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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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Case: An inhouse communication strategy for CoolDays


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Note: This case is fictional


CoolDays is a leading soft drink manufacturer in Middle America. Its largest market is Mexico (40%), followed by the United States (25%) and Argentina (20%). The company has a permanent workforce of 1,900 employees. CoolDays produces three different kinds of soft drinks: CoolDays Red, CoolDays Blue (a light version of CoolDays Red made with aspartame), and CoolDays Green. CoolDays Green was launched in 2008 and its unique selling point in the soft drink market is that it’s organic. CoolDays Green is immensely popular in the age group of 25- to 45-year-olds, particularly among graduates, who see the beverage as a sensible alternative to other less healthy soft drinks.

In recent years, CoolDays has been struggling. Sales of CoolDays Red and CoolDays Blue have been declining for the last nine years running and are under enormous pressure. Only CoolDays Green revenues are rising every year, and this is what is keeping CoolDays in the black.

Historically, the lion’s share of the company’s marketing budget has been spent on CoolDays Red and CoolDays Blue—the longtime key brands on which the company grew. However, even hefty marketing outlays, mainly on advertising, have not been able to reverse declining revenues. More marketing does not seem likely to help. Realizing that something...

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