Division B - Printed Tools of Public Relations
Category 2 - Annual Report
Kissimmee Utility Authority, Chris M. Gent, Rachael K. Gmerek

Golden Image Award

Research/Situation Analysis: Most people only think about electricity when the lights go out, and they realize they can’t see a thing. What most people don’t realize is the effort it takes to consistently deliver this unseen commodity to tens of thousands of homes and businesses on a daily basis. Some people may notice a power pole once in a while. What they don’t see is the precise planning that goes into the placement of each and every pole. Other people may notice a corporate sponsorship banner at a local community event or youth ballfield. What they don’t see is how that sponsorship helps to carry out the role of a good corporate citizen.
In preparing its 2006 annual report, the Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) realized it was time to expose the otherwise invisible aspects of electricity and the electricity business. The annual report would attempt to shed light on the efforts made by KUA to deliver services to its 63,000 customers in Central Florida.
Primary telephone and email research conducted by KUA’s corporate communications staff of sister utilities and utility associations throughout the nation indicated a continued commitment to the production of a printed annual report. In fact, 100 percent of utilities surveyed indicated that they produce an annual report. The survey results also revealed an average cost of $25 per copy for utilities to produce their reports.
The target audience of our annual report is employees, customers, elected officials, key decision makers in the community and members of the financial community.

Objectives: KUA’s corporate communications staff identified five key objectives for the project: (1) to develop a compelling design to communicate our successes and challenges as a utility over the past year as well as a financial summary; (2) to reach out to local and national media to secure enhanced coverage of the report’s release; (3) to achieve a 75 percent satisfaction rate among at least 100 report recipients; (4) to complete production of the report by the second week in February 2007; and (5) to keep the cost per piece below the national average of $25.00, as determined by our primary research.

Implementation: To kick off the project we held several strategic planning sessions with utility management to identify objectives, content and message, as well as design themes. From these meetings we developed a list of the 11 most significant accomplishments of the utility in 2006, and it became clear that many of these accomplishments were invisible to our customers… things like Wi-Fi service, hardening and expansion of our electrical infrastructure, etc. We chose a descriptive and fitting theme: “What You Don’t See.”
We developed and issued five Requests For Proposal (RFP): the first for graphic design services, the second for photography services, the third for copy editing, the fourth for printing, and the fifth for compact disc replication. We discovered from previous reports that we could achieve significant cost savings by burning the financial portion of the report to CD.
The next three months would include copy development, design and layout, photo shoots and selection of images. The design of the report would give us the opportunity to unveil an unseen element in each of the photos. This not only would create a unique design element but would also make the annual report interactive.
In addition to the printed version of the report, we developed a unique online version that opens with a 38-second movie. The movie uses still photos from the report set to music and slowly brings them into focus to reveal “what you can’t see.” The movie concludes with an interactive table of contents with six options that mirror those in the printed version.

Evaluation: Copies of the annual report were distributed to our board of directors at their regular meeting on Feb. 7, successfully meeting our completion goal of the second week in February. On Feb. 19, the report was uploaded to the utility’s Web site – http://www.kua.com/Corporate/Press/Reports/2006/kua06intro.html – for downloading by the general public. 577 reports have been downloaded since it was posted – an average of six reports each day. In addition, nearly half of the 2,000 printed reports have been distributed so far.
A Feb. 19 news release announcing the release of the report was accessed 120,947 times and picked up by 2,306 media organizations, including Yahoo News, Osceola News-Gazette, Orlando Business Journal and FMEA Headline News. In addition, the release was picked up by dozens of financial, technology and government blogs.
The report has received favorable comments from KUA’s board of directors, management and employees. Email surveys were sent to recipients of the printed report. 90 percent of the 112 respondents thought the report was useful, well-written and well-themed. The surveys and comments will help us enhance future annual reports.

Budget: Report research, copywriting and project management was handled by in-house corporate communications staff. The cost of producing the 2,000 annual reports: $20,301 (printing), $10,500 (graphic and Web design services), $5,730 (photography), $2,325 (copy editing services) and $980 CD replication and printing. Total project cost: $39,836. This breaks down to $15.45 for each report distributed and each annual report downloaded to date – 38 percent below our target objective of $25.00. This per piece cost will continue to drop as additional copies of the report are downloaded from the Web site. Total staff time required: 197 hours.