Big Ideas: Stakeholder Engagement

Companies have about as much ability to choose their stakeholders as children have to choose their parents.
Industry Canada

Stakeholder engagement is fundamental to communicating your message.

Communicators are inundated with data; what they need more than ever today is insight to take that great idea to the next level. Stakeholder Engagement is essential in that process of turning a great idea a workable reality.

ROI understands that the day of one-size-fits-all solutions is over. That is why we developed a Stakeholder Engagement framework that can be customized for consulting with consumers and citizens, integrating traditional telephone polling, online feedback, social media conversations and on-site feedback.

The extent of engagement and the nature of that engagement may vary from client to client, but two things determine the tools success: the breadth of the audience being targeted, and the extent of interaction desired.

ROI’s approach to stakeholder engagement is simple, yet sophisticated and flexible:

  • Education is the first and broadest level of engagement when the objective is to make a few fundamental things well known among a broad audience;
  • Articulation is the second stage, narrowing the audience somewhat to those who care, and ensuring they have the right messages to be your ambassadors;
  • Validation is the third more interactive level of engagement, in which key beliefs and attitudes among supporters are identified and amplified;
  • Activation is the fourth level, when those key support groups identified earlier are given the tools to clearly stand behind your message, aligning themselves with your objectives;
  • Collaboration is the most targeted and interactive level of engagement, directly involving stakeholders in modifying and shaping the message or product. Many stakeholder engagement projects purposefully stop short of this level of interaction because it is difficult to manage.

Whether your next engagement project involves targeting customers, voters, specific social networks, or numerous stakeholders, ROI can design an effective research program to guide you through it.

For other Big Ideas, see Integrated Feedback System, Advertising Impact Model and Focus Groups.