We develop and run programmes to identify and build relationships with key stakeholders, ranging from employees and investors to regulators, media and policymakers. We base our activities on a thorough understanding of what our clients are seeking to achieve and on which stakeholders can have an impact, both positively and negatively, on securing a positive outcome. We hold strong relationships in most core stakeholder groups and, where necessary, bring in outside experts to supplement our knowledge.
Historical perceptions of a fast-growing Central African country marred contemporary relations with Western governments, particularly the UK Government and businesses.
We worked with the government, via its London embassy, to begin to reset UK stakeholders’ views of the country. DRD regularly worked with in-country officials to better understand where evidence-based progress has been made, particularly in the areas of human rights, health and the investment climate, and communicated this progress to UK political, business and activist stakeholders through one-to-one meetings, written reports and targeted media relations.
While it can, of course, take decades to reverse institutionalised misperceptions, we have helped the government take a significant step forward – from securing high-level meetings with ministers and MPs that they would not historically have been given the opportunity to undertake, to potential educational partnerships with top UK universities in the pipeline, the country is well on its way towards greater recognition of its excellent progress and growth.
Following some challenging media coverage, a client was invited to participate in a high-profile select committee hearing to provide evidence. It was likely that this meeting would generate more negative media headlines, and that these would further anger the regulator who was undertaking a ‘without-fault’ investigation and did not want the circumstances of the complaint being investigated played out in such a public forum.
Attendance at the select committee, while optional, was vital to the client’s ongoing business. It was agreed that a full and frank approach to the committee hearing would be core to the client’s ability to preserve value and operate in the future with Her Majesty’s Government in support. Strategically, the Board needed to mitigate the risks of participation. DRD Partnership was invited to help the leadership team prepare for the committee hearing – undertaking the development of a detailed Q&A, preparing data-rich fact sheets, and rehearsing with participants in preparation for a range of enquiry angles, while also providing strategic guidance on media and stakeholder handling which needed to be thoroughly prepared in advance of the hearing and achieved during it.
The attendance was well received. The media focused on some new and important data brought to the committee by the client (and not the old stories), and the regulator was kept informed throughout the day and subsequently so that there was no risk of an information vacuum amongst its case officers.