Issues management best practice approach for effective corporate pr


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Issues management best practice approach for effective corporate pr

  1. 1. Issues Management: Best Practice Approach for Effective Corporate PR Bisi Olawuyi, PhD Research and Strategy Unit The Quadrant Company, Nigeria
  2. 2. “An issue ignored is crisis ensured.” (Regester and Larkin, 2008)
  3. 3. Less action- oriented and more anticipatory Proactive Issues management Needed after public outrage Reactive Crisis management
  4. 4. Issues Management: An Overview Shifts in public values, rising expectations, demands for public consultation and intrusive media present greater challenges Handling of issues can mean the difference between a crisis out of control and proactive solution—between profit and loss Howard Chase coined the term, Issues Management in 1977 as a corporate shift from information base to advocacy position Important strategic factor in reputational and financial performance
  5. 5. Issues Management: Conceptual Definition Managing “corporate response to changes in operational environment” (Cutlip et al. 1985). “a gap between corporate practice and stakeholder expectation” (Regester and Larkin, 2002) “the process of identifying issues, analysing those issues, setting priorities, selecting programme strategy options, implementing a programme of action and evaluating effectiveness.” (Cutlip et al. 1985)
  6. 6. Issues Management: Conceptual Definition (Cont) Issues management is the practice of working socio- political issues for the advantage of an organisation. Encompasses lobbying and wider communication tools of a campaigner, but also focuses in at the organisation itself to understand what may need to change internally as well as seeking to influence the external world (Simon Bryceson)
  7. 7. • Slow burn, with a potential for crisis • Things to watch that can affect the industry • There is still an opportunity to influence and manage it Issue management is understood and interpreted as follows:
  8. 8. Managing issues involves dealing with change. Its ultimate goal is to shape public policy to the benefit of the organisation through: Early identification of the potential impact of the change Organised activity based on sound management principles and techniques, and allowing time for analysis and creative thinking to influence the evolution and, ultimately, the outcome of that change
  9. 9. Issues Life Cycle Emergence • Identification of trends by expert • Lines become drawn and conflict emerges Dissemination • Intense pressure • Media coverage Establishment • Groups seek resolution • Pressure on involvement of regulatory organs Erosion • Legislation and regulation • Unconditional acceptance by organisation
  10. 10. Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4 Emergence Dissemination Establishment Erosion The issue Spreads into is well known, its relevance Is other areas becomes declines generated generalised Figure 1: The Issues Life Cycle
  11. 11. Functions of Issues Management • Smart planning and operations Critical changes in the public policy environment are integrated into the strategic business plan and corporate management strategies • Tough defence and smart offence – Involvement of companies before issues solidify in order to enhance successful campaign • Getting the house in order – Examining the requirements to achieve appropriate commitments to matters of CSR • Scouting the terrain – The use of social scientific techniques to offer valuable insights into the way issues can be identified, monitored and analysed
  12. 12. • Makes it possible for organisations to shape government policy on issues which affect them, rather than just to adapt to policy changes. The interactive corporation tries to get a reasonably accurate agenda of public issues that it should be concerned with ...and develops constructive approaches to these issues (Bucholz, quoted in Grunig and Hunt, 1984, pg. 296) Public Issues Management
  13. 13. Issue Management Techniques Lobbying Direct attempts to influence legislative and regulatory decisions in government Public Affairs Specialised public relations effort designed to build and maintain community and government relations
  14. 14. Types of Lobbying Defensive designed to abolish or amend an existing law, or offensive, aimed at pushing the authorities to create a law. Offensive aimed at pushing the authorities to create a law
  15. 15. Factors for Successful Lobbying Access to decision makers Background research Good timing Communication skills Knowledge of government procedure Public interest Support of opinion leaders Effective targeting Favourable media coverage Knowledge of government structure
  16. 16. Lobbying: A Caveat Every hour spent on research and monitoring is worth ten on lobbying (Charles Miller). The later a campaign begins, the fewer choices are open (AlisonTheaker,)
  17. 17. Benefits of Effective Issues Management Techniques Increase in market share Enhance corporate reputation Save money Build important relationships Protect business continuity Mitigate risk and associated regulatory impact
  18. 18. Pressure Groups and Issues “Emotion has a place in public policy debate but if it becomes a substitute for rational consideration, we are in very deep trouble indeed. The end does not justify the means, even where the end is the saving of the world.” (
  19. 19. Best Practice Approach • Two-communication to learn the consequences of what they are doing on all of their relevant publics Listening to all strategic constituencies • Two-way communication to tell the publics about the organisation is doing about negative consequences Talking with all strategic constituencies • Continuous effort at communicating with activists are necessary to contend with their shifting stances Continuous communication with activists • Acknowledgement of all constituent groups regardless of size Acknowledging the legitimacy of all constituencies • Engaging competent and skilful personsExpertise of the communicator • Effectiveness measured more than in short-term gains or losses Evaluating effectiveness in the long run • Monitor environment and interact with dominant coalition internally Public relations in the dominant coalition
  20. 20. TQC and IM: Raising the Game Help clients to understand the nature of an issue, the actors involved and which combination of politics / media / pressure groups / public opinion is the critical driving force Work with clients to develop both business strategies and communications strategies Help the client reach internal alignment Work with the client team on implementation
  21. 21. Case Study • long-and-thanks-for-all-the-fish/