With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company that provides safe, clean, and reliable water services to its customers each and every day. With a footprint spanning across the country, the corporate team was looking for ways to increase brand awareness, create relevancy with customers, and showcase their role in the communities they serve.
American Water was looking for a way to better engage with their customers while also providing helpful information to aid them in more optimal water use practices. With this in mind, American Water conducted a survey to understand what types of communication customers preferred. The results found that half of all customers were interested in tools to help them conserve water and save money, with 74% preferring email from their respective State subsidiary as a communications channel for educational materials. By launching a customer education email program, including scaling a toolkit of asset materials across the American Water footprint to utilize, they were able to share helpful information that would be useful in their daily lives to customers, helping them be more informed and more likely to recommend American Water. This, in turn, helped each of the American Water State subsidiaries track toward their NPS goals through by reinforcing key messaging that were important to the brand.
emails deployed with
46% open rate
organic social impressions with
nearly 7K organic social engagements
increase in overall customer education drivers
media placements secured
For more than 40 years, American Water and its members have celebrated Drinking Water Week –a unique opportunity for both water professionals and the communities they serve to recognize the essential role water plays in our daily lives. During the 2020 celebration, as water utility workers were essential employees amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no better way for utility leader American Water to celebrate than by raising a glass of water in recognition of all water utility employees who help keep life flowing through a dynamic compilation video and integrated social media campaign.
earned media placements secured
unique website blog views
American Water was seeking national reach, at-scale to better penetrate brand awareness and messaging to stakeholders. Our PR approach was to develop unique and impactful PESO campaigns to reach target audiences, incorporating engaging tactics across paid, earned, shared, and owned channels. To make American Water’s mission relevant to trends in the media, we launched original research campaigns to obtain unique consumer insights that support PESO campaigns. One example of this occurred in 2021, exploring people’s hand hygiene at the onset of the pandemic versus at the time the survey launched, about a year after the pandemic was declared a national emergency. By conducting and leveraging original research in an integrated communications campaign, we were able to reinforce American Water’s key messages around safety, quality, community and resiliency by highlighting some of the corporate and state-specific efforts that helped to keep people’s lives flowing over the course of the pandemic –and how those efforts continue through the health crisis. This campaign also resulted in an honorable mention in the Original Research category of Ragan’s PR Daily Award.
When American Water was gearing up for the grand opening of its corporate headquarters in Camden, New Jersey, the company knew it couldn’t just cut a ribbon in front of its shiny new building. While it looked forward to bringing its four South Jersey locations together under one roof to better serve customers, the nation’s largest publicly-traded water and wastewater utility knew there were hurdles it must overcome before being fully embraced by its new neighbors: AW was among a growing list of companies moving to Camden as part of the state’s tax incentive program – and faced increasing scrutiny because of it. The team developed and implemented a strategic communications plan that centered on media relations and third-party, community relations advocacy to bolster American Water’s impact in Camden so its move would be perceived as benefiting Camden and its residents. The results of the program helped the company move be perceived as a positive move forward for the City – in fact, in many cases, AW was called out as a company doing it right in Camden.
key message penetration
local, nonprofit partnerships solidified