The Group has built a formidable reputation – positioned as a nation builder as it commenced the rural electrification programme 90 years ago to its leading role today as Ireland’s foremost energy company leading the transition to a low carbon future.
Drury was appointed by ESB in 2016 to work with the business on its corporate positioning, to protect and enhance the status of ESB and its key sub brands, Electric Ireland and ESB Networks, as one of Ireland’s most trusted corporate brands.
Approach and Execution:
Working with ESB across its corporate communications and public affairs, Drury developed a wide-ranging communications strategy across:
Core narrative: The development of high-level and supporting messages deployed across all corporate communications activity., to generate the required positioning of ESB as an innovative and collaborative company, a leading employer, and an energy provider with a modernising vision.
Corporate Profiling: A plan of engagement involving opinion editorials, thought leadership articles, speaking points for stakeholder events and employee profiling. Drury has provided media training to ESB employees at every level of the business.
Targeted Media Relations, Integrated Communications and Strategic Advice: Drury advises on campaigns to push out new messages, working with ESB to effectively sweat their communications assets and enliven their milestone calendar events, including HY & FY financial reporting, and announcements to reposition the organisation. These changes to the communications approach have benefited the organisation by enhancing its corporate reputation with the general public, business, Government and political and regulatory stakeholders.
Crisis Management: Drury provides high level strategic counsel for stand-alone issues providing ESB
management with advice on how to best manage media and stakeholder communications to minimise reputational damage on sensitive issues. This has included whistleblower allegations and protected disclosures.
Public Affairs: Drury provides public affairs counsel to ESB on: engagement with political stakeholders; political stakeholder mapping; policy briefings.
Sub brands - ESB Networks and Electric Ireland Communications Strategies: Drury has facilitated planning and development of a separate proactive approach for the innovation agenda for ESB Networks, and the B2B agenda of Electric Ireland. Key to this activity has been the positioning of the Group on pricing in what is a highly competitive market.
Working collaboratively with the ESB Group, Drury has developed and refined, a narrative and strategic positioning for ESB as the foremost energy company on the island. This positioning has been implemented in a phased way over the period of working with Drury, becoming central to ESB’s corporate communications activity. This approach has demanded:
- A leadership approach to communications – internally and externally – from the top down engendering a more proactive approach to the importance of communications.
- The adoption of a more proactive and assertive stance on energy issues as they impact on society and the economy, and be prepared to communicate more widely and frequently on same across a broader range of communications channels.
- Decisions that require policy change and not being afraid of commenting on same publicly.
- An acceptance that once ESB does become more active on taking a stance on energy issues, it potentially become a target for criticism
- Consistency in approach to frequency and content of communications with all stakeholders
- An approach to dealing with, informing and engaging with media in Ireland often apathetic to energy issues
- An approach to communications that both supports a core narrative and simplifies complex topics.