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What Is Strategic Communications?

Updated: Apr 10

We asked NATO. (Actually, we stumbled across this searching our own name.) But to our delight and surprise we found some extremely good bits about, you guessed it, Strategic Communications. Things also important for company leaders to read and known, in order to harness the powers of motivating change with true agility and hightened awareness. The function of Strategic Communications, from 'DEFENCE STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS The official journal of the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence', Volume 7 | Autumn 2019:

Strategic Communications is not simply the confluence of strategy and communications where each term is defined separately before being joined at the hip. In fact, it’s a much grander concept. "Strategic Communications attempts to bring the imagined into being. It is frequently processed through a lens of discourse theory associated with literary studies, not simply social sciences: it is constructivist in so far as it attempts to build and shape discourses across societies and win over fresh support to the communicator’s argument, thus extending the reach of any strategy of influence. At the same time, it engages with international relations theory (IR) on the level of how states speak to other states in the international community; albeit IR itself repeatedly struggles to find a sufficiently robust voice for political movements that do not wear the mantel of sovereign statehood, those that operate at sub-state and trans-state and thus struggle to qualify as legitimate participants. "Let’s, at this point, remind ourselves, Strategic Communications is not simply the confluence of strategy and communications where each term is defined separately before being joined at the hip. In fact, it’s a much grander concept. Neither is it synonymous with everyday political communications that must also employ strategies. Beginning at the conceptual level, a set of understandings cascades downwards to the level of daily practice. Its starting point is ontological, relying on how an individual identifies patterns and attaches meaning to a kaleidoscopic world out there. Strategic Communications then can be seen as capturing a cognitive experience requiring an ‘holistic approach to communication based on values and interests that encompasses everything an actor does to achieve objectives in a contested environment’. That environment, the information environment, is then understood as ‘dynamic physical and/or virtual settings interpreted by the mind’ which in turn map onto the operational environment best viewed as ‘the dynamic setting that impacts decision-making and behaviour for achieving a given objective’. "By speaking to the strategic level—let’s call it grand strategy in higher level or geopolitics—Strategic Communications also breaks out of the straitjacket of describing mechanically how one moves from A to B. Rather, forward movement overcoming friction and skirting obstacles in a rapidly changing environment, closing in on an identified objective of change (which may entail temporary retreat to ultimately adapt and advance as extolled in Maoist insurgency strategy) cannot be left out of the discussion. Hence Strategic Communications is both a mindset corresponding to that first conceptualisation, namely the way geopolitics is pursued in an information society driven by the 24-hour a day media hubbub, and a tool placed in the hands of those who seek what they believe to be positive change through a process of influence. For those engaged in Strategic Communications, strategy is a process through which cause finds expression. But the diverse contributions to any eventual outcome are neither wholly intrinsic, hence dependent on the communicator’s will, nor entirely extraneous, so shaped by events beyond the reach of the individual’s will to influence." Download the journal for more:

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