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Brunswick Future of Stakeholder Engagement Report February 2013
 

Brunswick Future of Stakeholder Engagement Report February 2013

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Conventional wisdom holds that “Stakeholder Engagement” is important and organisations should be doing it.But there’s very little data available about what “it” is, or about the benefits and ...

Conventional wisdom holds that “Stakeholder Engagement” is important and organisations should be doing it.But there’s very little data available about what “it” is, or about the benefits and risks organisations see from engaging in new ways with groups they may not have dealt with in the past.
The purpose of this survey was to explore what stakeholder engagement looks like with those who are closest to the front line: senior European communicators at large corporations, government bodies, NGOs, associations and other organisations.

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    Brunswick Future of Stakeholder Engagement Report February 2013 Brunswick Future of Stakeholder Engagement Report February 2013 Document Transcript

    • The Future of StakeholderEngagementViews of Senior European Communicators onCurrent and Future Best PracticeFebruary 2013
    • Table of contents 3 Introduction 4 Key findings 6 The current state of stakeholder engagement 11 Benefits and risks of stakeholder engagement 18 The future of stakeholder engagement 25 Blueprint for success: What does it take to build a successful programme? 28 Implications 29 About the study2 | 2013 | © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT
    • IntroductionConventional wisdom holds that “Stakeholder Engagement” is important and organisations should be doing it.But there’s very little data available about what “it” is, or about the benefits and risks organisations see fromengaging in new ways with groups they may not have dealt with in the past.The purpose of this survey was to explore what stakeholder engagement looks like with those who are closest tothe front line: senior European communicators at large corporations, government bodies, NGOs, associationsand other organisations.Several questions drive this research project:• What exactly are organisations doing in terms of stakeholder engagement – and with whom?• What are the risks and benefits they associate with engaging with “non-traditional” stakeholders? (i.e., stakeholders other than employees, suppliers, business partners, or customers/members)• And, perhaps most importantly, what does the future of stakeholder engagement look like from senior communicators’ perspective?We were able to include communicators across a variety of organisational types and sectors in the survey.However, respondents were predominantly from the corporate world and half were based in the UK (nearly 4in 10 of the UK respondents were from FTSE 100 companies). The remainder were distributed across Europe,with sizeable proportions of respondents in Brussels/Belgium (15%) and Germany (11%). Where significant orinteresting, differences between the UK, Brussels/Belgium and Germany are highlighted in the report.While the results of this survey offer a unique perspective and provide a blueprint for creating a successfulprogramme, they tell only part of the story. To provide a more global context, Brunswick Insight is currentlyconducting similar research in the United States and China, and will issue the results as soon as theyare available. © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT | 2013 | 3
    • Key findingsSenior communicators across Europe (82%) consider stakeholder engagement to be important to theirorganisation’s success, with 55% saying it is “extremely important”. The scope and scale of stakeholderengagement activities are expected to increase dramatically in the next five years, with a sizeable increasein the percentage who say engagement will be important to their organisation’s success (90%) and nearly asmany saying their organisation will be doing more engagement in the future (82%).Most (80%) believe senior management at their organisation understand and appreciate the value of stakeholderengagement. However, while the team at the top appears to understand the value of engagement, morework remains to create buy-in across and down the organisation, as respondents say lack of understanding,particularly at these levels, is the biggest internal obstacle to creating engagement programmes.One way to increase understanding and buy-in could be to have a more strategic approach, where success isclearly demonstrated. Currently, at most organisations, stakeholder engagement tends to be ad hoc (79%)rather than strategic and just three in ten (29%) use specific KPIs to measure the success of their organisation’sengagement. Communicators appear ready to make this shift as more than eight in ten (85%) say it will beimportant for their organisation to have an engagement strategy in five years’ time.Currently, communicators are much more likely to engage with traditional (e.g., employees, suppliers, businesspartners, customers/members) rather than non-traditional (e.g., NGOs, consumer groups, special interestgroups, activist groups) stakeholders. Communicators acknowledge that engagement with non-traditionalstakeholders carries sizeable risks, the biggest of which is the possibility of not meeting expectations (60%).Four in ten or more are also concerned about possible damage to their organisation’s reputation (45%), wastingtime and money (42%), and loss of control (41%).Nevertheless, most communications professionals have already seen compelling evidence of the benefits ofengagement for their organisation. The biggest benefits include improved reputation (89%) and increasedunderstanding of their organisation and its activities amongst stakeholders (89%).Primary responsibility for engagement activities tends to reside with communications (32%) and corporateaffairs (23%). Currently, two in three communicators (68%) feel overwhelmed by the amount of time andresources required to engage properly. This suggests that securing additional resources for engagementwill be important for communicators if they are to cope with the pressure, navigate expected risks anddeliver results. 4 | 2013 | © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT
    • The blueprint for creating a successful stakeholder engagement programme now and in the future issurprisingly consistent, requiring:• Trust• Mutual respect• Commitment from the top of the organisation• Alignment with the organisation’s long-term goalsAt present, social media and online engagement activities tend to involve more monitoring than activeengagement – but that is expected to change in five years’ time. While 79% currently monitor social mediachannels, just 30% blog, 28% map online influencers, and 19% create online panels at present. However, onein three (34%) think social media and online tools will be the most effective ways to engage with stakeholdersin general in five years’ time.In contrast, when it comes to engagement with non-traditional stakeholders, in-person meetings (75%)are expected to remain the most effective way to build deep and lasting relationships. While there is nosubstitute for in-person meetings, communications professionals recognise that they will need a combinationof engagement techniques to work effectively with both traditional and non-traditional stakeholdersin the future. © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT | 2013 | 5
    • The current state of stakeholder engagement“Reputation management” is the top priority for corporatecommunicators, followed by stakeholder engagement Few believe that stakeholder engagementWhen asked to rate the importance of a variety of activities they encounter has no impact on the success of theirin their jobs to the success of their organisation, senior communications organisation. Inprofessionals are most likely to say that reputation management (93%), fact, only 18% ofstakeholder engagement (82%), internal/employee communications (82%), communicators saycrisis communications (79%), and media relations (79%) are “important” they have yet to see any(rating of “4” or “5” on a scale of 1 to 5). compelling evidence that stakeholder engagement has a direct impact on the success of their organisation.(% who rate each as…) Reputation management 93% 6%1% Q. Here are several activities that Stakeholder engagement 82% 16%2% communication Internal/ employee communications 82% 17% 2% professionals may Crisis communications 79% 16% 5% encounter in their Media relations 79% 19% 2% jobs. For each, please Issues management 78% 19% 3% indicate how important you believe it is to Corporate communications 77% 19% 4% the success of your Investor relations 74% 11% 15% organisation [1 to 5 Public affairs, lobbying 67% 19% 15% scale, where 1 = not Marketing/brand and consumer communications 65% 25% 11% at all important; 5 = extremely important] Corporate social responsibility and sustainability 65% 22% 13% (Base=130) Social media engagement 49% 35% 17% Top box (4-5) Middle box (3) Bottom box (1-2)• Views on the importance of stakeholder engagement differ by market: while 91% of those in the UK rate it as important, fewer in Brussels (65%) or Germany (50%) consider it as important• Communicators in Brussels are especially likely to rate “public affairs/lobbying” (80%) as important, while those in Germany are more likely than others to rate “marketing/brand and consumer communications” (71%) as important 6 | 2013 | © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT
    • Talking to the people who matter to your business about the things that matter to them.Defining stakeholder engagement: a dialogue for understanding, mutual benefit andbusiness successThere is widespread consensus in how communicators define “stakeholder engagement”. When asked todescribe stakeholder engagement in a sentence or two, six in ten (61%) respondents define it as a two-waydialogue with those who have an interest in, are affected by, or can influence your organisation.(% who describe stakeholder engagement as . . .) Two-way dialogue with key parties who have Q. How would you an interest in your company or organisation / define “stakeholder 61% who may be affected by your decisions / can engagement” in a influence your organisation and its decisions sentence or two? Ensuring key stakeholders are well informed / have access to information about your 13% company Identifying who your key stakeholders are and understanding what their views / 5% expectations are Ensuring coordination with stakeholders on 4% issues of mutual interest Regular communication with relevant parties 4% To ensure positive attitude of key parties / 3% positively influence stakeholders Involving stakeholders in / listening to outside opinion in the decision making 2% process Demonstrate you are open to stakeholders / 2% their concerns Other 8% © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT | 2013 | 7
