Telling Your Story: Smart Grid Communications

AdminBlog, Customer, Effective, Messaging, Programs & Services, Utility Communications, Utility MarketingLeave a Comment

Every now and then I get a call from a client, a colleague or a prospective client about how to effectively communicate with the general public about a highly technical topic — nuclear power, price increases, advanced digital meters, strengthening the grid, and so on. Think About Your Audience Regardless of the specific topic, my recommendation is generally the same. … Read More

Speak Up! What Do You Stand For?

AdminBlog, Utility MarketingLeave a Comment

Two sayings — “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” and “an educated consumer is our best customer” — ran through my mind recently as I listened to a panel discussion at a conference organized by the American Public Power Association (APPA), of which I am an associate member. The panel focused on the need for publicly … Read More

Utility Marketing: Cash on the Barrel or Cash Down the Drain?

Egan EnergyBlog, Efficiency & Conservation, Programs & Services, Utility MarketingLeave a Comment

Raise your hand if you think your utility marketing efforts are misguided. Yeah, that’s what I thought. But rather than call out your utility’s marketing team, a less-confrontational approach might be to consider third-party research. That’s what today’s post is all about. You’re not saying it, I am. For years and years, corporate checkbooks have played an outsized role in … 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 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

“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

“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

Flavor of the Decade: What Energy Utilities Can Learn From Verizon

Egan EnergyBlog, Customer, Effective, Messaging, Utility Advertising, Utility Customer Satisfaction, Utility Marketing1 Comment

Do you remember this guy? Sure you do. For nine years starting in 2001, Paul Marcarelli was the face and the voice Verizon used to break through a crowded telecommunications market and build its brand. Verizon built its brand around a model dressed as a slightly nerdy technician who always asked, “Can you hear me now?” In other words, Verizon … Read More