Stakeholder Communication and Successful Marketing

Refresher Leaders Circle 2023
Effective communication is crucial to selling your products and services to customers. A brand can only be successful if it is understood by the target audience and its stakeholders. On November 3, Rochester-Bern organized an event for EMBA alumni/-ae, where Prof. Dr. Marlies Whitehouse and Dr. Lucia Malär spoke about "Professional literacy for successful communication" and "Unlocking successful marketing communication".

According to Whitehouse and Malär “Knowing your business, what you want to say and who you want to say it to” is the basis for good communication. With this in mind, they also shared some more concrete tips, models and guidelines for successful communication with all stakeholders. Some examples are presented in this blog post.

The Storytelling Stages

Whether you are creating an advertisement, writing a text or a film script, the following stages can be used to tell a story: It starts with exposition, where the relevance and context of the story is introduced. This is followed by a complication, which is the trigger that provokes an action. In the evaluation, the importance of the actions to be taken is empathized. Then there is the solution with steps to solve the problem. Finally, a coda generalizes what has been learnt.

Horizontal and Vertical Communication

It helps to avoid misunderstandings if you keep in mind the concept of vertical and horizontal communication. Horizontal communication subdivides activities and sectors. For example, a doctor does not communicate in the same way as an engineer. On the other hand, vertical communication is about how people communicate differently depending on their function and level of technicality. For example: You are likely to address a senior worker differently than a teenager.

Grice’s maxims of communication

Grice’s maxims provide some simple guidelines: Communicate as much informative as possible and with as much information as is needed (maxim of quantity). Be truthful, do not give information that is false or not supported by evidence (maxim of quality). Be relevant and say things that are important to the discussion (maxim of relation). Be as concise as possible and avoid ambiguity or confusion (maxim of manner).

Source–Message–Channel–Receiver Model

The Source–Message–Channel–Receiver Model helps individuals identify potential barriers and improve the effectiveness of their communication. The source is the originator of the message, the message is the information being conveyed, the channel is the medium through which the message is delivered, and the receiver is the intended audience or target. This model helps to understand the dynamics of communication and the factors that influence effective message delivery.

Customer Centricity in Brand Communication

Listening and empathizing with stakeholders is a great way to demonstrate understanding and care. Are you listening to your customers? Are you listening to your employees? Empathy helps companies focus their attention on the customer rather than what they have to offer. It is a crucial shift in perspective for more successful brand communication.

Authenticity as Value

Authenticity includes a brand’s timelessness and ability to transcend trends – staying true to itself. It also means that a brand should be transparent, honest and live up to its claims. Furthermore, it includes the idea of moral purity of the brand – are your company’s intentions and actions morally sound? Finally, it means the potential of a brand to serve as a resource for identity construction, providing self-referential cues such as values, roles and relationships.

Knowing Who You Are

Everyone in a company should know the identity of the brands. Above all, they should know the “why” of a company’s and brand’s existence. What value do we create? What positive impact do we have on the environment and society? Everyone should also know how a company works and what the company does.

Brand Purpose

People are looking for meaning, direction and stability. The brand should help the customer to shine, to show the world: I want to make a difference and the brand will help me do it. As a result, not only does the company create satisfied customers, but employees with a congruent purpose are also more productive.


All in all, it was a very successful event and we hope that participants went home with many new ideas and inspiration for more effective communication. The main message of the day was certainly that companies need to think carefully about who they are, who they communicate with and how. In addition, an authentic, honest and congruent brand will create more value in the long run.