Nine out of ten communication and public relations thesis discussions a couple of weeks ago at Lumsa University in Rome overtly abused the term ‘strategic’.
In a subsequent comment in Italian on the Ferpi website, I argued that this plague…was our fault -not the students’- and this because professional, teacher and scholarly mouths and minds (often the second only following the first…) are increasingly engulfed by ‘strategic’ stupidities…
It is as if we onanistically rewarded our own selves by repeating what we would like our interlocutors to use in reference to our thoughts or accomplishments…
How misleading, for clients and students and fellow professionals or educators!
Confident that nobody would have noticed my rant, I was mistaken….
Francesco Lurati, from the Institute for Corporate Communication of the University of Lugano, the principal responsible for the creation of Lugano’s world reputed MScom program, sent me an email attaching an essay he had recently written together with his colleague Martin Eppler in which (but lurati-eppler.pdfwell deserves to be read..) he writes that:
…corporate communication focuses on three main parameters– stakeholders’ expectations and cognitions and organizational identity – and operates within the strategic and the tactical domain. When it operates at the strategic level, corporate communication deals with the sustainability of corporate decisions in terms of communication – i.e. are strategic decisions in line with stakeholders’ expectations and cognitions and with organizational identity? When it operates at the tactical level, corporate communication is in charge of designing communication plans. These two domains have two distinct aims. The first is to contribute to the definition of corporate objectives, the second, to support the achievement of corporate objectives.
The strategic domain of corporate communication is the least known and practiced. It implies that corporate communication participates in the strategic conversations of the organization.
Traditionally, organizations decide what to do and where to go based on availability of resources such as human resources, financial resources, technological resources and market conditions. If a new strategy can rely on these resources, then it is considered sustainable. Today, organizations are increasingly required to make decisions which also consider public expectations and cognitions and the identity mix supporting the organization’s activities. In other words, the particular characteristics of these factors are considered additional corporate resources. If the objectives of a strategy do not meet stakeholders’ expectations, are not supported by the public’s image of the organization or are not in line with the organizational identity, they may not be achievable, in the same way strategy objectives can not be achievable if technological competencies are not available to the company…..
And now, a second surprise! As I was preparing to post this, one my favourite American columnists, William Safire, in the Agust 5 New York Times Sunday Magazine approaches a similar issue under the title ‘Strategist Rising’. Safire specifically refers to political communication and states that today the term ‘campaign manager’ is losing its puissance and whereas that of ‘strategist’ has gained much power.
Larry Sabato, professor of politics at the University of Virginia, tells Safire: Strategist is a grander title, conjuring up the image of Karl Rove, James Carville and other political Houdini’s… Advisers advise but strategists direct. The former have influence. But the latter have power.
We should be very careful and watch our language.
A highly relevant (strategic?…) indicator of credibility and trust. Opinions?