Effective collaboration with diverse stakeholders: lessons learned
This is the final article in a three-part series from our NFP Council on the importance of collaboration in organizations with diverse stakeholders.
Part 1 and Part 2 of this series shared the unique journeys of the CNE and APTN as they established strong collaborative relationships with key stakeholders from diverse communities. This blog uncovers the important lessons learned from these case studies, that Canadian marketers should be mindful of.
It’s all about connection
The foundational element of customer engagement is collaboration, and the complexities of impactful relationship management to ensure effective communication across a range of stakeholders are endless. Yet, at the heart of these challenges is an interest for human connections, to know and understand each other, and to move in a direction that encourages sincerity, openness and partnership.
For both organizations – the CNE and APTN – the key to success was establishing genuine connections with target audiences, including brand owners and brand users.
It’s a journey of exploration
Collaboration with diverse stakeholders is a journey. It is not a prescriptive task, but rather an exploration of common objectives.
As part of this journey, organizations should share their goals with stakeholders and let that be their beacon for feedback. It’s important that they be prepared to hear feedback that may not align with their expectations. They must also be flexible in order to adapt and find new solutions. But most of all, organizations must reach out and ask for input as this process in and of itself creates consensus.
Here are some key learnings:
- Allow tradition to guide you, but not blind you.
- Learn from others, but make the learnings your own.
- “Nothing about us, without us” must permeate your consciousness.
- Seek out and be open to hearing dissenting opinions which challenge your perspective.
- Communication is a journey, not a destination.
- Times change, and so do customer needs.
- Don’t allow technology to prevent you from listening.
It is people, not brands that communicate. Sharing, listening and being open in this process is crucial. Effective collaboration among diverse stakeholders is not only possible; it is paramount.
John Peco, Chair, School of Marketing, George Brown College – Centre for Business
Carolin Taubensee, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, APTN