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A digital approach to stakeholder engagement

Over the past decade, the way we communicate has changed to adapt to the advancements of technology and the digital era.  

Previously, stakeholder practitioners relied on traditional methods of hard copy collateral and face-to-face meetings; however, with the introduction of digital methods, practitioners are encouraged to consider innovation in their engagement.  

Timeliness 

A digital approach to stakeholder engagement opens the opportunity of multi-channel and cross-channel methods. With artificial intelligence (AI) systems, stakeholders’ digital interactions and activities can be tracked to determine stakeholder’s preferences and predictive behaviours.  

The analytics provided by AI can assist in personalising concise communications aligned to the individual and grouped stakeholder. Establishing a positive reputation through genuine interaction can provide value to specific and overarching engagement strategies 

Transparency  

Implementing a digital stakeholder engagement strategy allows for more transparent and authentic stakeholder engagement. Using an online collaboration platform to engage stakeholders means there is a full audit trail of all activity. You can easily publish documents and responses for any audience of stakeholders.

Tools  

Digital tools see practitioners continuing to engage in an authentic manner whilst remaining in remote locations.

Some tools can include:  

  • Online surveys. Capturing a stakeholder’s reaction instantly can identify issues, objections and support for the project.
  • Engagement apps. Practitioners can use apps to provide brief and concise information to those who are time poor. The live data gathered can assist in shaping messaging across various platforms and communications for the one project.
  • Gamification. By using game-thinking and game mechanics, practitioners can provide an entertaining way to encourage community participation. The exploration of scenarios and different perspectives; stakeholders can solve problems easily.

Increased digitalisation doesn’t mean that the fundamentals of stakeholder engagement change. Stakeholder engagement is and always has been about people. So, with that in mind, remember that genuine human interaction will always be important. Body language, emotion and cultural aspects will still need to be considered. A blended approach of digital and traditional methods will usually allow a practitioner to reach the broadest range of community members.

Cannings Purple’s team of leading community relations and stakeholder engagement professionals has a depth and breadth of skills unsurpassed in local markets. If you need help implementing a digital engagement strategy, contact us here.

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