    • Communicators more likely to engage in traditional stakeholder engagement activities atpresent; online activities lag behindWhen asked to say which of a number of stakeholder relations or engagement activities their organisationis currently doing, communicators are much more likely to mention traditional rather than non-traditionalactivities. The top five activities are: monitoring traditional media (94%), membership in industry groups(87%), creating lasting relationships with stakeholders (86%), attending networking events (85%), and hostingevents (80%). In terms of social media, while most (79%) say they are monitoring social media channels,respondents are much less likely to be blogging (30%), mapping online influencers (28%), or creating onlinepanels to share information (19%).(% who say their organisation is doing each of the following…) Q. Currently, which of Monitor traditional media 94% the following types of Membership in a trade association or industry stakeholder relations or 87% group engagement activities Long term engagement to create lasting 86% does your organisation relationships do? Please select all Attend networking events 85% that apply.  Base=130) ( Host events 80% Monitor social media channels 79% Ad-hoc engagement on specific issues of concern 79% to your organisation Survey stakeholder’s views and concerns 72% Map stakeholders 69% Host roundtables or panels 68% Map issues 62% Have a stakeholder engagement strategy 61% Use social media for purposes other than 56% marketing Undertake consultation exercises as you develop 52% policies and programmes Publish and share thought leadership work 52% Blog 30% Map online influencers 28% Create online panels to share information 19% 8 | 2013 | © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT
    • • Communicators in the UK are particularly likely to say they survey stakeholders’ views and concerns (80%), use social media for non-marketing purposes (67%), and undertake consultation exercises as they develop policies and programmes (61%)• Communicators in Brussels are particularly likely to say they map stakeholders (85%), host roundtables or panels (85%) and have a stakeholder engagement strategy (80%)• Communicators in Germany are particularly likely to say they are members of a trade association or industry group (93%) or they host events (86%). They tend to be less likely than others to say they attend networking events (57%), map stakeholders (57%) or issues (36%) © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT | 2013 | 9
    • Traditional rather than non-traditional stakeholders top the list of important stakeholdersMost communicators rate their company’s business partners (84%), national government (83%), employees(83%), and traditional media (76%) as important stakeholders. Fewer say EU institutions (64%; 95% forBrussels/Belgium) and local government (60%) are as important.“Non-traditional” stakeholder groups, such as activist groups (30%), online communities of interest (28%) andcharitable organisations (23%), are much less likely to be rated as important.(% who rate each stakeholder as “important”) Business partners 84% Top Box rating of 4 or 5 National government 83% Q. Likewise, how Employees 83% important to your Traditional media 76% organisation would EU institutions 64% you say engagement is with each of the Local government 60% following stakeholder Consumers 52% groups currently? [1-5 Local communities 50% scale, where 1 = not at all important; 5 = Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) 45% extremely important] Consumer groups 44% (Base=130) Special interest groups 40% Universities/academics 40% Activist groups 30% Online communities of interest 28% Charitable organisations 23% 10 | 2013 | © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT
    • Benefits and risks of stakeholder engagementPrompted biggest benefits: improved reputation, increased understanding of the company, long-term relationships and better understanding of stakeholder concerns and expectationsWhen asked to rate a list of possible benefits of stakeholder engagement in terms of their importance,communicators are most likely to say improved reputation (89%), increased understanding of the organisation(89%), developing long-term relationships (88%) and better understanding of stakeholder concerns andexpectations (84%) are “important”.The benefits they are least likely to rate as important are demonstrating to others that you’re engaging (53%),product innovation (44%), and facilitating social change (35%).(% who rate each as “important”) Improving your organisation’s reputation or Q. How important 89% image to you or your Increasing understanding of your organisation are each 89% organisation and its activities of the following as Developing long-term relationships 88% possible benefits of Better understanding stakeholders’ views, doing stakeholder 84% engagement? [1-5 concerns and expectations Better understanding of views of those on scale, where 1 = not 78% the other side of an issue at all important; 5 = Influencing the views or actions of other extremely important] 78% stakeholders (Base=130) Building a network of advocates 77% Avoiding conflict before it emerges 74% Resolving or reducing conflict 68% Identifying and mitigating the risk of crises 65% Creating better public policy 63% Attracting and retaining high calibre 62% employees Sharing expertise 60% Collaborating to develop programmes and 59% policies for the organisation Finding a solution to a complex problem 57% Demonstrating to others that you’re 53% engaging Product innovation 44% Facilitating social change 35% © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT | 2013 | 11
