Here's How to Identify Your Network and Build Relationships

Following on from my previous article about building strong relationships, this article will help you determine who your key stakeholders are. Spoiler alert: I’ll be sharing an industry secret with you.

When you think about a market, it’s unlikely that you think about the various stakeholder segments which form that market.

This is because it’s easy to focus on the market as a whole and when you do break it down you only see the most visible part of a market.

For example, when seeking to promote something, people are frequently seduced by the thought of achieving media coverage and overlook reaching out to existing customers or building industry relationships – both of which are easier and cheaper to do.

An effective communications strategy has many segments and focusing on media over the others can be a bit like chasing rainbows. It is also fraught with risk.

The secret to success is that you first need to identify who’s in your market and then address each section of your market in a targeted fashion. As a result, your communications efforts will be amplified and, if you’re seeking it, you’ll probably also find the media will come to you.

You’re most likely wondering how you go about this, so here’s the secret sauce...

It’s done by segmenting your market into the following groups: internal, referees/advocates, customers/suppliers, industry, media, social media and government. I also like to have an area reserved for the gaps.

There may be other subsets you need to include, such as recruiters or boards, but I find this covers things most of the time.

Once you’ve worked out who you need to build relationships with, you can then determine the best approaches.

You can’t connect with everyone at once – unless of course you have a team in place and a lot of time on your hands – and in fact, many businesses develop greater influence and stronger relationships using a gradual approach and connecting key people in a very specific, targeted way over the course of a year or so.

Strong relationships are vital to successful business outcomes and they are often undervalued or overlooked. You should aim to be connected, visible and influential for the benefit of yourself and your business.

Finally, if you are already working with someone on this but don't own the relationships, stop. You are not building your influence, you're building someone else's.

We believe it's vital that you own the relationships and work very hard to make this happen.

Like to know more? We can help.

Nina Anderson

Please feel free to contact me: or visit