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Stakeholder Mapping

We all think we know who our key contacts or ‘stakeholders’ are, but do others in your organisation agree? Is everyone on the same page as regards how strong those connections might be? Most importantly, do we have an engagement plan that sets out where the right resources might be applied to keep stakeholders engaged?

Most businesses or organisations that we come across don’t have a formal stakeholder engagement plan, nor have they carried out any stakeholder mapping.

We’d recommend that you do. By understanding who you are dealing with, how receptive they might be, who is the best person to maintain the relationship, and what they want from you is crucial to know before you do anything else.

It’s quick and easy to do, and very much worth it.

Channel selection

Channel selection – this is a fancy phrase for the choice you need to make in determining the way you are going to get you message out there.

Channels could be your twitter feed, email, written letter, phone call, or face to face meetings, to name but a few.

But make sure you choose wisely. Choose the channel that matched your audience. In other words, if they don’t read the local newspaper, then don’t use that as your channel to tell them your news.

One particularly extreme example of a poor channel choice was in an article I read recently. Company X as I will call them, decided to layoff 400 workers by email with no prior notice or warning.

Incredibly poor choice of channel, deeply insensitive, and it also creates further issues for Company X. As they are a business that is still trading, their reputation amongst their own employees is at rock bottom. Claims that they clearly don’t care about their staff are hard to defend.

They could have handled it very differently and showed more compassion.

Iain McMenemy

No comment just won’t do

Having just watched some news coverage of the latest indictments in the US political saga, I’m again seeing a number of people walking through the melee of reporters while whispering the words ‘no comment’.

This approach is rarely wise.  A conversation is a two-way street.  When you talk to someone, you expect an answer.  When you don’t get one, it jolts the brain, and tells you something isn’t right, or someone is being evasive.  It is the same when someone stays stony silent or gives the response ‘no comment’.  It just transmits a sense of negativity to the people watching.

Even if you simply say, ‘we’ll be issuing a statement shortly’, that at least is a normal interaction and is providing the recipient with some information whilst keeping the conversation going… at least in part.

Audience led communications

One of the things you’ll always hear us preach about is the importance of audience led communications.  This is because we routinely come across people starting their approach to comms from the wrong angle entirely.

People so often decide they need to send out a newsletter, or want to see some coverage in a newspaper, but have they really thought why?  Do their customers actually receive their news in that way?  Who in fact is their audience and how do they consume their news?

Start from the position of deciding who your audience is.  Work out how they like to receive their news.  Then devise the action that will deliver the right message, to the right audience, using the correct medium.

Our ‘special relationship’

I was recently invited to speak at an event during Scotland Week, which has grown out of Tartan Day celebrations in the US.

Having taken part before, I always find it a privilege to be asked to speak at these events in Washington DC. It is also immensely interesting to meet the many Scottish Americans, Senators and Congressmen and women who attend.

Whilst the so-called ‘special relationship’ is often talked about in political circles, usually at a point when decisions on one side of the pond might impact on the other, it’s only when you attend events like those during Scotland Week when you realise just how deep the bonds between us go.

I have met so many Americans whose love for Scotland burns brightly. Their families may have left our shores decades, or hundreds of years ago, but they are as proud as we are to be Scots.

In some ways, this is the legacy that Scotland leaves throughout the world. Our culture and identity – our brand – is so strong that it resonates positivity and inclusiveness around the world. As a nation we should look to further build upon these bonds, the benefits of doing so would be felt right across Scotland.