A community relations project undertaken by Due North for Far North power company and lines network operator Top Energy was judged the best corporate PR programme at this year’s Annual PRINZ (Public Relations Institute of New Zealand) Awards.
The project, called ‘Good Guys or the Grinch?’, revolved around communicating a change to the way Top Energy paid its annual lines charge discount, and avoiding confusion and accusations that customers were being disadvantaged.
A secondary element involved ensuring that the community knew the payments were coming from Top Energy and not from the electricity retailers on whose bills the payments would appear.
Results were clear. Through its various channels of communication with the public over a period of three months, Top Energy received just 360 contacts from customers. This compared favourably with over 1,600 in each previous year where major changes had been made to the annual dividend payment system.
Of the 360 contacts, only 10 percent were to complain or voice disagreement about the change. The rest were to query some aspect or even to congratulate Top Energy.
“Effective communication not only minimised the potential for consumer backlash but also helped Top Energy maintain momentum in its drive to build confidence and trust among residents of the Far North,” said Peter Heath, Due North managing director.
Chief judge Anna Radford said this year’s awards attracted a record 60 entries from the corporate, not-for-profit and government sectors.
“The awards are designed to recognise excellence and celebrate success in New Zealand’s PR and communication industry, and we were delighted to see this aim reflected in the number, range and calibre of entries,” she said.
“Judges were impressed with the winning entries’ well-expressed strategies, creative implementation, effective messaging, excellent use of timing and – most importantly – great results and excellent value for the clients’ money.”
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About Due North:
Staffed and managed by communication professionals with many years’ experience in large public relations consultancies and leading media outlets, Due North is a full-service public relations consultancy offering a comprehensive range of support, from internal communication to issues management and crisis communication.
For more information visit https://www.duenorthpr.co.nz