Guest blogger, Dondalyn Breaux in a native of New Orleans, LA. She graduated from the Manship School in May 2014 with concentration in PR and minor in business administration. Dondalyn is currently a graduate student at Manship School studying Strategic Communication and doing research on brand awareness for fashion organization in New Orleans, Southern Coalition of Fashion & Design. She works as a graduate assistant at College of Engineering in External Relations department. Dondalyn loves fashion and design, succulents, her future Great Dane and French Bulldog, and pizza. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | twitter: DondalynBreaux
A buddy of mine, Benjamin Franklin, you may have heard of him, once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Is he right? You can bet he is. When it comes to an organization getting messages across to their audience, you can also bet that those messages should to be strategically communicated.
What is strategic communication? Hallahan et al. (2007), in “Defining Strategic Communication,” interpret it as “the purposeful use of communication by an organization to fulfill its mission.” Taking this approach can provide a road map for a company.
A more relatable take? Last week a colleague shared that how she speaks with her mother is different from how she speaks with her roommates. The message can be the same but the way she delivers it, more than likely, is not. That is a strategic way of communicating. Her method is not by accident. This is similar to the way organizations speak with their key publics. Each public is different and therefore communication with them must be different.
Just like my blue hibiscus needs water (I should probably do that soon), an organization needs to be able to strategically communicate with its audience. But why is it important? The short answer is so that your organization doesn’t die. For a more interpretive answer are the following:
- Authentic Conversation
- In Groundswell, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff give a few tips that can really help an organization speak with its audience. One of which is to “create a presence that encourages interaction.” I believe that authentic interaction is a large part of strategic communication. With the variety of media channels, an organization must plan on how to best spread initial communication and how to best respond to its audience. It is a two way stream. Without engaging in an honest conversation, an organization can be sure to miss the mark on what its audience wants and needs.
- Stay Relevant
- I don’t believe any organization wants to be talked about only twice a year. Organizations want to stay in people’s mouths. To go about this in the most effective and efficient way, strategic communication is key. For example, creating content calendars for social media platforms is a strategic way to communicating strong messages. From there, tracking the feedback from those messages help to spot the relevancy the organization has with its audience.
- A Step Ahead
- Word to the wise, if you can always plan ahead you are on a prosperous path. What comes with planning ahead? Research, sexy, I know. If it was easy, every organization would be doing it, however, strategic communication takes work. If an organization has the right team, that could include a public relations professional, that team can dedicate time to developing a solution for being a step ahead of the competition.
Here are just a few reasons why strategic communication is important. This list can lay some foundation for why organizations should always be strategic when communicating their messages. I am sure Franklin would agree when I say without strategic communication an organization is sure to miss opportunities to create authentic conversation, stay relevant, and be a step ahead of the competition.