A Complete Guide to Strategic Management Communication For Leaders

4 years ago

Strategic communication is an umbrella term to describe the activities of disciplines including public relations, management communication, and advertising. However, strategic communication is also increasingly recognized as a developing subfield within communication.

What is Strategic Management Communication For Leaders?

Strategic management communication, or S-MM, is a broad understanding of communication activities as a strategic tool identified by the Academy of Management. It is a way of understanding business and communication. Within management education, it has achieved recognition as a new strategic tool in management education.

For example, a strategic manager may use a branding strategy to grow the reputation of the firm and to build goodwill with target audiences. This is the commonly accepted view of communication within organizations.

However, another important view of communication within the same organization is that it is more: A way to identify and employ communication tools, or a logical tool set to solve problems, or a set of human tools that enable managers and talk their way to work effectively.

Some authors claim that strategic management communication is the theory and research about the role of communication in organizational strategy, whereas organizational communication is the practice of implementing communication processes, methods, and practices across organizational units.

However, the needs of management communication and leadership communication differ.

The difference between the strategic communication’s virtual communications’ is that strategic communication is considered to be the use of communication media, with an emphasis on non-interactive or conventional mass communication, such as television, and print or electronic media.

With regard to leadership communication, many communication theorists consider the communication process as a fundamental skill that can and must be developed. Consequently structured and effective communication practices are seen as business skills and as integral parts of this activity.

In particular, charismatic and vision-driven managers do not say a lot in front of employees or the media. They often communicate through their actions, since they do not feel the need to use words as strongly. Additionally they communicate through their presence at the workplace, through their interpersonal interactions with employees and their reactions and attitudes to the world.

From this perspective, it is important to understand that a strategy can be adopted even if it is not objective to communicate it overtly. Moreover, there are actions that should be taken even if they are not formalized and communicated to others.

Strategic management communication is the use of communication tools to implement strategies. Strategic management communication’s ultimate goal is to not talk about communication (and strategies, of course). As a result, there are several perspectives on whether strategic management communication is best understood as the theory and research about the role of communication in organizational strategy, or as the practice of implementing communication processes, methods, and practices across organizational units.

Heavy focus is also given to the role of communication in different environments and contexts. This means that strategic management communication is a broader term that incorporates many different approaches and theories. Moreover, the relative importance of certain messages can mean the difference between a successful and a failed communication process.

Hence, it can make sense to use the strategic management communication term instead of the narrower management communication term, because it allows for a greater range of activities, including interpersonal communication and nonverbal communication.

It has been observed that some managers are effective without being communicators but others are not effective without being communicators.

It has also been observed that a successful managerial communicator must be a good leader. In short, they must be able to adopt an appropriate style to reach the desired effect on the audience and to inspire trust, and cooperation within their organizations.

What Organizations Are Strategic Management Communication For Leaders Used In?

As a mass media, the mass media are recognized for their influence on public opinion. As the ability to switch between multiple sources of information and entertainment, they are even more powerful than in past decades. The development of mass media has changed how we communicate and has affected our everyday lives. However, it can be said that mass media’s impact on our lives is also changing.

Characteristics of the mass media product should be:


Clear and effective communication through the mass media (press, TV, radio, conference, etc.) is an important dimension of their ability to serve as information sources. The media organization should make sure that the message is conveyed, so that everyone can understand it.


The mass media product must be able to deal with the latest issues of the time. That is why the term “emerging” can be quite appropriate for a product of the mass media. The mass media should be flexible and must always be ready to adapt to the changes in the environment. The mass media organization should be ready for change and should react to them in an appropriate manner.


Another important feature for the mass media product is the credibility of the message. The mass media is a channel for conveying information between an organization and the public, but it must be appreciated as a form of communication that does not have any hidden agenda.


Mass media products can be very complex. For example, press reports often contain a lot of information. A radio or TV broadcast can be complex in terms of the content (current events), in terms of the form (presentation and development of the message), in terms of the recipients (audience), and the nature of the communication (dual).


The mass media product provides a channel for communication between two or more parties. In a way, the mass media is a kind of a telephone switchboard that connects us with each other.


Compared to other types of communication, mass media allows for a globalization of a message between several participants. Globally, this type of communication is one of the most effective ways for transmitting messages.


The last characteristic of the mass media product is a public character. The mass media are better able to convince the audience to take specific actions. The larger the audience, the more the mass media can provide timely, relevant, and accurate information.

The common tools of communication are:


One of the primary reasons for communicating through speeches is the need to convey a new type of information to a new audience. For example, speeches are often associated with recruitment. A manager can decide to hire and deliver a speech to new employees during the induction process. Speeches are also considered to be one of the most effective ways of communication when it comes to conveying bad news.


The second common way of communication, meetings, are usually required to validate decisions (plan management, budgeting), provide information on the status of the company (explain a new product, a technological innovation, etc.). The meetings can be internal (inter-departmental meetings) or external (with partners, suppliers, etc.).


Newsletters are usually sent by organizations to their stakeholders, partners, suppliers, etc. Their purpose is to inform relevant people on major developments affecting the company (new products, technological innovations, etc.).

Newsletters may take the form of personal letters to the stakeholders, or be published on the website as blogs.

Team meetings

Team meetings are a very effective way to promote collaboration and strengthen teams. Meetings can serve the purpose of both goal definition and execution.

Communication tools can be considered as:

Internal communications

An organization has to communicate with people who work there. This means that internal communications take place between peers (manager-employee, employee-employee, etc.) and are only accessible internally.

External communications

These types of communications are usually performed with communities external to the organization. These can be suppliers, customers, the media, or the public in general.

Hybrid communications

In this case, communications take place in both directions: internal and external. This style of communication is often used when, for instance, the media has an interest in the results of the joint work being carried out between an organization and its partners.

Comparison of Internal and External Communication Tools

Internal Communication External Communication Intimacy and confidentiality. Not available Doubts arise among employees when using, trust proceeds from top down. More difficult to access. Large audience. Personal nature (one-to-one) Easier to be accessed. The information is correct and truthful. It is more difficult to find out who is the source of the information.

For most organizations, internal communication is not performed via the mass media. This is caused by the fact that all participants of an organization can communicate with each other directly. For example, the boss usually talks to his employees, and it is easier to communicate with all the staff.

On the other hand, external communication is often difficult to be performed. The above-mentioned difficulties are multiplied when it is necessary to talk to a large number of people (the mass media, the media).

Communication is one of the most important factors for achieving company’s goals. Modern organizations have found a channel for communication called the Internet. SEO companies implement the latest developments in the field of online marketing using Internet resources, not only to communicate with staff but also to protect the market against competitors.

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