Celebrate Good Times … And Get Your Customers Involved With Your Story

June 8, 2017By Stephen V. Smith

The beginning of the year is a great time to flip through the calendar looking for reasons to celebrate. Once you identify a few opportunities, make plans to welcome your customers to the party.

There are many accomplishments you can highlight as part of your communications program. Perhaps you’ve reached a safety milestone or set a new reliability standard. Maybe you’re rolling out a new service, or deploying electric or telecommunications service to a new business or residential development.

Years of service is a particularly strong milestone to celebrate — especially if your utility has been serving your area for a round number of years, such as 65 or 70. You can build a multi-faceted communications program around this celebration.

Here are some some ideas on how you can succeed in focusing on special occasions:

  1. Tell your real story. Why are you celebrating? Longevity is not enough. Years of service is just a fact, a number, a statistic. When you tell the story about your milestone of service, talk about what you have accomplished during those years — how you’ve powered people’s lives, supported small businesses, recruited jobs, electrified classrooms, connected people with internet and phone, and been a vital part of helping the community thrive over the decades.
  2. Focus on your customers. You have built a reliable distribution system or telecommunications network. You’ve played a leading role in economic development. Maybe you’ve ventured into other services or partnerships. When you talk about these accomplishments in the context of “look what we’ve done,” the eyes of your audience glaze over quickly. Center your communications program around the impact these accomplishments have had on your customers, and readers will engage with your content.
  3. Have fun. Everyone is looking for a party, right? (I know, you have a few customers who wouldn’t be happy if you gave them free service for life — but aside from them, people generally enjoy having fun.) Look for ways to take your milestone celebration beyond the expected. Your customers are more likely to engage with your message if you have some fun with it.
  4. Go the distance. It’s easy to run a “celebrating 70 years” ad in the local newspaper, or place a message on the bottom of your bill. But with a little effort and planning, you can make the celebration last all year long. You don’t have to hold a major event every month to keep the momentum going. In fact, you can incorporate the celebration into activities that are already on your calendar, such as customer appreciation events, Earth Day activities and school demonstrations. Make sure all your advertising mentions the milestone. Ask the city to issue a proclamation. Hold contests through your bill and across your social media channels.

Get the most out of your celebration opportunities by applying these principles to your communications plan. Your customers will enjoy it, and the positive energy you’ll generate will be too valuable to measure. Now go plan your party!

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