Forging Powerful and Sustainable Relationships Between Clean Water Agencies and the Community

KKS Advisors & The Water Research Foundation / January 2019
Sakis Kotsantonis, Alejandro Pinedo, Sophie Lawrence and Bronagh Ward

Public education, engagement, and outreach with the community are vital practices for water utilities to generate public trust, gain support for their work, encourage water stewardship, and increase customer advocacy. As water sustainability challenges continue to grow, there is now a greater need than ever for the industry to build strong customer relationships, built on a shared understanding of the importance of water to people’s lives. How then can water utilities foster strong relationships? They must proactively build relationships and strive to connect with people on a deeper level. To do so requires knowledge not just of the science of water, but also of the emotions that drive people’s behavior and decision-making.

Based on multidisciplinary research, interviews with leading utilities and senior marketing executives, and the survey responses of over one thousand utility customers, this research shows that an emotional connection matters. This project offers a practical guide and tools for the industry to take action.