Mastering connections: Cultivating stakeholder relationships through communication
Stakeholders are the people who matter to your business from the inside out. They can include your employees, investors, customers, partners, suppliers, regulators, and the community. Stakeholder relationships are important because they help businesses and startups gain support, build credibility, and make guided decisions to drive growth while providing room for tailored innovation.
In the whirlwind of rapid growth, strategic communication becomes vital, enabling organisations to disseminate information and engage, listen, and respond to key stakeholders' diverse needs and expectations. This article will break down the role of communications and public relations in cultivating these significant stakeholder relationships that help a fast-growing company thrive toward sustainable growth.
Building relationships with employees
For any organisation, one of the most important stakeholders is its employees; these are the people who largely represent and reflect what the organisation stands for, and hence, investing in this stakeholder relationship is vital. In startups and fast-growing companies, where change is constant, effective communication and public relations help create a cohesive and informed workforce.
The bedrock of this relationship is clear and transparent communication using relevant channels to build trust and engagement. Regular updates on company goals, achievements, and challenges also foster a sense of belonging and purpose among employees. Open avenues for feedback, such as town hall meetings or anonymous suggestion boxes, empower employees and demonstrate that their voices are valued. To keep the workforce inspired, recognising them and reward programs also act as means of acknowledgement of their efforts.
Unity, transparency, and shared purpose contribute to higher employee satisfaction, increased loyalty, and a stronger foundation for sustainable growth. Building this foundation requires a transparent, timely, and inspiring tone of communication.
Engaging investors through communication
Your pitch deck isn't the only communication material that spikes an investor's interest. Besides financial reports and sustainable growth plans, a potential investor also keeps an eye on the narrative your company presents and the value it stands for, alongside the impact your company is already making. A strong communication strategy enables crafting targeted messages tailored to the investor community and the vision they stand for.
Engaging investors through communication or any other stakeholder involves embracing various channels and platforms. Companies leverage traditional methods such as press releases, newsletters, financial/impact reports, investor meetups, and modern avenues like social media, webinars, and podcasts. An integrated approach that blends these mediums ensures a broader reach and deeper engagement with a diverse investor audience.
What about other stakeholders?
The factor to keep in mind is that, similar to most of your stakeholders, your investors may have different goals they are looking for. Hence, tailoring the message to show the investors that your goals are synced with theirs will help you connect to those with a higher chance of getting associated with you.
On the other end, public relations acts as a bridge between companies and their stakeholders, including investors and customers. It helps companies shape the public image, manage perceptions, and mitigate potential risks. Your company's PR also ensures information resonance, fostering trust, understanding, and strengthening your relationships, which are vital for organisations to navigate today's intricate global landscape. Your PR will drive mutual engagement between your company and your diverse stakeholder portfolio in an increasingly interconnected world.
In today's world, where information is constantly flowing, and audiences are increasingly fragmented, it is more important than ever for organisations to be strategic about their communications. A well-developed Communications and PR department helps organisations identify their key messages, develop effective communication channels, and measure the impact of their communications efforts.
Even though there will be multiple types of stakeholders who play a key role in the success of your business, tailoring messages for different groups and segmenting the channels or mediums where they live, as mentioned before, is a cornerstone of this process. While your newsletter and social media target potential customers and collaborative partners, your press presence can attract investors, and a simple yet vibrantly engaging internal channel can boost the inspiration of your employees.
Adapting language and tone to resonate with the unique goals of each audience segment is essential, as it helps to bridge potential gaps and ensures that the conveyed information is relatable and comprehensible. While there are varying mediums and tonalities your company will be adapting, consistency in messaging will be the key driver to ensuring the message you want is being delivered properly.
Sanjida Tanny heads the Communications department at Wagely, a financial wellness startup. She was the former Lead Storyteller at ShopUp, a B2B commerce startup.