This comment was made in the same week that I took a call from a company enquiring if "engaging with six, perhaps eight houses" was too small for us to accept as a job. It was also three days before another person volunteered his view of the importance of tapping into a community to understand its specific quirks and the challenges they may present to anyone seeking to bring forward a site for development or a planning proposal.
Stakeholder engagement; it’s an interesting conundrum, and one which is usually ‘tacked-on’ to a project, rather than being placed at its heart, and regarded as integral to its successful delivery as the design and engineering solutions proposed.
At the heart of marketing is engagement, and, I would argue, education. How can anyone make a decision about whether they want or need what is proposed through a project development unless they are informed about what it really involves and will deliver, as opposed to what the inevitable Chinese whispers would have us believe? I’ve lost count of the number of time I’ve been told a development comprising ‘up to’ a set number of units will “end up with twice as many” and that “what’s shown here will look nothing like when it’s built”. This is when Share of Voice (SOV) comes into play.
Share of voice is how ‘loud’ an organisation’s marketing communications are in the market place. There are many other ‘voices’ competing to be heard, and it’s easy for your message to be drowned out by the cacophony of noise seeking to snare the market’s attention. The growth of social media hasn’t made the challenge any easier, and when you factor in how quickly a campaign can not only be started but gather momentum, it’s fundamental to ensure you have a strategy in place ahead of time.
Key to an effective strategy for both engagement and marketing purposes is ensuring clarity of message, and identifying which message is appropriate for your audience. This will change from project to project, and as the business grows, or as the business plan is updated. It doesn’t matter what your message is, as long as it is consistent, coherent and communicated in a way that is clear and strategic.
Developing strategies for clients is just one element of what we do at Results Communications, but this single element forms the foundations upon which a development project, a client’s reputation, or their business growth will sit.
It’s not just for projects that engagement is important. Any individual, company or organisation seeking to present itself, its products or services to a market ought to be engaging with their audiences to ensure they not only understand what their priorities and concerns are, but also position their offer as a solution. This is true for companies offering both products and/or services.
As a marketing consultancy specialising in the construction, built environment and infrastructure sectors, I see first-hand the benefits of stakeholder engagement when it’s done as more than a ‘box-ticking’ exercise. As a marketer, a communicator, facilitator and as a businessperson, I encourage and advise clients to proactively engage with their stakeholders their staff, their customers, their clients, their board and anyone else who is likely to be impacted by their business activities. It’s a great opportunity to not only reach out to Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) audiences, and tailor your messages accordingly, but also to learn something new.
So what are the benefits of stakeholder engagement and marketing engagement? This is something I get asked all the time, and there’s a seemingly never-ending list. If pressed, though, my top three (today) would be better decision-making, adding value and breaking down barriers.
Do you have a marketing or engagement challenge? Do you have questions about the best approach to tackle it, and how not to? We’re happy to help define approaches and strategies so why not give us a call or drop us an email?