Strategic Communication Theory

Nov 20


Cristian Guerrero-Castro

Cristian Guerrero-Castro

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The professionals from various fields are working on what they call Strategic Communication, which has generated a number of people who speak about "their science", express their observations and dictate norms that are trying to establish something like a structure in a non-existent science.


I say "non-existent science" because it has not been established as such, Strategic Communication Theory Articles having neither a definite conceptualization, nor a current or a systematic and unified lineament.


There are several disciplines that claim the Strategic Communication, such as public relations, journalism, visual communication, advertising, marketing and others. Therefore clarifying questions arise, such as: which discipline does strategic communication belong to? Or: Can every discipline communicate strategically? Now my question is: how can a discipline confirm to communicate strategically without knowledge about strategy?


If we analyze the diverse theories of communication, we can mention the theory of mass communication by Harold Dwight Lasswell that defines it as "structure and function”, which means communication is the supervision or surveillance of the environment, the correlation of different parts of the society responding to the environment that leads to communicate.


We could name many communication theorists, such as David Berlo who analyzed the objective of mass communication by emphasizing the simplest: "So that there is communication between the sender and the receptor, they must speak the same language and understand the same signs in order to make the process of communication perfect", or perhaps renowned theorists who contributed significantly to the science of communication like Gerhard Maletzke, Warren Weaver, among many others.


Herewith we clarify that the communication is established as a science, since it has theories and scientific lineaments. But what happened with the strategy? In this point the "autopoiesis"(MATURANA) or unification of communication and strategy does not get established for those who do not understand the "logic of action" of strategy. However, later I will prove that the strategy is both a science and art.



So, what are the theories of strategy? What are its main theorists? What are the methods of strategy? How does the strategy work? Or a very simple question like: what is strategy? Questions that paralyze all the alleged "experts" of the so-called "strategic communication" that we see nowadays with innocent and illusory publications on something they do not have an accurate knowledge about and have not analyzed thoroughly. Knowledge of the communication theories yes, but no knowledge of the theory of strategy and its implementation.


Strategic Communication today, as we have already stated, is a mixture of diverse activities, each of which has to a higher or lower degree structured its procedures of analysis, evaluation and control, a situation that is not defined in the real scenario of strategic communication.



This methodology, that we are missing, must contain the vital objectives of the entity, which are the basis of the strategic process in its three dimensions (strategic, operational and tactical).


This methodology must also include a structured analysis of the factors of the scenario with the pertinent qualitative and quantitative instruments of analysis, considering the characteristics of the scenario, the origin of the conflict, the odds, measures, percentages, courses of action, the direct and indirect actors, the intervening factors in every stage of the scenario, and the behavior of the actors in the past, present and future.


The lack of a methodology to define the strategic communication has as result that in practice each entity, company, institution or organization develops these activities according to how it is interpreted by who is in charge of this area. That results in wrong, incomplete or definitely inapplicable communication management.


Without a precise knowledge of the theories of the strategy as a tool, method, discipline and as science, those don’t unify. This leads to one of the previously indicated problems where many people from different disciplines irresponsibly call strategic communication what they consider "communicating strategically", backed by their experiences, cases, or sometimes by their "enlightened gift of smell”


They confuse social communication with strategic communication.


This is highly important because without a structured methodology where the sciences communication and strategy work, we fail to develop strategic communication, we only communicate, because strategy is the science of conceiving, activating, deciding, planning, executing, using and guiding the media at a particular time, place and space to achieve and / or maintain the set goals in a particular scenario.


This theory, based on a thorough 5-year research proposes a methodology for defining communication strategies, considering that the strategy is the nucleus and the motor driving the communication whit an integration of Mass communication and Strategy sciences.


In conclusion;


S+A = (S-rf + C.rf) = S= (S*) + M+C= (Sig1, chn, cod, sn, sig2) = C = (C*)

+ [Mng] £ S.C


“Without strategy we can only communicate. Only with strategy we can communicate strategically.” © Cristian Guerrero-Castro. 2011.