Today, we hand over to the lovely Lucy Rennie of Lucy Rennie Communications. We’ve had the pleasure of working with Lucy for the past 2 years and she has been fundamental in helping the JCM Team shape and renew our message. I don’t know what we’d do without her!
So here she is, with some expert tips on how to manage your stakeholders. Enjoy!
It’s all about communication!
When we think about communication, we think primarily about marketing to our customers. But in today’s world we need to be more open to thinking out of the box, to finding other ways of attracting attention and breaking through all the noise and without spending an absolute fortune on advertising or PR!
That’s where looking at how your business communicates as a whole, to who and in what way can really be beneficial and change the way your business is perceived or talked about.
If you’re starting to think about your business goals for next year, then this is the perfect time of year to think about your key stakeholders!
Who are the people, organisations or publications that could support you on your path to achieving your objectives?
Who are those people who think you’re great or that can’t stop recommending your services?
Are you a member of an organisation, institution or professional body?
A great starting point for this is to think about how to identify and manage your key stakeholders.
Who in your environment has an interest in your business or service?
This could be customers, suppliers, employees, competitors, membership organisations, industry bodies, banks etc the list goes on. Then, categorise them into clusters of ‘types’ and think about your relationship with each one of them.
What are they looking to gain from your relationship?
How can you help them?
And then spend some time thinking about how they can help you. Once you’ve been through these questions for each of them, rate them on order of importance or potential value and voila you have the beginnings of an organic communications plan. You can then decide on the type of communication, frequency and potential benefit to you and your organisation.
The aim of the game is to find the ‘WIN WIN’ situation for all parties and the more creative you can be the more fun you will have!
How can you work with stakeholder A so that you create mutual benefit?
Could you write a case study about their business to be published in the industry magazine that promotes your service and how you have helped that customer to achieve such results?
Could you provide content relevant to your area of expertise to the local Chamber of Commerce newsletter that helps them to fill their channels and you to self-promote as an expert?
How about creating a collaboration with another local business that has similar but not the exact products and organise an evening event or workshop to showcase both your services or products?
So, here’s our top 10 points to effectively manage your stakeholders:
- Take the time to map out your key stakeholders. Who are they? How can they affect your business? Or how could your business affect them?
- Categorise them into clusters or types – can some of them be managed closely together with the same strategies?
- Think about who they are, what are their goals and missions – what is important to them?
- What would help them? What could they be looking for from your organisation?
- How could they be of benefit to your business?
- Give each one / cluster a score or rating of high, medium or low. Prioritise them from high importance to low importance.
- What could go wrong?
- What are the consequences of it going wrong? How could it jeopardise your business?
- Prioritise and Plan.
- Post your map up on to your wall next to your desk! Every time you think about a new project, you have a news item you need to share or want to break into a new market check-out your stakeholder map and make sure you have communicated with each of the relevant parties.
And don’t forget to think out of the box, have fun and bring on those happy dances!