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  • Elliot Grainger

Strategic Communications; a tool with multiple applications.

Strategic communications is understanding how to achieve a strategic effect through communications activity. Simply put, it is about what needs to be said, to whom, and by what means, to achieve the desired strategic effect.

It is better to think about using a strategic communications approach as a means to influence attitudes and behaviours, through the use of communications practices. It is not simply about “better communications”.

Stop Shouting into the Void - photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash
Stop Shouting into the Void - photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

What we mean by communications in this instance, is all forms of activity that try to change, inform, or influence the way people think or feel, act or behave – thus communications activity extends from one-to-one conversations to online videos through what children hear in a classroom, what a woman hears in the street, to how policemen act within communities.

Therefore, to deliver strategic communications an understanding of the attitude or behaviour requiring change is needed. Only then can the strategy to do that be developed, using all the communications tools at hand.

It is not what do you want to say, it is about what you want your audiences to think, feel and do.

As the discipline evolves, strategic communications objectives are increasingly achieved through partnership with others. Amid the ever-louder communications ecosystem, strategic communications approaches no longer rely on the analogue distribution of messages, but instead seek to influence audiences through relationships built with credible partners who are better able to reach them.

Therefore, strategic communications requires us to know what others say about you, and what you need others to say about you to achieve your strategic objectives.

This requires us to also understand that what we don’t say, also has an impact. Furthermore, not just what we say, but what we do and don’t do has implications on how people hear us - and therefore understand and perceive us. As an organisation seeking to achieve a strategic goal, be that government policy, charitable activity or business objective, strategic communications is an essential tool in being able to reach it.

We break strategic communications down into three core principles.

1. Research and Evaluation

2. Networks, Partnerships and Architecture

3. Delivery

At their heart these elements are essential for any effective strategy, which is why a strategic communications approach can be such a useful tool, beyond its direct communications application.

How we do this in practice is at the core offering we bring to our clients and partners, and can be explored in our work with you, as we seek to use communications to help achieve your aims in the years ahead.


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