    • • Communicators in the UK are more likely than others to say increasing understanding of their organisation (95%), avoiding conflicts before they emerge (81%), and attracting and retaining high calibre employees (73%) are important benefits of engagement• Those in Brussels are more likely than others to say building a network of advocates (90%), creating better public policy (90%), and finding solutions to complex problems (70%) are important benefits• Communicators in Germany are more likely than others to say product innovation (57%) is an important benefit of engagement If done well to the right people, they will tell your story for you much more powerfully than you can. Customers will want, not just need, to buy from you, investors will increase their holdings as trust and confidence grows - and in a crisis, you will be given the benefit of the doubt. 12 | 2013 | © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT
    • Volunteered biggest internal obstacles to stakeholder engagementare lack of understanding and buy-in, and lack of resources Two thirds (68%) of communicators(people, budget and time) agree that stakeholder engagement isSeveral factors emerge as internal obstacles to conducting stakeholder important but they feelengagement programmes, most importantly lack of understanding and buy- overwhelmed sometimesin (29%), lack of people and budget (18%), lack of time (15%), and the lack by the amount of timeof a joined-up approach (13%). and resources required to do it. Lack of understanding about the importance of engaging in a timely, consistent and credible way with stakeholders. To many colleagues, stakeholder engagement looks like a PR exercise, which does not deserve time and effort. © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT | 2013 | 13
    • Volunteered biggest external challenges or risks are identifying and prioritising stakeholders, lossof control, and expectation managementWhen asked to volunteer what they consider to be the biggest external challenges or risks to stakeholderengagement, one in ten or more communicators mention: being able to identify who to engage with (12%),loss of control (12%) and expectation management (11%). Dialogue carries risks - people may not always ‘get’ the message or love it… but people will talk about you anyway, so we need to be in there shaping the debate about ourselves and our industry. 14 | 2013 | © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT
    • Prompted biggest potential risks of engagement for their organisationsRespondents were also asked to rate a list of possible risks to their organisation from engagement withnon-traditional stakeholders (i.e., stakeholders other than employees, suppliers, business partners, orcustomers/members). Expectation management emerges as the number one potential risk (cited by 60% ofcommunicators), followed by concerns about reputation damage (45%), waste of time and money (42%), andloss of control (41%).(% who rate each as “significant”) Top Box Not meeting expectations 60% rating of 4 or 5 Reputation damage 45% Q. How significant a potential risk do Waste of time and money 42% you think each of the following is for your Loss of control 41% organisation when Compromised principles or goals 39% conducting stakeholder engagement with Internal tension within your 39% non-traditional organisation stakeholders? [1-5 Criticism or attack 37% scale, where 1 = not at all a risk; 5= extremely Exploitation of your organisation 35% significant risk] (Base=130) Loss of credibility 30% Creates conflicts of interest 30% Dilutes the message your 28% organisation is trying to communicate Slows down the organisation 27% Loss of intellectual property 24% Harm to sales 18%• Communicators in Brussels are more likely than others to see loss of control (65%) and reputation damage (60%) as significant risks• Those in Germany are more likely than others to think criticism or attack (57%) is a significant risk © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT | 2013 | 15
    • Primary responsibility for engagement rests with communications and corporateaffairs organisation’sMore than half of all respondents (55%) say that primary responsibility for coordinating their organisations’stakeholder engagement activities rests with the communications (32%) or corporate affairs (23%) department.A quarter (25%) say that no single department has responsibility.(% who say…) Q. Which department Communications 32% within your Corporate affairs 23% organisation has primary responsibility CEO, Chairman or Organisation Board 9% for coordinating stakeholder CSR/foundation 3% engagement activities? (Base=130) Operational or business unit level head 3% Strategic planning and risk 1% All the above departments/ No single 25% department has responsibility Other 4%Just four in ten (39%) say there is one person in their organisation that has ultimate responsibility for managingtheir organisation’s stakeholder engagement.(% who say…) 7% Q. Is there one person 39% who has ultimate responsibility for Yes managing stakeholder No engagement in your organisation? Dont know/ no answer 55%• Among those that have one person with ultimate responsibility, this person either reports to the most senior person in their organisation (42%) or reports to the most senior person and also sits on the board themselves (40%)• Among those organisations that do not have one person with responsibility, engagement is most often managed by a department or business unit (32%) or the comms/corporate affairs team coordinates engagement (21%) 16 | 2013 | © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT
