“What exactly are you studying?”
“What is Strategic Communication anyway?”
Over the past year, these questions have been asked of my cohort and I many times. It has almost become a source of amusement for us, but it also means that an explanation is in order. I am going to step up to the plate and take a swing at providing one.
At times, I’ve said that Strategic Communication is a business oriented communications degree. It is, but saying it only applies to business is selling it short. It is something that can be applied to not only businesses, but also to non-profits, the government or any other organization, including your local middle school’s PTA.
You see, every organization has goals they want to achieve or problems they want to solve. For corporations it might be keeping both internal and external stakeholders informed and satisfied in the midst of a CEO transition. For a non-profit, it might be about determining why donations have dropped over a period of time. For the PTA, it might be to find a better way to encourage parent participation. A bank hit with a data breach will need a crisis communication plan to communicate with its customers and the general public.
The arrows this program are putting in my quiver allow me to perform a financial analysis of a organization, and conduct sound research via both quantitative (like surveys) and qualitative methodologies (ethnographies, for example). Once the research and analysis are done, I’ll have the skills to develop and direct a communication plan that can be effectively used to achieve these goals and solve these problems.
It may not have the simplest definition, but Strategic Communication is a powerful, integrated solution that involves the coming together of multiple disciplines, including business analysis, marketing, public relations, social media, and corporate communication to keep organizations healthy and successful.