Issue 06: de-fogging
Many organisations are caught in the mists of obscure messages and conflicting signals. Strategic communication is about clearing away this obscurity and confusion – de-fogging – and replacing it with clarity to deliver your strategy. Issue 06 includes client stories on Procter & Gamble, The British Library and the Royal Marines, and chapters on who owns strategic communication?, change and reputation, and engaging people in strategy.
“Never can there come fog too thick, never can there come mud and mire too deep, to assort with the groping and floundering condition which this High Court of Chancery, most pestilent of hoary sinners,
holds, this day, in the sight of heaven and earth. “On such an afternoon, if ever, the Lord High Chancellor ought to be sitting here — as here he is — with a foggy glory round his head, softly fenced in with crimson cloth and curtains, addressed by a large advocate with great whiskers, a little voice, and an interminable brief, and outwardly directing his contemplation to the lantern in the roof, where he can see nothing but fog.”
Charles Dickens, Bleak House
Dickens never heard of strategic communication, but his fog is a flawless metaphor for the deadening effects of bureaucracy, excessive procedure, protocol and just too many words. The language of strategic
communication, on the other hand, can be a bit foggy itself. Yes, it’s a management buzz-phrase – but what does it mean? Is it just ordinary communication in fancy dress? Do organisations need a strategic
communication function, or is it something more mystical? If so, who owns it, what does it do, and what’s the relationship to strategy, if any?
By strategic communication we mean planning, followed by action, to use communication to achieve strategic objectives. It is strategic because it looks right across the organisation and its business environment, rather than down into a single function. It is communication in the widest sense – any words, whether spoken or written, action, behaviour or event can be harnessed and combined to deliver an intended result in support of business objectives.