Strategic communication is about planning how an organisation should respond to issues that concern it. Chapter 2 examines how that happens by exploring definitions of strategic communication, theoretical concepts that inform how it should be practised, “drivers” of strategic communication, and issue analysis and management. Students will understand that strategic communication deals with building and protecting an organisation’s internal and external relationships, its reputation, and promoting its values.

Readers are introduced to systems, complexity, and contingency theories and how these influence issues communication. They’ll understand how strategic communication can be aligned with the three horizons of strategic business planning.

After working through the chapter and its exercises, students will appreciate the importance of analysing the potential impact of external issues on an organisation, and as a result understand how issues analysis and strategic communication are linked.

They will also recognise that strategic communication differs from current-term market communication because it works in the mid- and long terms to support an organisation’s strategic business plans by identifying and managing mid- to long-term issues.

An expected outcome from this chapter is acceptance that writing a communication campaign strategy involves careful planning to make sure it reflects organisational goals and objectives.