Monday, April 19, 2010

Effect of Recession on Relationships between Organizations and Stakeholders

The last time I reviewed the tracking data on my website, I found one person had reached it searching this question: What effect has the recession had on relationships between organizations and their stakeholders?

Unfortunately, my site disappointed this web searcher, and I'd like to correct that here.
Though I have theories about this, I don't know the answer. So, I asked the question on Linkedin and got some great responses.

Two themes emerge:
  1. The importance of the basic brand and reputation assets
  2. The importance of stakeholders
Brand and Reputation Assets
Don Stacks, professor of public relations at University of Miami and my colleague on IPR's Commission on PR Measurement and Evaluation wrote:
Public relations now has the task of establishing CONFIDENCE in an organization ... . The recession showed flaws in advertising and marketing, which operate through paid placement and not the third party endorsement of opinion leaders. Hence, due to the recession, PR has a new tool in its toolbox and a new message strategy that can increase or decrease stakeholder perceptions of an organization's credibility, relationships, reputation, and trust.
Christine Nelson, Communications/PR Consultant at Ingenuity Marketing Group, St. Paul, added:
We've had to remind ourselves that it's not just about how smart we are or how good our products are, but also if our stakeholders trust us and think highly of us. Reputation and integrity will continue to be critical as consumers control the market.
The Importance of Stakeholders
Mark R. Phillips, APR, v
ice president, corporate communications for the USO and another IPR Commission colleague commented:
As our donors' and volunteers' personal and corporate resources got tighter during the recession, we assumed they would appreciate knowing exactly how their contributions were helping. This necessitates increased transparency and clear, ongoing communication, which we have tried to provide.
Christine Nelson wrote along similar lines:
Commercial organizations are paying greater attention to loyal and longtime external stakeholders, because the recession has painfully reminded them of who pays their bills. Competition is coming from organizations larger and smaller, and there is no guarantee of when new business will come in the door.
We have to return to the basics of: increased and prompt communication to ensure customer satisfaction ... .
I'm sure the recession has had many more effects on relationships between organizations and their stakeholders than we see here. So, please feel free to add to the discussion by commenting.