Cost-efficient and effective communications tactics have never been more critical
August 07, 2008
As governor Schwarzenegger proclaims a statewide drought, educating ratepayers about conservation is more important than ever. But the era of belt-tightening that now permeates our economy simultaneously has many water districts reassessing their budgets. The good news is that there are ways smart districts can stretch their communications dollars to effectively educate the public and change customer behavior.
How can it be done? Below are a few quick thoughts on how to cost-effectively build trust with customers through effective communications.
1. Take Credit for Your Actions: Your district is probably already doing a host of great things, so make sure you’re getting the credit you deserve. Remember to take pictures and promote the laudable efforts of your district through outlets such as customer newsletters, the media and e-blasts.
2. Explore Communications Options: Organizations like the Water Education Foundation can provide semi-custom collateral pieces to help districts communicate the macro-level messages, like conservation. These pieces often cost just a few pennies a piece! (Watch for WaterWords, Laer Pearce & Associates’ new on-line store for semi-custom collateral pieces, which we’ll be launching soon!)
3. Re-Think The Fundamentals. Challenge every communications expense and tool. Is it the best use of funds? Is there a better way to do it? We recently found a way to cut mailing costs in half for one of our client’s mailings by simply re-sizing the piece.
4. Bolster E-Communications: We live in an increasingly electronic world, and printing and postage fees often can be up to 50 percent of a brochure or newsletter’s cost, so shifting towards e-communications can be a real cost-saver.
5. Utilize Outside Resources: Whatever the size of your communications staff, outside agencies can help boost your district communications output without a long-term financial commitment.
Whether utilized for one-off projects or as a member of your day-to-day team, consultants like Laer Pearce & Associates can optimize your budget.
There’s no one “silver bullet” solution, but these ideas may help you build trust during these critical times while conserving your communications dollars.
Laer Pearce & Associates
Laer Pearce is president of Laer Pearce & Associates, one of Southern California’s premier public affairs firms, specializing in regulatory issues and community outreach for the water and land development industries.
For more information, please visit http://www.laer.com/