All successful public relations work is built on the foundation of good working Relationships. These relationships foster trust and open communication, which are essential for good PR practice as they are key aspects of profit growth for an organization.
When working in Public Relations (PR) you will encounter a number of different stakeholders. Stakeholder management is one of the key responsibility of PR. Stakeholders are the people or organizations who may have a material, professional, legal or political interest in the activities and performance of you and your organization. There are three main types of stakeholder.
Internal: people and departments within your organization. They are your colleagues. They rely on or use the work you produce – for example, your manager is a stakeholder and other departments who require the services of the PR department are stakeholders.
External: people and organizations outside your organization. They may be Customers, clients, suppliers and other key individuals or organizations who take an interest in or are affected by your work.
Interface: stakeholders who function both internally and externally. For example, an organization with a large trade union presence or shareholders who are also employees. You may not find these in every organization.
- Corporate governance; Corporate governance is a set of rules that defines the way in which an organization operates. It is the job of internal PR to communicate to the organization as a whole what these expectations are. They should be adhered to from the Board of Directors down and should include legal and regulatory behaviours as well as corporate ethics.
Boards of Directors should lead by example and should show their stakeholders through their own actions and deeds how to behave. This ensures that all internal Stakeholders are acting with a common purpose and that external stakeholders are clear of what this is. Although in external PR, corporate governance is most often discussed as a campaign or project for a client.
- Conflict between stakeholders; Conflict can occur between internal stakeholders. Conflict in agencies may appear when different teams are working on different accounts and need the same resources at the same time. For example if teams need to use key suppliers at the same time, or if the account director is expected to be at simultaneous team launches. These are relatively minor conflicts that can be resolved easily by communicating clearly and reaching compromise. In the long term, a larger conflict may appear if one team feels that another is being favored by senior management. This is why it is important that senior management manage conflict by communicating clearly why decisions are made. Conflict between external stakeholders can also occur as stakeholders have different priorities and see projects in different ways.
- Stakeholder importance; ….Stakeholder influence on success Stakeholders can have a direct impact on the success or failure of your project. At the beginning of a project you should assess who the important stakeholders are. It is impossible to please everyone all the time, so you must assess who will have the most impact on your campaign. You may need to consider ranking stakeholders by their importance or influence on the success of a project, then dividing them into direct and indirect stakeholders.
In conclusion, it is important to have a check list in your relationship with stakeholders; When creating your stakeholder map, ask yourself the following questions to help you identify the more influential or important stakeholders.
- Who will be affected positively or negatively, and to what degree, by what you are planning to do?
- Who runs any organization with an interest in what you are planning to do?
- Who influences opinions about your project? (For example, the media, a key opinion former or an internal member of staff.)
- Are any regulatory bodies involved in what you are planning to do?
- For which stakeholders involved does the project meet their needs and interests (internally and externally)?
- Internally, who has been involved in any similar projects in the past?
- Whom do you have existing good business relationships with who might be involved in your project?
- Who has the power of veto (the final right to say no) over any given situation within your projects?