Governing managing editor Elizabeth Daigneau covers DC Water’s tap marketing efforts. In my view there are two important aspects to this article, maybe three. The first is the obvious – which is that utilities that produce drinking water as their product need to seek the support of their customers with the same vigor and effort that any consumer product company employs. We have allowed companies that sell bottled water to arrive in the market place and expand their share almost without comment or response. While I believe that bottled water has a place as one option for consumers, I also believe it is an option that is relied upon far more than it need be – at significant cost to the consumer, the environment, and to us as water purveyors. We deliver an excellent product that we need to present to our customers in fun and innovative ways – and always be thinking about new ways to respond to their needs. The TapIt campaign, which yields an easy way to refill reusable water bottles to solve the challenge of getting water on-the-go is a great example. The second issue is the powerful nature of hiring and enabling good employees to engage their passion. While I get credit in this article for much of DC Water’s focus on tap water, I know as any good CEO does, that most of this success is due the excellent people who are leading the charge. In my case, many people in our organization are focused on our drinking water campaign, lead frequently by Alan Heymann – the Director of our Office of External Affairs, and members of his team like Sarah Neiderer. Moreover, everyone on Team Blue (what we call our work force) who does the actual hard day-to-day work to keep the water system running smoothly and safely is part of delivering this product. That leads to the final point here – which is persuading our customers of the desirability of our product is connected directly to gaining the support of our customers as ratepayers. That is the lifeblood of our organization, and through us, the lifeblood of this city!
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