“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 MarketingLeave a 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

Drowning in Facts? Try Managing Perceptions!

Egan EnergyCustomer, Customers, Energy News, Messaging, Non-Verbal, Utility Communications, Utility Customer Satisfaction, Utility Marketing, Utility Media Relations, Utility StakeholdersLeave a Comment

“Facts are simple and facts are straight,” the Talking Heads once sang. For those reasons, facts are often a utility communicator’s best friend. Inside a utility, facts are never in short supply, and communicators often face the challenge of getting factual or going home. But that same fact-based approach can fall flat when communicating with customers and other external stakeholders. … Read More

Creating Customer-Friendly Utility Messages

Egan EnergyBlog, Communities, Creative, Customer, Customers, Effective, Messaging, Utility Advertising, Utility Communications, Utility Customer Satisfaction, Utility Marketing, Utility Stakeholders, ValueLeave a Comment

Here’s an example of clear, customer-friendly messaging: it costs you $1.36 per year to charge your iPad. Note the simplicity and the customer-centeredness of the message. It doesn’t offer a range, and it doesn’t include a lot of qualifications about utility rates, iPad usage, or number of users in a household. It may—or may not—be accurate to the fourth decimal … Read More

Making Utility Ads Fun and Memorable

Egan EnergyBlog, Creative, Effective, Safety, Utility Advertising, Utility Communications, Utility Marketing1 Comment

You may not recognize the name of Professor Nathaniel Burke. But I’m pretty sure you’ve seen him and know who he is. And that tells us a lot about the future of utility advertising. Prof. Burke is not a utility mascot. He doesn’t teach at an Ivy League university. And I’m pretty sure he knows no more about electricity or … Read More

Talking About Energy (but Not About Prices)

Egan EnergyCustomer, Customers, Efficiency & Conservation, Energy News, Messaging, Non-Verbal, Programs & Services, Utility Advertising, Utility Communications, Utility Community Relations, Utility Customer Satisfaction, Utility Marketing, Utility Stakeholders, ValueLeave a Comment

It’s not easy to talk about electric or gas service. Unlike consumer goods such as cars, homes or food, consumers can’t interact directly with electric or gas service: They can’t store it, they can’t give some of it to their friends, and it doesn’t really come in different colors. That’s why many utilities end up discussing their service in terms … Read More

Energy PR — Forget Facts, Show Value!

Egan EnergyBlog, Creative, Customer, Customers, Effective, Efficiency & Conservation, Messaging, Programs & Services, Utility Communications, Utility Customer Satisfaction, Utility Marketing, Utility Media Relations, Utility StakeholdersLeave a Comment

Whatever utility communicators are selling these days, it doesn’t look like customers are buying. And we expect the problem will get worse before it gets better. A lot of utility communication plans are tied to rate cases, and utilities are filing a lot of rate cases these days. It looks like 100 or more rate cases will be filed across … Read More

Communications Breakdown: Xcel Energy’s Smart Grid Program

Egan EnergyBlog, Communities, Customer, Customers, Messaging, Utility Communications, Utility Community Relations, Utility Customer Satisfaction, Utility Leadership, Utility Marketing, Utility Media Relations, Utility StakeholdersLeave a Comment

Will Poor Communications Destroy Xcel Energy’s Smart Grid Program? Some utilities are having trouble implementing Smart Grid or Smart Meter projects that rely on customers changing the way they use energy. Reaching customers and getting them to consider changing their behavior requires a long-term, integrated, campaign that includes customer communications, media relations, and public relations, among other tools. There are … Read More