Get your press policy in order
While the best activism campaigns might be those nobody hears about, you need a clear policy – agreed upon in advance – detailing how to handle press queries. As well as developing relationships with the press during good times, a company could prequalify PR firms it wants on its side, as mentioned above.
‘Being unresponsive to journalists is never a good thing, and you can bet the activists are conveying their message to reporters behind the scenes on a daily basis,’ says Zach Kouwe, vice president at Dukas Public Relations. It’s also wise not to ‘dig your heels in’, as this ‘not only looks unbecoming and defensive but also draws the media’s attention to the conflict aspect of the story rather than the validity of the actual ideas about long-term strategy.’
Know your activists – and listen
As well as explaining how their current strategy is creating value for shareholders, ‘companies should be open to dialogue with activists, which often have interesting ideas and can be a catalyst for value-added change,’ says Kouwe. ‘This is important even if only to know how best to counter an activist’s proposals.’
Action against Activism (Corporate Secretary - Feb. 13, 2015)
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