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What Can Utilities Learn from The Big Bang Theory and Game of Thrones?

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Two of the most popular shows in recent television history – The Big Bang Theory and Game of Thrones – aired their finales within 72 hours of each other a few days ago.

The final episodes garnered both significant viewership and plenty of water cooler talk and left their mark on popular culture.

But what does that have to do with utilities?

The two shows show the importance of building a brand, something any business, including a utility, should emulate. Make no mistake, those two programs had many other elements that contributed to their success, but first and foremost, the shows managed to grab a spot in the public mindset.

For Big Bang, a catchy theme song, the popularization of both science and nerd culture and a catchphrase — bazinga! — was enough to create a juggernaut that isn’t really ending given the success of spinoff Young Sheldon.

The reasons for the popularity of Game of Thrones seem a bit more complex, but heavy doses of violence and sex combined with complex storylines that kept fans on their toes helped make the show must-see TV.

And both shows were always able to stay on message.

That’s what you always need to be doing as a utility

Yes, there are some major differences – you aren’t trying to sell a product or build an audience – but if you ever get bored of promoting your utility, remember the value of repetition when it comes to a message. Although the message may remain the same, there’s no limit to the creative ways you can say it.

Image really is everything.

That’s why you have to hammer home your utility’s core messages — likely you’ll be talking about reliability and trustworthiness, as well as your role as a good corporate citizen.

One popular way to do that is by becoming a sponsor for beloved institutions or events in your service area, or the opposite of guilt by association. If everyone loves that Fourth of July celebration, a kid’s museum or a sporting team, tie yourself in. It worked for Chevrolet in 1974 (“baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet”) and can work for you, too.

Andy Gotlieb's picture

Thank Andy for the Post!

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Audra Drazga's picture
Audra Drazga on May 22, 2019

Great post Andy.  I would love to hear from Utilities what short of programs they are doing to promot and build their brand!  Share your creative ideas!  

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