Strategic Corporate Communication
The capacity of modern corporations to develop and communicate integrated messaging strategies is essential in a world of non-stop information and split-second decisionmaking. Corporations can no longer constrain themselves to market factors, but have become essential social and political actors on the world stage. Executives must possess sophisticated understanding and skill to manage “nonmarket” arenas to inform, motivate, and persuade various clients, markets, and constituencies within the global public sphere and social/political networks. Strategic communication positions firms to a competitive advantage in business/industrial sectors, in capital markets, and legislative and governmental regulatory environments. As such, corporate communication has many different uses and roles, whether it is a tool of organizational management (to inform, engage, listen, and lead individuals within an organization); to attract clients; to encourage investors, or to influence legislative or regulatory environments. The old saying “Knowledge is Power” is only half right; Knowledge is useless if it is not deployed and communicated clearly and effectively. This class will survey different arenas and practices of corporate communication—not only in the world of business, but also the effect on all of global society—to motivate, persuade and inform its various constituencies (i.e., investors, employees, governments, consumers, and clients). The course encompasses basic precepts of public affairs, investor relations, community engagement, and governmental relations to integrate the insights of practicing corporate communication professionals with the concepts and academic approaches of communication theory. Ultimately, students will have a broad understanding of the different roles and functions involved in strategic corporate communications within contemporary global society. COURSE ASSIGNMENTS AND GRADES Media Writing Project (25 percent of class grade) Students will participate in a media writing exercise that will provide students the practical experience of visualizing, framing, and writing a public communications product (i.e., press release, speech, marketing materials, etc.). Projects will be no longer than 3-4 pages, 1.5-spaced, 11-point Times New Roman. The assignment is due Friday, March 10. Strategic Planning Project (25 percent of class grade) Students will undertake a critical analysis of a unique strategic issue or objective discussed in class. The Strategic Communication Planning Project will be a 10-12 page (1.5 spaced, 10 point, Times New Roman) paper that provides an opportunity to address some of the unique strategic issues and objectives discussed in class. The goal is to develop the appropriate format and criteria for successful strategic communication. Each student will research the goals and/or needs of a particular corporation or industry of his/her choice and then propose an integrated communications and/or legislative strategy to achieve those goals/needs. Students are cautioned to focus on a scenario that provides for succinct, but detailed, analysis. The project itself should show original thinking--along with appropriate research and examples--to develop appropriate communication strategies, identify potential partners, develop key messages, anticipate stakeholder reaction, and consider methods for outcomes evaluation. Students will be required to submit a prospectus on April 5 that provides a concise overview of the topic, describes the corporation’s/industry’s unique circumstances, and the main frameworks to address the issues involved. The Instructor will provide feedback on the prospectus and help conceptualize the project. Two days (April 13 and April 27) have been set aside for consultation on the projects. The final project is due by 11:50 pm, Monday, May 8. The project will be discussed in more detail in class. COURSE TEXTS/READINGS This course will not rely upon a pre-determined text, but will use a combination of academic articles, book chapters, and professional materials that are accessible to all students. The materials will be distributed through Canvas and via email throughout the classes. If students are having trouble accessing the materials, please notify me.