PRWeek Awards 2011: Private Sector Department of the Year

After March's disaster at the nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan, convincing any country that nuclear energy is the way forward is a tough brief.

Private Sector Department of the Year: EDF Energy
Private Sector Department of the Year: EDF Energy

Getting the Government and the UK public behind nuclear energy has been one of many tasks the EDF Energy PR team has faced head-on in the past year. And it is one of many where, against the odds, the comms department has succeeded.

At a time when energy companies are under pressure to justify price rises, EDF has managed to engage the public through social media, the press and innovative partnerships, and stands head and shoulders above its competitors in terms of positive press coverage. It achieved this with consistent messaging throughout the media relations, public affairs and brand departments of its large PR team.


Well deserving winners. A variety

of work all delivered with imagination
and quality

Mike Blakemore Media director, Amnesty International UK

Among its many successes was the Team Green Britain campaign to help people reduce their carbon footprints. The campaign achieved 566 pieces of editorial coverage, almost two-thirds of which was EDF Energy branded.

Likewise, the PR team used its Talk Power conference to speak to major businesses about energy and climate change in an EDF-branded environment.

The team has developed social media strands to its campaigns. The launch of its London Eye partnership generated positive conversations – with 391 social media mentions, of which 60 per cent were on social networks and 27 per cent on blogs.

But perhaps EDF's biggest success, aside from securing support from 75 per cent of MPs for its plans for a nuclear future, was its winter price freeze guarantee, which established the company as a consumer champion ahead of its five main rivals in the energy market.

Media announcements were timed to maximise impact and make the most of competitors' price hikes, and thousands of potential customers received EDF's price guarantee message, as well as other messages about a favourable online tariff and the firm's safe, warm and well campaign for vulnerable customers.

The EDF team's consistent and often thought-provoking messaging has helped make the company one of the leading corporate voices in the UK.

The Awards 2011 book will be available in this week's issue of PRWeek

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