Thursday, 3 December 2009

Is it possible to keep everyone happy?

The local community are a stakeholder group that can sometimes get forgotten, however one that holds a lot of power over organisations and should not be underestimated. This year’s CIPR PRide award for best practice in Community Relations, for the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire area, went to Finn Communications. They were hired by Yorkshire Bank, an organisation that recognised the importance of their local community.

When the Credit Crunch hit in 2008, banks began to get a really bad showing in the media. The reputation of the banking industry was decreasing rapidly but Yorkshire Bank saw this as an opportunity to stand out from its competitors by going back to its routes and focusing the local community.

The campaign Finn put together exceeded all expectations set in the objectives and reached out to the community, offering people opportunities that may not have been available to them, such as opera and playing professional cricket. CIPR commented on the campaign,

“A PR and Communications initiative that successfully dealt with community issues, achieving mutual benefit.” CIPR.

Best Practice PR is all about achieving mutual benefit between an organisation and its stakeholders. This is exactly what Finn demonstrated, by upholding Yorkshire Banks reputation and helping many members of the community.

This campaign was focused on the local community alone, so what about the rest of the stakeholder groups? An issue that organisations face daily is how to please all the stakeholders at the same time. Even Santa Claus, bearer of joy and happiness, must upset mums when he leaves muddy footprints as he sneaks across the lounge carpet to get carrots for his staff (reindeers!).

So how do organisations choose who the most important stakeholder is? Should they direct most of their efforts towards the investors, they are giving them their money after all? Or should they try to keep the media sweet to gain good publicity? Is it the customers, who should be the most important, or perhaps the suppliers or staff?

Who do you think organisations should value the most? Or should it be a healthy balance?

Let me know your thoughts!