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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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Business-focused communication

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BUSINESS-FOCUSED COMMUNICATION HAS A MAJOR INFLUENCE ON HOW COMMUNICATION AND ITS VARIOUS FUNCTIONS ARE ORGANIZED. IT AFFECTS THE WAY IN WHICH COMMUNICATION DEPARTMENTS ARE STRUCTURED AND WHAT GETS PRIORITIZED. BUT WHAT DOES BUSINESS-FOCUSED COMMUNICATION ACTUALLY ENTAIL?

COMMUNICATION ENABLES BETTER DECISION-MAKING

Many communication departments take a tactical, near-term approach to communication. But this fails to capitalize on communication’s real, full potential. A strong communication department understands and responds to top management’s priorities and draws on its knowledge of concerns in society and what matters to staff, customers, and stakeholders to accelerate and improve the decision-making process at the top.

THE COMMUNICATION FUNCTION BALANCES STRATEGY, COORDINATION, AND EXECUTION

Traditionally, communication departments are strongest at the operational level, in the execution. But what they should really be concerned with is strategy and coordination; this is where the real opportunities are for business-focused ← 148 | 149 → communication. It’s only logical that communication directors are particularly interested in boosting their departments’ strategic knowledge and knowhow. A senior advisor who also has a good command of strategy can more deftly switch gears between business and communication and even talk on a level with line managers.

Figure 10. Communication Activities Pyramid

COMMUNICATION OBJECTIVES ARE LINKED TO ORGANIZATIONAL OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIC PRIORITIES

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