Have you observed much of a change in the growth bets that your company has been making in recent years? I’d be surprised if you haven’t! As opportunities for significant growth remain restricted in developed markets, we’re hearing increasingly that companies are being forced to find new areas for growth – they’re diversifying their product offerings, they’re entering new markets, and they’re sourcing new (cheaper) suppliers. Indeed, executives recently reported that they expect nearly 50% of growth to come from either new product lines, entry into new markets, or some combination of the two.
Of course, whilst the golden carrot dangling in China, India, or Brazil is an obvious temptation to corporate strategists, these types of change represent significant challenges to the rest of the business! I’ll leave it to other writers to discuss the implications for HR, product development, procurement, sales and the rest. For us communicators, the challenges are significant enough to be getting on with!
Challenge For Communicators: Stakeholder Prioritization
Those I’ve spoken with have mentioned that it’s difficult enough to identify and prioritize the whole host of key influencers and stakeholders they’ll need to interact with to play their part in whatever business initiative it is you’re supporting. Knowledge that we usually take for granted – the name of this influential blogger, the phone number of that thought leader, and so on – needs to be obtained by hook or by crook.
Even more difficult, though, is knowing where to prioritize your efforts and where not to. Which outlet is most widely read? Whose opinions carry more weight amongst regulators? Which blog is taken more seriously by your discerning new target customer base?
It seems that many communicators lack a formal process for prioritizing new audiences, preferring to simply work the new audiences and influencers out on the job. I guess that this isn’t surprising, for a couple of reasons:
- communicators are naturally pretty intuitive types, who have traditionally relied on instinct to get the job done
- the pressures of supporting an important new product, or trying to get a foothold in a new market are such that it probably seems easier to simply communicate with everyone, and work out what works best along the way
In your experience, is this the best approach? Or, does an informal approach to stakeholder prioritization lessen the bang that you get for your buck?
Get Involved in our Work
CEC has begun a new project, examining how leading communicators prioritize outreach to key stakeholders or influencers when faced with new scenarios, issues or outcomes. If you’ve recently encountered a change in how your business operates (diversification of product offerings, entry into new geographies, significant changes in regulation) and have been forced to identify and prioritize new stakeholders and influencers, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with Daniel O’Keeffe O’Donovan to help direct our work in this space.