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The Communication Strategy Handbook

Toolkit for Creating a Winning Strategy

Betteke van Ruler and Frank Körver

Strategic development is one of the most daunting challenges that faces any professional, no matter the field. After all, stakes are high. Developing effective strategies can put you on the path to becoming a trusted advisor and a valued employee.

The Communication Strategy Framework introduced in this handbook has been designed to help professionals make targeted choices toward strategic communication. Taking an iterative approach and continually reflecting on whether your choices remain congruent enables you to continually adapt to changing circumstances while staying in command. Linear planning models are ineffective. Quick strategy development can revolutionize the communication function and strengthen the relationship amongst members of a professional team. Linking communication and business strategy is the number one challenge for today’s communication practitioners.

The Communication Strategy Framework facilitates the communication professional to forcefully and efficiently make the right choices. It compels individuals to think about how communication can contribute to achieving the organization's or client’s goals. As a result, it provides a clear picture of your communication strategy in one page by putting superfluous details aside and concentrating on the essentials.

The Communication Strategy Framework has proven to be an instant eye-opener. A best-seller amongst professionals in the Netherlands, it is available for the first time in English. This step-by-step guide to creating a winning communication strategy will help communicators of all types, from professionals and clients to students and teachers!

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Building block: External Situation


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Communication professionals are sometimes described as having one foot in and one foot outside the organization. It follows that communication departments should be able to look ahead and recognize relevant trends, developments, and issues, to gauge public sentiment about issues that are important to the organization, and be knowledgeable about the typical behaviors of key groups. This not only reinforces its day-to-day credibility, but also gives the department a better handle on its priorities.

A cursory glance at the newspapers should be enough to convince any organization of the importance of being attuned to the external environment. We’ve all read the headlines. An executive’s severance package reduced in deference to “sensitivities surrounding severance pay.” A big bank under fire for plans to share client data with companies despite ongoing privacy concerns. An American food manufacturer that pulls out of Europe following widespread criticism and protests against genetically manipulated seeds. Every organization has its own issues and occasionally finds itself in the crosshairs of public debate. Sometimes it blows over, but every so often it continues to simmer, or the sparks begin to fly and the organization is rocked to its foundations.

Most organizations operate in quite a turbulent playing field. To excel as a communication expert, you have to understand that playing field....

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