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Blogs  / November 10, 2021

How to manage corporate reputation with PESTLE analysis

by Sean O'Neal, President

In this blog article as part of our managing corporate reputation with PESTLE analysis series, we are diving deeper into the “how to” of the PESTLE process and best practices for communications pros to keep in mind.

While there are many ways to implement PESTLE analysis in an organization, here are the five general steps to follow:

  1. Identify the relevant PESTLE factors and determine the scope of research.

Some factors may be critical to your business while others could be deemed secondary. What we are talking about is getting granular and identifying the factors underneath each PESTLE category that are the most influential. 

Once you know where you need to spend the most time, you can narrow down the scope of your research, including the sources of information, primary and secondary research methods, and any automated trackers and other technology you may want to set up.

  1. Gather the information.

Based on the scope you outlined in the first step, you can develop a plan to gather the information you need. In this step, you’ll determine exactly how the data will be collected, over which period of time, who will be involved in collecting and analyzing the data, and how the findings will be compiled and presented. 

You may want to create or download a template to record the information so that as you repeat the process, you can compare and contrast apples to apples over time. There are many PESTLE analysis templates available online.

  1. Analyze the data you’ve collected.

Smart tools like Onclusive can automate this process for you, or you could use technology in combination with resources such as a data analytics or marketing analytics team if your company has one. 

AI-driven technology behind the Onclusive platform makes it easy for you to set up your media monitoring, social listening and trend tracking from the get-go. You can always come back and edit your setup to include more brand names or keywords that are important to you. And our built-it reporting templates simplify generating actionable insights from billions of data points being collected every day.

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quote Michael Dolmatch Director of Communications, Yext
Yext’s press efforts span regions from North America to Asia, and it can be extremely difficult to measure our coverage metrics globally in a reliable way. It’s critical for my team to have access to advanced metrics to inform our communications strategy, and Onclusive makes this much easier.
  1. Assess the implications of each PESTLE factor on your brand image.

Once you’ve done data analysis, it should become clear which factors could have the most impact or cause issues for your corporate reputation. While you’ve made reasonable assumptions in step one, real-world data will allow you to make more accurate estimates in the future so that you could better anticipate how each factor can influence your public image. 

In this step, you’ll also want to brainstorm how to take advantage of the opportunities and mitigate the risks that emerged from your research. This piece is critical before you move on to the final step in the process, which involves making decisions on how to take action.

  1. Decide which actions to take with the goal of enhancing your corporate reputation.

Having your research documented is very helpful for this next step, which involves presenting and discussing your findings with the decision-makers in your organization. This will most likely include your executive team.

During the discussions with the stakeholders, you will collectively decide which actions must be taken and which trends you should continue to monitor on an ongoing basis.

PESTLE analysis best practices

  • When to do it 
    • PESTLE analysis is an ongoing process for monitoring changes in your business environment. 
    • It’s a must during annual planning and budgeting, and it should also be done ahead of any significant shifts in your business, major product launches, entering new markets or industry categories, and other big initiatives. 
    • During a crisis, a PESTLE review can be a game-changer, as it will allow you to stay on top of the changing dynamics in the external environment and quickly craft a response that is beneficial to all the key stakeholders. 
  • Who should be involved
    • Communications should be involved in conducting the PESTLE analysis as a strategic advisor to executive leadership about enhancing corporate reputation.
    • Ultimately, the C-suite is the primary decision-maker when it comes to the next steps. 
    • To include multiple perspectives and capitalize on existing expertise and resources, you can collaborate with marketing, product, sales, analytics and other stakeholder-facing and data-crunching teams, as well as external experts such as market research organizations.
  • How to get started and optimize the process
    • Start small—make sure that you focus on the most important factors and findings first before collecting additional information. 
    • Before making conclusions and recommendations, keep in mind that the future doesn’t necessarily depend on the past or the present. 
    • Use PESTLE analysis in combination with other business analysis tools, such as SWOT analysis, Porter’s Five Forces, or competitive analysis. 

A well-executed PESTLE analysis results in a comprehensive view of external factors that are affecting your corporate reputation right now and may do so in the future. 

Next week, we’ll provide an overview of modern technology available from Onclusive to help you automate the steps of collecting and analyzing the data.

Join us for Managing Corporate Reputation with PESTLE Analysis webinar next week on Thursday, November 18th. In this session, our panelists will share best practices for managing corporate reputation with PESTLE analysis and discuss how to use sentiment monitoring, social listening and trending topics to deepen your understanding of the macro factors affecting your brand and competitors, with the ultimate goal of improving your corporate image.