Situation: For their customers and for New Mexico, PNM, the state’s major electric utility company, keeps the lights on and is a core contributor to economic growth. However, in our ever-changing energy environment, there are increasing demands for utilities to heavily invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Yet requests for rate increases to pay for these large capital investments have created a polarized energy landscape between various civic and environmental groups, which have often harmed PNM’s public image. To make matters more difficult, PNM is the sole provider in a regulated market. The company must delicately balance reliability, affordability and the environment while managing a regulatory board and keeping shareholders happy.
One of the most interesting facts that has come out of recent research is that engaging consumers in environmental stewardship and energy efficiency drastically increases customer satisfaction and give customers an opportunity for a significant positive interaction with their utility company—a win-win situation for PNM.
Approach: In today’s economic environment, transparency is everything. It’s going beyond what you want your customers to see, to being fully open about what you actually do. Green has to mean something more than pretty little pictures of sunsets and solar panels. In the Santa Fe marketplace in particular, we knew PNM customers were “thinking consumers” who were well educated in renewable energy.
PNM needed to make their messages educational, informative and entertaining—while being truthful about how green they really were. With a campaign entitled, “Talk to Us”, PNM opened the lines for real effective communication and dialogue. No greenwashing here. Just an open, honest, and disarming message: We are here to listen. Tell us what you think. Ask us what you want to know. Talk to us. This kind of messaging builds trust and faith.When it comes to a green message, you don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be willing to explain where you need improvement and what you’re going to do about it.
By opening up lines of communication on a local level through events, sponsorships and a multitude of one-on-one conversations, PNM tirelessly works to position itself as a reliable and committed “neighbor” who is here to serve its customers with value, trust, and confidence.