About 49 million people in 49 states and five territories across the U.S. are public power customers. However, our research has shown that the majority of those 49 million people don’t even realize their utility is community-owned. We need to make them aware of this fact and explain why this matters. And we can do this more effectively if we speak with one voice. At our members’ request, the American Public Power Association developed a national campaign to raise awareness of public power.
The campaign is built on the theme “Community Powered” and is designed for Association members (public power utilities, joint action agencies, and state associations) to implement in your communities.
We hope you will participate in the campaign and engage your communities. Let’s tell the public power story together.
Goal and Audiences
“Community Powered” is an awareness campaign. It was conceived to let people to know they have an ownership stake in their local electric utility and encourage them to connect with the utility. The campaign is intended to build customer loyalty and broad appreciation and support of the public power business model.
We designed this campaign to let you reach multiple audiences — your business and residential customers, your governing body members and local policymakers, and other key influencers in your community.
Messages and Approach
The key message is that the community owns the utility and that the public power utility is accountable only to the community. The messaging indicates that you are strong economic engines, keeping your community vibrant and thriving, and that you care about and give back to your community.
This campaign leverages the power of your relationships and connections in your community. It is designed for implementation primarily through social media and local community events and outreach. While you can use other channels that work best for you, social media will help us speak with one voice, amplify the campaign messages, and engage stakeholders.
We’ve built a campaign website, WeAreCommunityPowered.com, for your use. This site presents key facts and stats about public power and is not branded to any specific organization. You can drive your audiences to this site to learn about the benefits of public power.
The site has a Find Your Utility section with a map that lists all public power utilities by state/territory and links back to your website.
The campaign site also has a Utility Resources section with materials for you to download and use (NO special login or password is required). We will refresh these resources frequently to support your campaign activities.
A critical element of the campaign is the hashtag. Use #CommunityPowered in all your campaign communications and in every social media post — and encourage your stakeholders to do the same when they share on social media. This helps us bring together the campaign voices and activity across the country.
How to Implement
Want to roll out the Community Powered awareness campaign in your community, but not sure where to start? Here are seven easy options — consider using one or all, depending on your capacity.
Share on social media; Post on your utility or city Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts about how your utility serves the community. Remember to use #CommunityPowered in all posts. Some sample posts and graphics on specific themes are available on the Utility Resources section of the campaign website. You can also create your own content for social media and share it, using #CommunityPowered. Your social media posts can link back to WeAreCommunityPowered.com as well as to your own website.
Ask your customers to share: Ask your customers to share what “Community Powered” means to them. You can encourage your residential and business customers to post on their own social media channels about what it means to live in a public power community, using #CommunityPowered.
Message on all your channels: Share what it means to be #CommunityPowered on your website, newsletters, bill stuffers, and other regular marketing and communication channels. Consider including messages from your utility leaders on how they serve the community. If you plan to do newspaper ads, radio announcements, TV spots, or other forms of public outreach and want some materials to use, email us to find out how we can help.
Involve your utility and community leaders: Ask your mayor and your city council or board members as well as other community leaders (from the chamber of commerce, schools, law enforcement, and other community institutions) and key influencers to post on their social media channels why they are proud to live and serve in a public power community. Remind them to use #CommunityPowered.
Reach out to local media: Connect with your local papers, TV and radio stations to tell them about the campaign and your utility’s role in the community.
Plan a community outreach event: Consider community outreach through an open house, volunteering, or holiday event. Or you can also support events that are already happening in your community such as a holiday parade or ball game. Use the opportunity to talk to your customers and hand out information about Community Powered and the unique benefits your utility offers to the community.
Get and distribute materials: If you want to liven up your campaign outreach, you can order Community Powered t-shirts, capes, and stickers. Instructions and templates can be found on the Utility Resources section of the campaign website.