Measuring a Corporate History’s Success

How do you measure the success of a corporate history? Here’s one example from Public Service Enterprise Group, a major energy company whose subsidiary PSE&G is New Jersey’s primary gas and electric utility. An award-winning history book written by Marian Calabro was the centerpiece of PSEG’s 100th anniversary campaign, which also included investor relations ads, a museum-quality timeline display in the lobby of the Newark headquarters, numerous corporate citizenship events, and donation of the book to every public library in the state. After the anniversary year ended the company surveyed its employees, of whom roughly two-thirds are union members. Their responses:

► 81% said the celebration made them feel more pride in the company;

► 77% said they had a better understanding of core values and the company’s contribution to its communities;

► 96% wanted to keep learning about PSEG’s history after the anniversary year ended.

Also, two months after releasing the book to a key constituency that included state politicians, regulators, and policymakers, PSE&G achieved its goal of winning a major regulatory rate case. Among other positive outcomes, the ultimate compliment may have come from then-CEO E. James Ferland, a highly analytical executive with a nuclear energy background. Ferland told a reporter from the New Jersey Star-Ledger: “I was skeptical there was any value to an anniversary celebration, but I was proven wrong – very wrong.”