    • Half measure the effectiveness of their engagementHalf of all communicators (52%) say their organisation measures the effectiveness of their engagement efforts.Only three in ten (29%) measure the effectiveness of their stakeholder engagement with specific KPIs.(% who say…) Dont know, Q. Do you measure 12% the effectiveness of your stakeholder engagement efforts? (Base=130) Yes, 52% No, 37%Among those who measure the effectiveness of their stakeholder engagement efforts formally with KPIs,market and opinion leader research is the most common method of doing so (50%). Nearly half (44%) of communicators agree that they feel pressured by their organisations’ senior leadership to quantify their stakeholder engagement efforts. © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT | 2013 | 17
    • The future of stakeholder engagementImportance of stakeholder engagement expected to increase in the next five yearsWhen asked to rate the importance of stakeholder engagement to the success of their organisation,communicators believe stakeholder engagement is set to become even more important in five years’ time -going from 82% today to 90% in the future.(% who rate each as “important” to organisation success) Q. Please indicate 90% how important you 82% believe stakeholder engagement is to the success of your organisation [1 to 5 scale, where 1 = not at all important; 5 = extremely important] (Base=130) Q. Now looking ahead to the future. How important do you think stakeholder engagement will be in five years’ time to the success of your organisation? [1-5 scale, where 1 = not Now In five years’ time at all important; 5 = Now In five years time extremely important] (Base=130)• There is little change in perceptions for UK and Brussels communicators, around nine in ten respondents in each market rate stakeholder engagement as important both at present and in five years’ time (UK 91% now, 89% future)• However, communicators in Brussels and Germany believe the importance of stakeholder engagement will increase (Brussels 65% now, 90% future; Germany 50% now, 79% future) 18 | 2013 | © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT
    • Quantity of stakeholder engagement expected to increase in the next five yearsNot only will stakeholder engagement be more important, but communicators expect to be doing more of it.Four in five (82%) communicators believe their organisation will be doing more stakeholder engagement infive years’ time.(% who say…) Q. In five years, do you expect your organisation will Less, 1% be doing more, the same amount or less stakeholder More, 82% engagement? Same, 18% (Base=130)• Communicators in Germany (86%) and Brussels (85%) are slightly more likely than those in the UK (77%) to say their organisation will be doing more stakeholder engagement in five years’ time © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT | 2013 | 19
    • Communicators believe traditional stakeholder engagementactivities will remain important but view online activities as Most communicatorsincreasingly influential (87%) agree that social technologies offer newWhen asked to say how important various types of stakeholder relations opportunities to build relationships.or engagement activities will be to their organisation in five years’ time,communicators are increasingly focused on developing a more strategicapproach, mapping and considering their online options within theirstakeholder engagement strategy.There is a sizeable difference between the proportion of respondents whohave a stakeholder engagement strategy now (61%) and those who believe Clearly, developing athat having one will be “important” in five years’ time (85%). Communicators stakeholder engagementalso expect to see substantial increases in the importance of mapping strategy will be astakeholders (79%) and issues (78%). key focus for many organisations in the next five years, asSimilarly, in terms of social media, majorities (73%) think monitoring social three in five (58%)media channels and mapping online influencers (60%) will be important in agree that currentlyfive years’ time. However, while creating online panels to share information their organisation(46%) or blogging (36%) is predicted by some to be important in the future, has a wide variety ofthese percentages are still below half. stakeholder engagement programmes, but no overarching engagement strategy. 20 | 2013 | © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT
