Your stakeholders need not just be passive recipients of your PR efforts. They can join in and be part of what's happening. In reality, the greater the involvement of stakeholders, the greater their feelings of ownership and loyalty toward you and the project.
Finding something that people can buy into is an important aspect of PR. If people can see that there is something in it for them- some gain they can obtain-this makes things a great deal simpler. Getting a lot of stakeholders, all with various agendas, to pull in more or less exactly the same path is another challenge that PR individuals need to face on a normal basis.
The town of Belmont, Western Australia, is actually a dormitory suburb of Perth. Belmont is about 4 miles from downtown Perth, easy commuting distance: the main airport is at Belmont, and also the town is located on a bend in the river (a major asset in bonedry Western Australia). It's also near the ocean and (thanks to the airport) has the very best public transport infrastructure in the region. It has a low crime rate, good local schools and shopping, and some excellent parks.
Unfortunately, though, being close to the airport means that much of the town is given more than to warehouses and industrial parks. Belmont had a reputation for being dull, industrial, and characterized by low home prices. The town council therefore hired a PR consultancy to revive the image of the town and attract inward investment-something of a challenge, since even the individuals who lived there had a low opinion of the town.
JMG, the consultants concerned, decided to create a strong brand image for Belmont as the "City of Chance." The logo for this was designed to fit alongside the council's crest on the letterheads, and also on the letterheads of local businesses. Using this single brand, JMG coordinated the nearby businesses' marketing. A loyalty card for residents was issued, offering discounts along with other benefits if they shopped locally: this not only increased business for nearby firms, but also helped to foster a sense of community.
Local businesses had been offered free marketing consultancy, and key stakeholders (local estate agents, developers, investors, shopping centers, community groups, and government agencies) had been targeted specifically to get them on board. The City of Opportunity logo appeared in the windows of businesses, on business cards, and on letterheads.
The outcome was an investment influx of A$150 million in the first 3 years of the scheme, a reversal of the population decline, and a sharp rise in house values (well ahead of anyplace else in Western Australia). Major firms such as Nestlé have established themselves in Belmont, and civic pride has returned to the town. Think about the agendas of the stakeholders you want to involve. Find the typical ground-in this case, the City of Opportunity slogan. Consult stakeholders-don't attempt to dictate.
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Note: This article was sent to us by: Jeff Brown at 01242011
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