Stakeholder engagement is often an integral piece in a much broader marketing and communications puzzle, helping to generate deeper understanding of projects, processes and policies.
Likewise, ESG is increasingly an essential component of a wider corporate strategy, as BBS explored recently in the launch edition of our CommsWatch report series.
As ESG moves beyond the domain of investor relations and governance and into more mainstream corporate significance, drawing on inclusivity and diversity of skills across an organisation can help deliver more meaningful and compelling insights on the work being done and expand the reach of this message.
Ever the innovator, Apple recently premiered its 2023 Status Mother Nature video – featuring CEO Tim Cook and award-winning actress Octavia Spencer – as part of its recent iPhone 15 event. The ESG-focused report on Apple’s journey toward carbon neutrality has received mixed reviews online, however the fact it has already notched up more than 4.3 million views on YouTube alone demonstrates the sizeable audience it has already reached in telling its ESG story thus far.
For those organisations looking to enhance their own ESG strategy and reporting process, applying some of the key fundamentals of stakeholder engagement can be beneficial:
Stakeholder identification and level of engagement
In any engagement project, one of the very first steps involves determining which stakeholders will be impacted, and to what extent. Further interrogating your initial assumptions and conducting more in-depth research into specific groups or individuals helps to refine the engagement approach and deliver a more targeted and relevant strategy.
Likewise, when it comes to visioning, delivering, reporting and communicating your organisation’s ESG efforts, it’s important to identify each of the internal and external stakeholders that will play a role. You must define the ways each person or group will contribute along each step and in potential collaboration, drawing on complementary knowledge and skill sets to help drive accuracy, transparency and innovation.
Stakeholder engagement is most effective when there is collective clarity around the purpose of what is to ultimately be achieved, and the proactive embodiment of this purpose from all levels involved.
For those taking a leading role in driving a corporate ESG strategy, it’s important to define and agree the overarching purpose of such and to communicate this early, often and broadly to help foster buy-in from the executive level and throughout the organisation.
Regular reminders of this shared purpose – so that it guides all activities – will help the entire team to stay on track, assess the journey so far and move towards achievement.
Dependant on the specific project or topic, stakeholder engagement can involve communicating with very broad and diverse groups of people and entities, taking into consideration factors like language and physical accessibility to differing forms of technological and communication channels.
ESG reporting and communications often requires the translation of technical and complex information into messaging and visual representation for various audiences, from regulators with strict governance protocols to the general public more broadly.
Communicating effectively also means doing so in ways which are compelling and understood by those you are trying to reach. Tailoring your communications for each audience – and developing entertaining new ways to draw your audiences in – can help to spread your ESG achievements more widely.
BBS is recognised as one of Australia’s leading stakeholder engagement providers, working with a diverse range of public and private-sector organisations. To speak with our stakeholder engagement and communication experts, please feel free to contact us.