This special interest group is where customer care professionals share tactics on how utilities are improving interactions with their customers. 


Take Some Time to Accentuate Your Utility’s Lighter Side

image credit: ID 136435104 © Andrey Kozlov |
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
  • 1,003 items added with 507,011 views
  • Feb 2, 2021

Public relations efforts for businesses of all shapes and sizes tend to be somewhat serious campaigns.

It’s the nature of the beast – most things that non-retail companies announce aren’t all that exciting. That’s especially true for utilities, which offer a defined product/service and are built on earning and maintaining the trust of the public at large instead of being flashy.

Think about what utilities often talk about – rates, outage response, energy consumption, vegetation management, efficiency, safety and green topics, to name a few. Not exactly up there with what the Kardashians are doing, the chicken sandwich wars or the release date of the latest James Bond movie being pushed back again.

That’s why you sometimes have to humanize the utility and show a lighter side. While that kind of publicity won’t accomplish any overriding PR goals, it can help with your public image – which should be a focus anyway. Given the pandemic, political turmoil and so forth, everyone should lighten up a bit.

The recent snowstorms are a perfect way for you to humanize your utility via social media, which is an increasingly crucial part of your public relations. Do note that if the snow has caused widespread power outages, you certainly don’t want to take on a jovial tone while people are without power.

But otherwise, post plenty of “snow day” kind of pictures, particularly featuring crews that are out and about. If you have someone who takes pictures of snow-covered power lines and equipment, all the better. The photos don’t even have to be utility-related; a good photo of a family building a giant snowman or kids having a snowball fight works, too.

Encourage your customers to post their own snow-related photos. May as well make your social media a community “living room,” so to speak.

Snow days are just one example of using your social media to connect with your customers. In more normal times, there are plenty of community events and activities to promote.

Again, remember that you’re not really trying to accomplish anything other than engaging your customers. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

Andy Gotlieb's picture
Thank Andy for the Post!
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