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Repetition Important to Your Utility’s Messaging

Satirist H.L. Mencken is credited with the quote, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public,” but what does that have to do an electric utility?

Turns out a lot.

You may have noticed that some (maybe many) of your customers are, well, kind of dumb. That may sound harsh, but it’s the truth.

How many times have customers been unable to understand their bills? How often have they been unable to contact the correct person at your company? Can you count the number of times your utility has been confused with the water utility – or some company that isn’t even a utility?

I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

What can you do?

For some people, nothing. No matter how I compose my voicemail message telling my newspaper’s readers that they need to call a different number for subscription issues (a number provided in the message), I still get calls from people complaining that they didn’t get their paper.

For the rest, repetition is the key. Hit people over the head with whatever messages you are trying to impart.

On your website, have an information page with contacts, general information and an FAQ.  Make sure that at least the basic contact information is on every other page on your site.

When it comes to messaging -- let’s use conservation as an angle – devote pages to it on your website. Craft ad campaigns around it. Devote bill inserts to it (and don’t forget the envelope as a message site). Write press releases on the subject. Send your community outreach teams to schools to teach children about conservation. When you sponsor an event, make sure your booth/table/display features related materials.

Yes, repetition can become time-consuming and even dull, but be creative and remember that it works. Eventually, the message sinks in. And even when the message has sunken in, repeated reminders certainly can’t hurt and will raise the utility’s profile.

Consider why well-established brands like Coca-Cola continue to advertise. Everyone knows about Coke and its other products, but the advertisements keep the brand top of mind.

A utility is a lot different than a retail business, but you have a “brand,” too, whether you know it or not, so be sure to always promote it.

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