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Strategic Planning for Public Relations

Beginning the Journey

Tricia Hansen-Horn and Adam E. Horn

Strategic Planning for Public Relations: Beginning the Journey is written for the next generation of public relations professionals. It takes account of the changing needs of the PR industry, where strategic thinking is needed in abundance but tends to be in short supply among many people who are just launching their careers. This book is designed to address this shortfall by providing a multi-level understanding of strategy to show how it directly correlates to successful public relations. The book’s conversational tone and real world chapter exercises move the reader from insight to strategic vision and application. Exercises at the end of each chapter are designed to help students further explore, reflect on and apply what they have learned. The book’s unique approach to strategy and strategic planning provides the tools for students becoming strategists first and tacticians second – essential criteria for successful public relations professionals.


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5. Strategy, Being Strategic, and Strategic Planning Unpacked


5Strategy, Being Strategic, and Strategic Planning Unpacked Read this chapter with an open mind. Do your best to suspend your preconceived ideas about strategy so that you are able to add breadth and depth to your understanding of it. Do not think about being strategic or engaging in strategic planning until our strategy discussion comes to a close. Do not equate being stra- tegic with planning and strategy with a plan. Strategy and strategic are more than that. If you go directly to strategic planning before exploring the ideas behind strategy and strategic you will limit your understanding. This chapter is written to take you on a robust exploration of what public relations strategy can mean or be. We then address what it means to be strategic. And, finally, we conclude with a discussion of what strategic planning itself can mean for and to you. Defining Strategy The word strategy comes from the Greek word strategos, which refers to a commander’s or general’s role in warfare. The Punic Carthaginian Hannibal is often referred to as the father of strategy. He was known as Rome’s greatest enemy. Following his military prowess, the word strategos “later came to mean ‘the art of the general,’ comprising the skills necessary to undertake that role.”1 While long a historical concept, public relations scholar Daniel Moss2 argues that the applica- tion of the strategy concept to business did not occur until the twentieth century. 96 | Strategic Planning for Public Relations: Beginning the Journey It...

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