Business PR
stakeholder

Are you spreading the love in the world of business?

Posted by Deborah | June 9th, 2014 | No responses

Maybe it’s because we know they would most likely throw a fit, storm out to the pub or slope off to the spare room. Maybe it’s because we’re afraid of ending up alone and forgotten.

Whatever it is, there has to be a reason that in our private lives we know a fair thing about maintaining appreciation and harmony…but we forget it all too easily when it comes to our place in the corporate world.

Stakeholder relationship management is not necessarily a new concept, but like so many things in the world of 21st century business, we seem to have adopted a label for it.  This isn’t just about remembering to send a bottle of wine to a client or some other adhoc gesture, but instead, it’s an increasingly important strategic function within your PR delivery.

So, who are our stakeholders? The list is long and varied.

In essence, we’re talking about any individual or organisation who could influence or impact on our business’s goals and endeavours.
This may include

Customers – because they either will or won’t continue to purchase your product or service on the back of your delivery Investors – naturally, these have a financial interest in growth and success Community groups – because their collective voice can have enormous bearing when it comes to issuing thought about your activity Influencers and opinion formers – from politicians to press, there’s always someone who can create either positive of negative messaging about you, your brand and your business practices.

As with any peer relationships, no-one is saying that by having a conscious approach to stakeholder relationship management, you’ll always avoid controversy or criticism. But, by having a keen eye on this aspect of business life and viewing it as intrinsic to your decision making, it’s more likely you’ll be courting friends than enemies.

Here are some simple steps to get you started on your journey of improved stakeholder relationship management:

  • Identify who your stakeholders are. Take a look at which parties you have impact on, and why.
  • Consider each stakeholder group and assess how well you are currently engaged with them. Do you think they feel valued? Do they know what you stand for?
  • Explore the routes to repair damage or build bridges. If there are issues with some of your identified groups, there’s a lot to be gained by addressing them and finding a new pathway for a positive relationship.
  • Assess, address and maintain. Look at what the state of play is with stakeholder relationships, address any specific issues in so far as you can, and make it your business to maintain a better rapport in future.

This aspect of today’s PR model certainly doesn’t ensure everyone will end up loving you. But, as with any relationship, you’re so much more likely to run the distance (and for both sides to be happy) if you communicate, know each other’s expectations, and do your best to spend time in the other party’s shoes.

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