Good business reputation management is any company’s top asset, and therefore must be handled with great care. Building trust with stakeholders is truly the core of a company’s success in relationship management, especially during a time when information is more accessible than ever. With any major decision made, companies should prioritize transparency and accuracy among stakeholders to avoid future PR disasters. 

Here are three reputation management strategies to prioritize in order to maintain a strong connection with stakeholders:

1. Understanding stakeholders.

Getting to know your stakeholders and what they want is essential to a good reputation management plan. The key to maintaining a good image is to be proactive, rather than reactive, so a good idea would be to have a stakeholder engagement policy in place.

Be sure to have all of your bases covered to prevent any miscommunications or disasters. First, map out all who would be affected by anything your company does – whether it’s a product launch, a post online, issues affecting your workforce or investors,  or projects involving municipalities. Then, consider the impact you’ll have on them. Keep in mind their interests, views, and beliefs, and their possible reactions to anything. Without the consideration of all parties in any project, there’s a chance that your initiative might go sideways. 

2. Focussing on actions that matter most to them.

When coming up with a communication and stakeholder engagement plan, zone in on what resonates with each of your stakeholders. Companies that are people-centric and focus on the satisfaction of its stakeholders not only attract repeat consumers, but more people will want to work for you and with you. For example, within a company, this can include regular check-ins with employees or an work environment that encourages personal wellness. Ask yourself the following questions:

– Does this align with the values of stakeholders?

– In what ways does everyone win?

– What do they prioritize in their day-to-day?

In order to find out what matters most to stakeholders, look at leaders in your industry and do some research on how people like working for, with, or have tried their products or services. What are their reviews like? What are they doing that keeps employees, contractors, and customers happy? How can these things be implemented into your company policy?

3. Make an impact in an engaging (non-PR) way. 

Richard Edelman, president of Edelman, a renowned PR agency, suggests that “communications strategy and programming must be fundamentally reassessed today, in light of forces such as: the collapse of trust in financial institutions, a global rise in government intervention, the growing rich/poor divide, dispersion of authority/influence, and the morphing of mainstream and new media”.  Due to these social shifts, people now look for a more authentic, human experience in which they feel listened to and engaged with.

Presenting projects in a generic, sales-like manner can make your stakeholders feel like they’re being talked at – so it’s imperative to create a more discussion-like feel. Understanding the difference between real stakeholder engagement and public relations positions your company in a place where you can develop a thorough strategy for consulting stakeholders. When a communication issue arises, companies cannot solely look to a good PR strategy to keep their reputation intact. This is because PR tactics may come off as inauthentic or not genuine. Direct contact and two-way conversations with clear communication is an effective route to keeping your stakeholders happy, which will thus result in a good buzz around your organization. 

Business relationship management can be made even easier with the right software. There are multiple factors that may affect the success of a stakeholder relationship management software system implementation. They can be grouped into two main areas – the people (users) and the system (program). In our Stakeholder Relationship Management Software Implementation Guide, we will break down the key factors for successful software implementation and outline common pitfalls to avoid.

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