Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The difference between and public relations and stakeholder communication

Over at Jay Rosen’s Press Think Anna Haynes pointed to Peter Sandman’s columns on risk communication and specifically to Stakeholders vs. Publics:

Both public relations and stakeholder relations are important tasks. One of the problems in risk communication is that they call for radically different skills and strategies, yet they must often be done simultaneously. ...

In a controversy, it is usually wisest to pay more attention to stakeholders, even at the expense of a less-than-ideal approach to publics. It is important to apologize to stakeholders for a screw-up they know all about, for example, even though this may mean that millions of others who didn’t know find out.

... Managing [a] controversy well means addressing it honestly and respectfully. [In contrast,] Selling the product well means ignoring the controversy if you can ... and if that won’t work, then it means sticking to a one-sided self-serving sound bite. Once again, stakeholder relations and public relations are in conflict.

... The alternative to good outrage management early on is likely to be unmanageable outrage later.

Excellent points and ones to keep in mind.

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