A few months ago, I authored a column for PR News entitled “Prioritizing Stakeholders for Public Relations.” The article was based on work by Dr. Brad Rawlins of Brigham Young University to synthesize a new model for prioritizing stakeholders in a way that is especially relevant for communications managers: by communication strategy.
According to Rawlins, advocate stakeholders should be approached with action-oriented messages and engaged in third-party endorsements, letter-writing campaigns, donations, investments, attendance at functions, etc. Dormant stakeholders aren’t ready to be involved, but messages to them should focus on creating awareness and understanding of issues, or on reducing barriers to action and increasing emotional attachment. Adversarial stakeholders respond better to conflict resolution strategies than defensive messages. And apathetic stakeholders shouldn’t be ignored, since increasing awareness and engagement may help avoid having an issue morph into a crisis.
That article drew some responses that I wanted to share with you, below.
President and CEO
Institute for Public Relations