It has been argued that companies and industries must take seriously the call to make a case for legitimacy to every stakeholder in the area in which they operate. If an industry, or member thereof, does not provide understanding about what it offers, then it cannot rightly complain about the negative view the public may cast upon it.
You’ve likely heard the phrase “All politics is local,” coined by former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Tip O’Neil. It is a phrase that is viewed as controversial for many reasons.
It’s a remarkably small percentage of the population which has top-of-mind awareness when considering specialized issues – and by far, these are individuals who are either directly tied to the issue at hand, or have family involved in it. Conversely, there is a massive percentage of people who just want to live their lives and not think about how their homes are heated, why they purchase one product over another, or just generally how the creature comforts in their lives are produced.
It’s hard to hate someone you’ve met. However, the strategy and intent behind that meeting and all future interaction is key. In the case of energy companies and community stakeholders, tensions can be high from the beginning – most times due to preconceptions configured by both sides.