Communicating with organisations’ ‘publics’ is a key part of corporate social responsibility and fundamental to the success of any organisation.
While forward-thinking businesses have always appreciated the importance of keeping stakeholders informed and connected, some are less convinced and believe they can operate under the radar without any fear of being exposed or held to account.
The arrival of social media has called time on this outdated view – consumers now take organisations to task on public forums if they feel ignored or not consulted on decisions that impact them.
Often it is during a period of change when organisations look to their stakeholders for support, yet have neglected to nurture these relationships over time, so success is limited.
Mastering stakeholder relations
The biggest challenge when it comes to managing stakeholder relations is defining who is a stakeholder and segmenting them into groups of interest and priority. While the neighbour who lives down the street may have little interest to you as a customer or specifier, he or she could well become a priority A audience if you were considering expanding your premises.
This leads on to the best channels of communication and this again comes back to knowing your stakeholders. We work across a number of platforms from social, press and print as well as community groups and briefings to ensure we control and tailor the message as well as the delivery.
Understanding the need for stakeholder management and engagement is fundamental to management buy in. While some forward-thinking leaders feel it is the right thing to do, others may need convincing.
Without doubt, partnerships between businesses and stakeholders can drive sustainable communities, strengthen sectors and provide a focus for shared values. On the flip side, not having stakeholders who value an organisation can have a damaging effect on reputation.
If you embark on stakeholder engagement it needs to be meaningful.
Be clear in what you set out to do and demonstrate that you are following this through and you will build trust even if the message you are imparting is not always positive.
See our case study on stakeholder engagement here.
“Represent challenged our messaging and crafted compelling pillars of communication that brought to life the Society’s success in the ongoing delivery of our charitable remit. Represent is a valuable partner to the Society“Alain Laidlaw, RHASS chief executive