October 13, 2015
The General Manager's Report
In the previous Branding Update we discussed the importance of creating marquee content that can be used to help community leaders keep their “finger on the pulse” of the utility. In order to provide a consistent flow of information, it is important for the utility to have a systematic way of generating this content. It turns out that many utility general managers provide a monthly status report to their boards of directors or policy makers. Arguably, this is one of most important communication pieces that the utility produces. This is because it should communicate only the most relevant information, in other words what policy makers and community leaders need to know about the utility. And what do they need to know? Certainly not technical or logistical information that is difficult to read and understand. However, they do need to be aware of the actions that demonstrate the utility’s core competencies, for example making investments that yield compelling benefits, being efficient, and making sound financial decisions.
Standards for Marquee Content – Each information item provided in the General Manager’s Report needs to be very high quality and meet specific standards, including the following:
- Is brief, requiring less than 30 seconds to read
- Is presented within the context of the applicable business value of the utility, for example providing reliable water service or protecting the environment
- Employs a headline that connects an activity or investment with a beneficial result
- Uses simple language that focuses on enhancing service, reducing risks, or saving money
These brief and meaningful items can then be used to consistently reach out to community leaders. It changes the game when policy makers know that influential people are receiving and reading this “marquee” content.