American author Henry Van Dyke once said, "Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse."
Thanksgiving Day is about taking the time to express gratitude that is felt throughout the year. But for corporations and PR agencies, thanking stakeholders one day a year just won't cut it.
Ethics and corporate social responsibility are hot topics in the PR industry today. But what are companies actually doing to give thanks to customers? What will we be expected to do once we get out in the workforce?
PR consultant for Cutting Edge PR Kim Harrison wrote an article titled "Use stewardship to safeguard relationships with your long-term stakeholders."
To develop a comprehensive stewardship plan, Harrison recommends grouping stakeholders based on the potential help or threat they pose to the organization. Then select communications methods to best the group, issue and angle at hand.
Communication techniques Harrison recommends to develop relationships with stakeholders include:
* face-to-face meetings, briefings and telephone contact
* newsletters and background information targeted at specific stakeholder groups
* email information updates
* privileged access to Web information, i.e. on extranets
* invitations to attend events such product launches; boardroom lunches; industry functions including VIP dinners and presentations, exhibitions, displays, sponsored events, charity activities
* corporate hospitality activities such as corporate boxes at sporting and arts events
* privilege offers to cardholders and members of groups
* online activities
As you interview and begin work for jobs or internships, you should constantly keep in mind how you can use your program or campaign to give back to stakeholders and show your gratitude. Not all stewardship efforts have to spend terrific amounts of money. Some ideas might even be free.
This video from McDonald's shows how the sixth most valuable brand in the world strives to overcome negative allegations against it and is now using corporate social responsibility to address such issues as animal cruelty, childhood obesity and energy reductions.
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