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How Do 2021 Trends Impact Your Utility?

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Andy Gotlieb's picture
Editor of a specialty publication, former public relations practitioner Freelancer

I hold 34 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too.  The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various...

  • Member since 2016
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  • Nov 9, 2020
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As 2020 begins winding to a close, now’s the time the media will begin to focus on the year ahead, particularly in terms of trends we’re likely to see.

And when it comes to public relations, there certainly are some consumer behavior trends that might impact your utility.

As you might expect, health and safety will continue to be watchwords as the pandemic shows no signs of abating.

For your utility, that means prioritizing the safety and health of customers and staff alike. Demonstrate how your crews in the field are taking precautions to protect themselves as well as customers. With your crews, that means both COVID protection and general safety precautions.

It also means putting our evergreen press releases cautioning people from trimming vegetation even remotely close to your equipment and to check before digging.

In addition, given the high levels of pandemic-created unemployment, many people are on tight budgets and are looking for value.

Be sure to promote any energy-saving programs or services you offer – such as rebates on new appliances or home energy audits. That includes any bill payment deferral programs or cold weather shutoff prevention programs. And remind your customers that a few strings of holiday lights won’t cause their bills to soar.

Meantime, given the isolation many people are experiencing because of social distancing and quarantining, remember that a human touch is especially important these days. While that may be hard to accomplish, consider ramping up your social media efforts to try to connect with as many customers as possible with empathy. Virtual events are a possibility, too.

To accomplish making those connections, take advantage of new technology, which remains a trend in consumer behavior. Any form of tech that helps you connect can be worthwhile.

Finally, customers apparently are more willing to share their data – assuming they trust you. A recent Ernst & Young survey found that 53% of consumers will make their data available to help track and monitor coronavirus infection clusters. That per se doesn’t mean anything to your utility, but the overriding conclusion does: That trend will allow you to better know your customers, which is always helpful.

Andy Gotlieb's picture
Thank Andy for the Post!
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