    • Activity Q. Currently, which rated as of the following Organisation important Net types of stakeholder is currently in five Difference relations or doing years engagement(Base=130) time Mapping online activities does your 28% 60% +32% organisation do? influencers Creating online panels Please select all that Hot 19% 46% +27% to share information apply. (Base=130) topics Having a stakeholder Q. How important 61% 85% +24% engagement strategy do you expect each Mapping of issues 62% 78% +16% Publishing and sharing of the following thought leadership 52% 65% +13% types of stakeholder work relations or Mapping of engagement 69% 79% +10% stakeholders activities to be to Blogging 30% 36% +6% your organisation Using social media for purposes other than 56% 62% +6% in five years’ time? marketing [1-5 scale, where 1 = Undertaking not at all important; consultation exercises 5 = extremely as you develop 52% 58% +6% important] policies and (Base=130) programmes Long term engagement to create 86% 88% +2% lasting relationships Conducting surveys of stakeholders views 72% 71% -1% and concerns Monitoring social 79% 73% -6% media channels Hosting roundtables 68% 59% -9% or panels Hosting events 80% 62% -18% Monitoring traditional 94% 69% -25% mediaCooling Attending networking 85% 56% -29% topics events Becoming a member of a trade association 87% 56% -31% or industry group © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT | 2013 | 21
    • • Communicators in the UK are particularly likely to say that in five years’ time the following activities will be important: long term engagement to create lasting relationships (91%), conducting surveys of stakeholder’s views and concerns (77%), monitoring social media channels (77%), using social media for non-marketing purposes (70%) and undertaking consultation exercises as they develop policies and programmes (67%)• Communicators in Brussels are particularly likely to say attending networking events (70%), and becoming a member of a trade association or industry group (75%) will be important in five years’ time• Communicators in Germany are particularly likely to say that publishing and sharing thought leadership work (79%) will be important in five years’ time. While two in three (64%) say having a stakeholder engagement strategy will be important 22 | 2013 | © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT
    • If an organisation does it in a structured way with a consistent strategy, and relationship-management, then not much will fundamentally change. The channels to reach key constituencieswill change, with a growing focus on social media, but even here this should never usurp strongface-to-face engagement where trust and mutual respect are best fostered. Volunteered: Future engagement expected to use more social media and online, to complement on-going face-to face interaction Communicators volunteer a range of suggestions as to how stakeholder engagement will look in the future, with social media and online (34%) and face-to-face engagement (15%) considered to be the most effective ways to engage with stakeholders in the future. (% who describe it as…) Q. In a sentence or two, Social media / online 34% what do you think the Face-to-face will remain key / become future of stakeholder 15% increasingly important engagement will look More transparency / honesty 8% like? What will be the most effective Building personal relationships will remain key 7% ways to engage with Similar to present / current principles will stakeholders in the 7% remain future? (Base=130) Coordinated / aligned across organisation 6% Broader engagement across organisation - 6% beyond CEO / comms team More monitoring / measurement / 4% assessment More engagement with non-traditional 4% stakeholders Joining focus to solve problems for mutual 4% benefits More central to companies activities 3% More long term engagement 2% More time / resources invested in stakeholder 2% engagement More direct contact 2% More regular / active communications 2% Dedicated departments / specialists / skilled 2% individuals Other 14% © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT | 2013 | 23
    • The best way to engage with stakeholders is to build long- term relationships and be open and honest, even in the difficult times.Prompted: In-person meetings the most effective way to communicate with non-traditionalstakeholders in five years’ timeWhen asked to rate several channels of communication in terms of how effective they would be with non-traditional stakeholders in five years’ time, respondents rate in-person meetings (75%), web-based collaborationtools / applications (43%) and working groups (36%) as most likely to be effective. This suggests that a mix ofcommunication channels will be necessary, but that face-to-face communications will remain the best way tobuild trust and mutual respect with non-traditional stakeholders.(% who rate each as “most effective”) Q. Which of the In-person meetings 75% following do you Web-based collaboration think will be the 43% tools / applications most effective ways Working groups 36% to communicate with non-traditional Website 26% stakeholders in five Trade or industry years’ time? Please 25% select up to three. association (Base=130, multiple Blogs 22% responses allowed) Conference speaker 20% opportunities E-mail 12% Panels 9% Videoconferencing 6% Conference calls (voice 3% only) Mobile text messaging 3% Two thirds (68%) say developing alliances with non-traditional stakeholders will be key to successful programmes and policies in the future. 24 | 2013 | © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT
