Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2015 - (Page 11)

FrOM tHe PreSIDeNt a By Charles Hilton, Nrwa President Promoting Our Good work As I write this, '' '' the conference is still about 30 days away. I am looking forward to seeing many of you in Oklahoma City and I know we will have had a great conference just from the tremendous amount of work the NRWA staff is doing as I write this to put the conference together. Thank you, NRWA staff! When I learned the theme of this issue was "public relations," I simply scratched my head and said, "What can I say about a subject I know so little about?" And yet just recently, I made the comment at a state conference that sometimes I believe we need to get rid of general managers and CEOs who are engineers and scientists and hire public relation experts as their leaders! When I look at bottled water and water dispenser sales soaring and being touted as a safer and better product than tap water, I can only ask why we have buried our head in the sand for so long. I recently read an article that said, "...government and industry estimates about one-fourth of bottled water is bottled tap water (and by some estimates, as much as 40 percent comes from tap water) - sometimes with additional treatment, sometimes not." Why has this occurred? It is because we have done such a poor job in our own industry in promoting the safety of the product we produce. Now I realize that most of us as GMs or CEOs probably do not have the best marketing/PR skills as most of us are trained in technical skills. If I remember from Biology 101, I would be considered "left brained - analytical and logical" versus those who are "right brained - creative and imaginative." However, does that excuse us from helping the public understand the safety and value of public water delivered at the tap? I recently saw bottled water being sold for $0.39 a gallon in a large chain store if you brought your container. That equates to $390 per thousand gallons, a rate that I don't believe any of us charge. Or even better, $0.69 for 500 ml of bottled water equating to $5,220 per thousand gallons. Yet my rate of $2.25 per thousand gallons (or 4.17 tons of water) delivered to your kitchen faucet is considered by some to be outrageous. Why is that? I would propose the answer to that question is that although we know we are doing a great job, we do nothing to promote our utilities' good work that is done 24/7, 365 days a year. Do your utility workers' uniforms promote Quality on Tap - Our Profession - Our Commitment? Is that same logo on your water tanks and vehicles? Why not? Is it because you - like me - are left brained? I challenge each of us to do a better job of "telling our story" in a meaningful way. When do I talk to the press? Unfortunately, many times only when I have to. Why not tell the good work that we do every day instead of the problems that are experienced occasionally? This issue will help us left brained people understand the role of public relations and marketing. I look forward to reading the articles as I know I need help in this area. I think we can all do a better job. ● I CHalleNGe eaCH OF uS tO DO a Better jOB OF "tellING Our StOrY" IN a MeaNINGFul waY. rural water 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2015

From the President
Who’s Telling Your Story?
Communications 101
Quality on Tap!
New Affinity Partner Takes the Pain Out of Having a Website for your Town or Water System
You Own Your Dreams
Another Successful WaterPro Conference
Regulatory Update
Throwing My Loop
Index to Advertisers/
From the CEO

Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2015