Communicating with utility customers is becoming an increasingly important part of our job as power providers. The Customer Connections Conference in Jacksonville, Florida, Oct. 26-29, is an excellent opportunity to explore the challenges of engaging our consumers, and the strategies and tools that can help.
American Public Power Association sponsors this annual event for utility professionals who work in customer service, economic development, energy services, key accounts and public communications. Meet with colleagues from utilities across the country to network and find answers to questions communicators face every day.
Program looks at today, tomorrow
This year’s agenda offers 40 breakout sessions highlighting the latest trends in communication, including:
- DIY: Creating and Using Compelling Visual Communications
Learn how to connect with customers through low-cost, easy-to-produce yet high-impact photo and video.
- Five Ways to Measure What Matters
Discover the latest trends and tools to measure results for your media relations, website performance, social media and marketing efforts.
- Are We Communicating Effectively with ALL of Our Customers?
This session looks at the challenge of engaging different audiences and shares secrets that can help meet the challenge.
- Taking a Seat at the Strategic Planning Table
Explore the lifecycle of the strategic plan from creation with utility executives to execution, and communicating with internal and external stakeholders.
- Public Communication Roundtable
Join your public communications colleagues for two open discussions on key challenges and tactics for success in the communications field.
- Surviving the “Info Avalanche”
Learn tips and tricks to process all the news, articles, feeds, blogs, emails, reminders and tweets that inundate utilities daily. Be ready to share and gain support from fellow infoholics.
Early bird learns more
Those who can make it to Jacksonville early will be rewarded with an impressive menu of pre-conference sessions on Sunday, Oct. 26. These seminars offer a deep dive into hot topics, with smaller classes, longer class times and a more interactive format. Sessions include:
- Managing Change: Creating a Playbook for Utility Success
This course will cover how to prepare for some of the most important industry changes that are coming in the next few years (new technologies, environmental regulations, economic pressure, market dynamics, new customer expectations, etc.) and provide practical examples of and a comprehensive approach to developing effective change management and strategic planning skills.
- Customer Engagement for Advanced Grid Technologies
A new guidebook to be published by APPA in the summer of 2014 provides information and resources on how to better communicate with customers about new grid technologies and their advantages. The tools and resources in the guidebook will be previewed at this pre-conference seminar.
- Build Your Brand, Tell Your Story: Developing and Marketing Web & Social Media Content
Participants will learn how to build a strategic content development plan and use video and social media to broaden the utility’s reach. The instructors will use a public power case study to demonstrate how rich content and social media channels can be used to market stories to media and customers while engaging all audiences.
Both pre-conference seminars and main conference sessions may be eligible for Continuing Education Units, Continuing Professional Education Units or Professional Development Hours. APPA provides a recommended credit level for each session.
Meet, eat, recognize excellence
In addition to abundant education opportunities, you will hear from expert speakers, network with colleagues and honor creativity and ingenuity in communications.
The opening keynote speaker, Dr. Chris Kuehl of Armada Corporate Intelligence, will talk about the issues that will dominate the coming year, and how they will affect our communities. Consultant Dennis Snow, a former Disney executive, will wrap up the conference with a presentation on creating a service-driven culture.
Special events include networking receptions hosted by industry sponsors, meals with friends at local restaurants, and “The Year in Public Power Videos” reception. Attendees will view video submissions from other utilities and present their own at an informal reception. Viewers will then vote for their favorite video and the “Audience Choice Award” will be presented at the closing session on Wednesday. All spots must be received by Oct. 10, and a utility representative must be at the conference to present the entry.