Utility uses video to reach the public, employees, press

New York’s Con Edison includes videos featuring employees in its press releases, customer emails and employee communications. The power of the medium is immediate.

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Over the past few years, the company has discovered that video makes saying those things a lot easier.

“We’ve really embraced video in our communications,” Ann Cameron, director of creative services for Con Edison, told an audience at Ragan Communications’ PR and Media Relations Best Practices Summit at her company’s headquarters. “We use video to have conversations with our customers, we use video as a PR tool for our media relations work, and we use video to tell our corporate story.”

Instead of messages coming from a faceless company’s press release, they now come from personable, friendly Con Ed employees speaking directly to the viewer. The public, its own employees, and the media have all taken notice.

The right messenger

“Con Edison’s brand is its people,” Cameron said. “It’s not about the pipes and wires; it’s about people.”

In 1999, Con Ed started showcasing its employees through its “On It” advertising campaign, in which black-and-white photos of employees’ faces went up in the New York subway and in other spots around the city. That program evolved into one where the utility put employees’ photos on the sides of trucks, where they offered up energy-saving tips via word balloons.

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