    • Blueprint for success: What does it take tobuild a successful programme?Developing a successful stakeholder engagement programme and achieving your organisation’s objectivesinvolves putting in place several elements, some of which will likely require collaboration with internalstakeholders, as they may be outside the control of the communications team.Factors that are considered most important to success for programmesCommunicators say the most important factors for creating a successful stakeholder engagement programmeare trust (95%), commitment from the top of the organisation (93%) and mutual respect (92%). Nearly asimportant are alignment with organisation’s long-term goals (88%), transparency (86%), and long-termfocus (84%).(% who rate each as “important” to success) Trust 95% Q. Thinking now about creating Commitment from most senior 93% successful stakeholder people in the organisation engagement programs. Mutual respect 92% How important are Ensuring the program aligns with each of the following 88% for a stakeholder your organisation’s long-term goals engagement program Transparency 86% to be successful? [1-5 Long term focus 84% scale, where 1 = not at all important; 5 = Identifying areas of mutual interest 80% extremely important] Being clear about what success looks (Base=130) 79% like Personal relationships 71% Identifying and avoiding possible 65% conflicts of interest Shared values 60% Increased credibility from working 58% with others Building alliances with non-traditional 44% stakeholders Focus on social purpose 37% © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT | 2013 | 25
    • • Communicators in Brussels are more likely than others to say transparency (95%) and shared values (80%) are important Almost all communicators• Interestingly, while communicators in Germany are more likely than agree companies others to say identifying and avoiding possible conflicts of interest is that acknowledge the important (79%), they are less likely than others to say identifying areas link between their stakeholder engagement of mutual interest is important (57%) and core business goals are more likely to be seen as honest and credible (99%) and that success requires long-term commitment (98%). Four in five (80%) communicators agree that senior management at their organisation understand and appreciate the value of stakeholder engagement. 26 | 2013 | © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT
    • Factors considered most important to success for programmes now will be equally important inthe future.Communicators tend to rate the factors for creating a successful stakeholder engagement programme atpresent as similarly important in five years’ time. While there are slight differences in the order of importance,the top six factors remain unchanged: commitment from the top of the organisation (97%), trust (95%),alignment with the organisation’s long-term goals (92%), long-term focus (91%), transparency (90%) and mutualrespect (87%).(% who rate each as “important” to success) 95% Q. Thinking now Trust 95% about creating Commitment from most senior people in the 93% successful stakeholder organisation 97% engagement programs. 92% How important are Mutual respect 87% each of the following Ensuring the program aligns with your 88% organisation’s long-term goals 92% for a stakeholder 86% engagement program Transparency to be successful? [1-5 90% 84% scale, where 1 = not Long term focus 91% at all important; 5 = Identifying areas of mutual interest 80% extremely important] 74% (Base=130) Being clear about what success looks like 79% 85% Q. How important will 71% each of the following Personal relationships 75% be for a stakeholder Identifying and avoiding possible conflicts of 65% engagement interest 59% programme to be Shared values 60% successful in the future, 65% say in five years’ time? Increased credibility from working with others 58% 79% [1-5 scale, where 1 = Building alliances with non-traditional 44% not at all important; 5 stakeholders 55% = extremely important] Focus on social purpose 37% (Base=130) 57% Now In five years• Communicators in Brussels are more likely than others to say mutual respect (100%), identifying areas of mutual interest (80%), identifying and avoiding possible conflicts of interest (70%) and building alliances with non-traditional stakeholders (65%) will be important in five years’ time• Communicators in Germany are less likely than others to say transparency (79%), mutual respect (71%), shared values (50%) and a focus on social purpose (36%) will be important in five years’ time © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT | 2013 | 27
