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

Egan EnergyCommunities, Customer, Effective, Face-to-Face, Utility Communications, Utility Community Relations, Utility Stakeholders1 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 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’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?