility StakeholdersLeave a Comment

Many utility communicators and marketers have Earth Day (April 22) circled on their calendar. This year’s Earth Day, if history is any guide, promises to be busy. Employees will volunteer to pick up trash from streams, rivers and parks, plant trees and lead community workshops. Utilities will announce the closure of coal-fired power plants and the construction of renewable energy … Read More

Getting Outside Yourself: Customer Communications

AdminBlog, Customer, Customers, Utility Communications, Utility Customer Satisfaction, Utility StakeholdersLeave a Comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Well Were You Prepared for Promised Land?

Egan EnergyBlog, Communities, Crisis, Customers, Effective, Messaging, Safety, Utility Advertising, Utility Communications, Utility Media Relations, Utility StakeholdersLeave a Comment

Dodged a bullet. Whistled past the graveyard. Rolled the dice. Whatever metaphor you prefer, it looks like utility communicators will not get “fracked” by the fast-disappearing Matt Damon film, Promised Land. And that’s good, because it doesn’t appear that utility communicators invested a lot of time or effort preparing for the potential negative PR impact of that movie. Promised Land … Read More

Utility Communications: An Ounce of Prevention, or a Pound of Cure?

Egan EnergyBlog, Communities, Crisis, Customers, Effective, Employee, Utility Communications, Utility Leadership, Utility Media Relations, Utility Stakeholders, Value1 Comment

I hung up the phone, happy for my friend but sad about his company. It was not the first time I had this conversation, nor would it be the last. And they didn’t all go the same way. Sometimes I hung up the phone sad for my friend as well as his or her company. My friend is a communicator … Read More