    • ImplicationsThe results of this survey demonstrate that communicators believe stakeholder engagement is important tothe success of their organisation, and will only grow in importance in the future.As organisations contemplate engagement with non-traditional stakeholders, several important implicationsemerge from the research that should guide thinking and behaviour:1. Internal understanding and buy-in are a prerequisite to success. They exist but, as we see, even greater understanding and buy-in across and down the organisation are needed if programmes are to be as effective as possible2. Alignment with the organisation’s long-term goals is an important element of this buy-in process, and requires greater integration with the overall business strategy. Senior communicators will need to ensure they are part of the process of setting their organisation’s strategic compass3. Short-term, ad hoc engagement is likely to be less effective than a long-term, strategic approach. A strategic, joined-up approach will enable organisations to engage in the most effective ways, both in terms of time and budget. Such an approach will involve a clear engagement plan for each stakeholder group, and the ability and flexibility to use traditional and new modes of engagement as required4. The sheer amount of time and effort needed for engagement activities is likely to increase significantly. Communicators will need to lobby for additional resources to cope with the growing internal pressure for results and external expectations for sustained engagement5. Managing the expectations of non-traditional stakeholders will be key to creating programmes that deliver on objectives. As we see, establishing trust and respect, as well as being transparent about where the organisation’s and stakeholders’ interests converge and diverge, will be critical to keeping expectations in check6. Measurement is a useful way to demonstrate effectiveness and justify increased focus and budget. Communicators need to establish realistic, outcome-focussed KPIs for their programmes and track them over time7. As part of future best practice, we are likely to see a blending of traditional and new approaches. We can expect greater integration between online and traditional activities, and a combination of channels being used to engage successfully with stakeholders. While online activities will increase in importance, face to face interaction will remain vital to forging the close relationships based on trust and respect required for successWhat will successful engagement look like in the future? As we have seen, on the surface, in many respectsit will be similar to what it is today. But digging deeper, we uncover a number of implications related toengaging with non-traditional stakeholders that will require significant changes from communicators inapproach, tools and techniques. Communicators who factor these implications into the development of theirengagement blueprint, and then follow through with sustained programmes, can expect to be more successfulat achieving their organisation’s objectives, as well as to grow the influence of their function within theirrespective organisations. 28 | 2013 | © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT
    • About the studyMethodologyThe research was conducted by Brunswick Insight, the opinion research practice of Brunswick Group, acorporate communications consultancy. Brunswick Insight conducted an online survey of 130 European seniorcommunications professionals between 30th August and 23rd October 2012 to understand their views andpractices in the area of stakeholder engagement. Interviews were conducted online in English and respondentswork in a wide range of industries and sectors in Europe.Survey participants were drawn from several sources, including our own and publicly available databases, aswell as members of the European Association of Communications Directors. Most respondents were fromcompanies, but a sizeable number of associations, government organisations, NGOs and other organisationsalso took part. Qualitative research in the form of 8 in-depth interviews with senior corporate, association andNGO communicators preceded the quantitative phase and was used to design the survey instrument.Note: Percentages may not total 100%, due to rounding or multiple responses. © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT | 2013 | 29
    • Demographics Type of company Job title Listed company Head of 69% 18% Communications Private company 14% Director of 17% Industry association or Communications 6% trade body Public Affairs Director 12% Governmental organisation 5% Communications Non-profit organisation 3% 11% Manager Other 3% Global Communications 8% Director Years in role Head/ Director/ 6% Manager of IR Less than 1 15% Communications 1 – 3 years 5% 39% Director 4 – 5 years Head of Public 22% 3% Relations 6 – 10 years 19% Other 20% 11 – 15 years 4% Participant sector 16 – 20 years 2% Gender Finance 12% Male 55% Healthcare 10% Female 45% Industrial Goods 10% Country Professional & Support United Kingdom 9% 49% Services Brussels/Belgium 15% Telecoms & Technology 9% Germany 11% Food and Beverage 8% France 3% Energy & Resources 8% Italy 2% Austria 2% Consumer Goods 5% Luxembourg 2% Transport & Logistics 4% Netherlands 2% Construction & Building 3% Materials Sweden 2% Other 22% Other 13%30 | 2013 | © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT
    • About Brunswick InsightBrunswick Insight operates globally with colleagues located in the Americas, Asia and Europe. We specialisein assessing global business issues and corporate reputation. Brunswick Insight uses a range of qualitativeand quantitative research techniques to help companies and organisations inform and measure theircommunications and policy strategies. We work across a broad spectrum of sectors, geographies, languagesand mandates and offer a wide range of services, from stakeholder and issue mapping through to opinionpolling and focus groups.If you have questions or would like more information about the research please contact Phil Riggins atBrunswick Insight on 0207 396 3564 or at priggins@brunswickgroup.com. © BRUNSWICK INSIGHT | 2013 | 31