6 Top Trends and Topics that Jazzed New Orleans at AESP18

Posted by Ann Hoogenboom on March 2, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Whether you were with us in New Orleans or looking to catch the cliff notes, we have a recap of the best of the best from AESP. With Mardi Gras in the rearview mirror, AESP descended on a city that you’d think would be exhausted from the late nights and the rowdy celebrations – that was not the case – the streets looked alive and busy.


The conference opened on Tuesday with a wonderfully inspiring talk by change leadership speaker Dr. Janet Lapp. Janet talked about the power of making change in order to flourish. She encouraged the audience to discover opportunities, not just problems, and stressed that leaders in the energy sector are some of the most influential, powerful actors to bring about positive change.
I sat listening, looking around the room of over 800 people—the highest AESP attendance to date—and felt proud to be a part of an industry that is innovating, creating and solving big challenges we face in the country and, more broadly, the world.


Hot Topics
  • Be intentional, be fearless, make change happen. As an energy services professional, you have an incredible power to influence the way society moves into the future—act now.
  • Leverage social media as your test stage. Play with content and learn more about your customers by using social media—most importantly, don’t get left behind.
  • Companies care about corporate social responsibility (CSR); in fact, we learned that 86% of the largest U.S. companies publish an annual sustainability report. Energy efficiency and renewables are the biggest levers helping companies hit sustainability targets—use this knowledge.


Big Trends
  • Personalization: focus on the individual, but don’t forget the bigger picture. Create a plan that is designed for the individual but speaks to the group with one consistent message—your message.
  • Capitalize on unexpected doorways. Talk to trade allies like architects, engineers and the design community. Do your research: Does your customer publish a sustainability report? Know where your services can create wins for customers and insert yourself there.
  • Connect through emotion. People want to connect with the people they do business with, and emotion is the surest, quickest way to pique their interest. Consider novel ways to get there. For example, you can use humor. Our industry itself doesn’t have to be funny for you to use humor to connect to customers—the insurance industry does it all the time, and I don’t know anyone who finds insurance particularly funny.


Tough Questions
  • Data, data, data—how do you really know that your marketing dollars are working?
  • How do we break through to the “hard to reach” populations such as the Hispanic, African American, and income-eligible markets?
  • How can we make bigger, faster, more effective changes in the commercial and industrial space?


What’s Next?
We learned a lot, and I encourage you to check out some of the presentations on AESP’s site.
At KSV, we are taking the toughest questions we heard and working them into our existing research for 2018. Janet Lapp challenged all attendees to return to the office and make a change. She tweeted, “Go back to your companies and be a candle of light, a beacon of hope or a stick of dynamite—depending. Be awesome!” The best way we can do that is to continue to ask tough questions, dig deep and get answers that allow us to deliver new insights for our clients and partners in the sustainable energy space.
I would be failing you if I didn’t wrap this up with a photo from the grand finale of the week—our very own AESP parade in New Orleans. Yes, we had beads, masks, jester hats and about 800 energy services professionals following a marching band through the French Quarter to celebrate our time together and the work we are doing to move energy into a more sustainable, more resilient, smart future…at the House of Blues.




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Ann is KSV’s Mission and Brand Manager. Her experience in marketing and communications is deeply rooted at the intersection of sustainability and energy with fellow certified B Corps. And whoever thought Superman had the best capes never met Ann. Read more from Ann here.

Topics: Utility Communications, Research