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What’s the Line in Promoting Your Utility?

image credit: ID 111097502 © Spyros Arsenis |
Andy Gotlieb's picture
Editor of a specialty publication, former public relations practitioner, Freelancer

I hold 35 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
  • 1,078 items added with 580,051 views
  • Sep 29, 2021

It seems as if the corporate world has decided that more is always better when it comes to communications.

I’m here to tell you that the corporate world is wrong – and that might also apply to your utility.

The public is subjected to a deluge of information via social media and email, as well as older forms of communications, such as print, radio and television media and even things such as bill inserts.

Who among us hasn’t bought something online, then faced a barrage of emails from the company afterward trying to get you to buy something else? Often, the emails arrive on daily basis or even more than once a day. When that happens, I hit the “unsubscribe” button quickly and hope that it actually works.

This begs the question: How does this impact a utility, which isn’t selling a product in the same way?

There’s a lesson to be heeded, and that’s to keep your communications in check.

Yes, that’s a bit of a fluid situation because there are times — such as pre-, during and post-weather events — that you’ll need to be in touch more. The risk, however, is being the company that “cried wolf” and having important information overlooked because tuned-out customers were previously barraged with excessive communications.

Yes, utilities are different than retail businesses because you won’t be selling shirts or having a 25% off sale on power, but you still need to be judicious about presenting information — whether it’s through email, social media, bill inserts or any other way you communicate.

There is one exception: your utility’s website. It’s your space, so feel free to post whatever information you’d like there. Since customers visiting your website are doing so through their own free will, it’s fine to impart whatever messages you want to convey.

Otherwise, keep your customer contact in check. Don’t beat customers over the head with reams of information.

When possible, spread out your information.

A bill insert or two each month is fine, as are emails, if that’s a form of communications you use. It’s fine to have active social media accounts as long as you address different things.

When you do communicate, consider the community aspect. Your relationship with customers is sort of similar to a quasi-governmental arrangement – with less of the red tape and inefficiencies that are the bane of all governments. That gives you an added level of trust.

Don’t lose that trust!


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Andy Gotlieb's picture
Thank Andy for the Post!
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