Decoding Your Social Impact Company’s Key Stakeholders

4 min read

With more social enterprises emerging all the time and more existing organizations shifting to a mission-centric approach, consumers increasingly expect the companies they interact with to stand behind the causes they believe in. In fact, a recent study found that 33 percent of consumers prefer sustainable brands when given the choice, and similar data has emerged about consumer preferences for socially impactful brands. Your job is to get your brand in front of these individuals — your key stakeholders — and help them understand the good work you’re doing.

But, it’s not enough to simply identify these people and launch a marketing campaign. For your efforts to succeed, your organization needs customized messaging for each of your key stakeholders.

For your #socent to succeed, you need customized messaging for each of your stakeholders. Click To Tweet

As an example, consider your messaging to your customers versus your investors. Both of these individuals have a stake in your organization, but the types of messaging they are most likely to respond to are very different. While your customer might care about the ongoing service and support they will receive, an investor wants to know about the return they can expect from supporting your business.

Stakeholder profiles — personified descriptions of those who play a key role in the success of your organization — can guide your messaging and allow you to win the hearts and minds of the very people who are most likely to impact your business.

So how do you develop your organization’s key stakeholder profiles and why are they important?

Defining your key stakeholders

As we discussed in a previous post, stakeholder analyses can help you identify your company’s key stakeholders; assess their interests, needs and expectations and the ways they impact your organization; and help you prioritize how you’ll manage your relationship with each one of them. When developing your key stakeholder profiles:

First, identify who your key stakeholders are. Each organization is different, but examples may include:

  • Customers
  • Business partners
  • Board members
  • Partner brands
  • Investors
  • People who refer you business

Once you’ve identified your most important stakeholders, rank them in order of importance. This gives you insight into where to start your marketing efforts. You can also download and use our stakeholder profile worksheets, which includes an editable table like this one.

key stakeholders scoring chart

Then, conduct secondary research through outlets like trade magazines, industry studies and other data sources. Another way to get qualitative data is to assess LinkedIn profiles, job descriptions and other social profiles. Next, if possible, conduct primary research: surveys, roundtables, small group discussions and interviews with existing stakeholders and those who interact with them most, including your company’s leadership and sales teams.

While your key stakeholders should not be based on specific individuals, they can draw heavily from the specific details you gather in these conversations. Through your discussions, explore the answer to questions such as:

  • What are this individual’s interests, needs, challenges, expectations and goals?
  • What might a typical day look like for them?
  • Where do they find their information?

Building your key stakeholder profiles

Use the insights gathered through your research to build personified descriptions of your key stakeholders. Each stakeholder should have a name, occupation and backstory. It’s important to address what your organization can offer them, as well as the obstacles that may prevent them from choosing your product or service.

Your profile should describe someone who could really interact with your brand. Here is an example:

key stakeholder profile sample

Putting your key stakeholder insights into practice

Your key stakeholder profiles should be central to your overall marketing strategy. Getting to know your stakeholders will allow you to walk in their shoes and truly understand what drives them to make the decision to buy from or work with your social enterprise. You should use them every time you prepare any kind of stakeholder communications, written, spoken or otherwise, and use them to inform every aspect of your marketing.

Your key stakeholder profiles should be central to your overall marketing strategy. Click To Tweet

At Prosper Strategies, we use stakeholder profiles as the basis for building key messages that we segment by stakeholder audience. These key messages incorporate your organization’s brand strength analysis, which we conduct in the Discover phase of our 4-D Process to get a preliminary sense of what others think about your brand. We identify four or five strengths and put together unique key messages that are likely to resonate with each stakeholder.

Knowing your stakeholders will help you build targeted marketing messages and, ultimately, boost your organization’s impact. Download our stakeholder development worksheets to help you prioritize your stakeholders and craft your donor profiles.

stakeholder worksheets coverNeed help developing stakeholder profiles for your organization? 

Download our free worksheets to get started prioritizing your key stakeholders and drafting profiles to help you most effectively speak to each.

stakeholder worksheet button

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