Nakul Ghai
Guest Article

D3 Strategy can never work well in dialogue and communications with stakeholders

The author explains how being proactive can help a brand navigate rough waters.

How many times has it happened that you have encountered a tough situation and the first thought that comes to your mind is running away?

Quite a lot of times, right?

Well, that means no harm. This is simply how human psychology works.

As soon as things or situations start becoming difficult, one tends to feel like evading. Consider yourself fortunate if you have successfully managed to do so, at any given point in time. Because on the contrary, if you happen to speak to any of your friends or acquaintances working in the PR & Communications industry, the answer is most likely to be a big ‘NO’.

In a profession like PR & Communications, there is meant to be no escape from a meaningful dialogue or communications with the respective stakeholders. That is rather considered as the most critical and crucial function of the job domain. When you enter into the communications industry, you sign up for it. You sign up for humongous challenges, the most arbitrary crises, the most rigorous working conditions, and the most exigent industry.

Brand communications necessitate a very informed, cautious, and alert approach in regard to dealing with a gamut of stakeholders. Prima facie, it looks like communications is the simplest of the tasks but in practice, it involves a concoction of art and science, in equal measures. The former is subjective, and the latter is objective, and it is the meaningful blend of objectivity and subjectivity that makes brand communications effective and worthwhile.

The D3 strategy- Dodging, Denial, and Digression can never serve or solve any purpose for a brand. Brands are expected to be pro-active, forthcoming, and straightforward by their audiences, shareholders, investors, and employees alike. One does not like when there exists a difference between a brand’s internal or external rhetoric and the reality.

Avoiding or denying a particular situation or instance may fetch some short-term gains but in a long term, it is bound to have some degree of effect on the reputation of a brand. When a brand or its representatives takes a departure from the main subject, either in speech or writing, it invites more scrutiny and eyeballs.

It is, therefore, that PR & Communications has become an important business function to help navigate the brand through unprecedented situations via responsible and conscientious dialogue with its stakeholders.

A year ago, we saw the news floating across media on the Swiss FMCG major, Nestle. In an internal document, the brand Nestle acknowledged that more than 60 percent of its mainstream foods and drinks do not "meet a recognized definition of health".

This acknowledgment even within the internal stakeholders made the brand worthy of appreciation. This means that the brand considered the very reality of its products and showed willingness to make robust decisions and strategies towards revamping its portfolio and attuning it to the customers’ preferences. What further made it a worthy case in point was the brand’s admission of the same, in its statements to the media and publications.

The brand didn’t beat around the bush but rather proposed an action point in place, to solve the problem at hand. It clearly stated that it launched a company-wide project to update its nutrition and health strategy and is looking at its entire portfolio to ensure that its products are helping meet customers’ nutritional needs and supporting a balanced diet.

There has been seen no dodging, denial, or digression in the matter. Rather, there has been seen the deployment of the A3 strategy- Agility, Acknowledgment, and Admission in the brand’s dialogue and communications with its audience and stakeholders. It is perhaps why Nestle gets the love that it deserves.

Responsible storytelling, according to me, can never go in vain. As long as you are being true, honest, and transparent to your stakeholders, your reputation remains intact.

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