So.. Who am I talking to?

Audience, Stakeholder, User. Why difference matters.

Recent work supporting the development of engagement strategies around organisational change got me thinking, when we talk about who we’re engaging with do we always get the distinction between our users, stakeholders, or audience?


This is anyone you want to be aware of your work and often the key priority is keeping this group informed, driving them to take specific actions. Most of the time this group is broken down into specific segments by demographic or other characteristics and you’ll target communications based on the topic and audience relevance.

Insight from this group is important, but it’s often broad and dis-aggregated from specific experiences. Users and stakeholders will be part of your broad and specific audiences but many won’t fit into either of those other categories and you’ll also have future/past users/stakeholders included in this group.


These are groups or individuals who either have a direct impact on your work or whom your work has a direct impact on. Investing time is key here, you need that to build relationships but also to build an expert understanding of what your stakeholders need/want/think.

Insight from this group is invaluable when thinking about the strategic direction of your organisation, what do they want you to do, what will they support, what will leave them unhappy. Keeping them invested in your ‘direction of travel’ is invaluable.


Someone who interacts with or supports others who interact with a service your organisation provides. Their relationship with you is transnational and your understanding of their needs is vital to delivering effective services.

Users are often a specific segment of your audience who you’ll want to keep informed about their specific interactions.

Why does this matter?

Inform, Insight and support

When your working through organisational change you need to keep the right people informed, gather insight that informs your change and garner support for your strategic direction.

And often all three with these different groups, but to different degrees and at different moments along the journey.

So making sure your strategy recognizes what these different groups need from you and you need from them is integral to it’s success.


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