The Invisible Stakeholder

The Invisible Stakeholder

A 40 something year old man sits in his study searching for cars on the internet. His twelve-year-old daughter walks in and asks him what he’s doing. He replies that he’s looking at options for a new car. Immediately his daughter tells him that he must buy a BMW X5. He listens in wonder as she launches into an effusive monologue about the car, its height, its shape, its sound system and the fact that it comes with mini televisions. She describes in detail the various colours BMW sells the car in and rounds off her monologue with how fast the car can go. Two weeks later the man drives out of a BMW dealership in a matte black X5 with a huge smile on his face.

The man has become a BMW customer. His daughter remains an invisible stakeholder, ready to
enumerate the wonders of the X5 to anyone and everyone who will listen.

Companies often narrowly focus on their customers or potential customers. Their research, strategy, design, production and marketing is directed solely at customers or would be customers. The twelve-year-old daughter is not a customer or potential customer of BMW. But she knows a lot more about BMWs than her father who was a potential BMW customer. It would be detrimental to the business of BMW to completely ignore this twelve-year-old daughter and others like her. Yet, that is what companies frequently and compulsively do. Companies expend all their resources only on their consumers and ignore the invisible stakeholder.

The invisible stakeholder is the person who has not bought anything. The invisible stakeholder is an individual who may never buy any of your products but knows all about you. They know about your company, the products you sell, the quality of your service, your marketing campaigns and much more. They are invisible evangelists who speak authoritatively about your company to anyone, in any setting. They pay attention to your adverts. Your logo is easily recognizable to them in any country. They have an intimate understanding of your products and services. They pay close attention to what others say about you. They have walked through the aisles of your store. Your website is embedded in their search history. The invisible stakeholder is very aware of you. It therefore goes to reason that the opinion of the invisible stakeholder matters greatly.

Successful brands understand the importance of the invisible stakeholder. They tap into their passions. They listen to their chatter and cultivate their opinions. They appeal to their sensibilities and seek to understand what they think and how they think. Successful brands understand that invisible stakeholders can become consumers and consumers can become invisible stakeholders.

Successful brands know that invisible stakeholders build their brand profile. They understand that ignoring the invisible stakeholder will lead to a loss of market share.

Do you know who your brand’s invisible stakeholders are?

To learn more about invisible stakeholders and how you can tap into their power contact Alder Consulting at brief@alder-consulting.com .

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