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Strategic Communication: The Discipline beyond Marketing &\ud Corporate Communications

By Klaus Oestreicher


Marketing and Corporate Communications suffer both from a general accepted definition, which leads to a differing corporate understanding and functional implementation. To this basic problem adds that the explosion of communication channels and means, but also turbulent markets of an over-communicating world resulted in blurring borderlines, of where one discipline starts and the other ends (Ries et al. 2001).\ud \ud Nevertheless both disciplines have different theoretical frameworks, which make marketing and corporate communications distinct. A third problem is that while Marketing and Marketing Communications have an established relationship, corporate communications and Public Relations are frequently confused. The overall result is a dilemma, which created a sceptical view in organisations for both disciplines impacting on available budgets and participation at organisational decision-making processes.\ud \ud German studies by the University of Mainz provided evidence that up to 60% of allocated budgets are wasted, since the functions of marketing and communication do not align their interventions sufficiently (Rolke. 2002). On the other hand, German studies demand that corporate communication, including marketing, needs to become a 360° address to stakeholders reducing controversial behaviour of the parties involved (Kirf et al. 2002). Johnson et al.’s strategy definition explicitly stresses stakeholder satisfaction as an organisational task (2008): “Information is everything” (Darendorff cited in Johannsen et al. 2001). French studies support this view and outline that marketing and communications need to collaborate closely and need to be strategically orientated recommending a communication and marketing cockpit (Libaert. 2003, Libaert et al. 2006, van Laethem. 2005, van Laethem et al. 2004).\ud \ud An approach to resolve the existing dilemma is the new discipline of Strategic Communication, which may be considered both as a discipline and an organisational function, by which marketing and communication strategies can be better managed, implemented, monitored and evaluated (Oestreicher. 2010). \ud \ud The international research of organisational rivalry between both functions directed to the development of a new strategic structure, which is presented in this paper relying on Steyn et al’s five strategy levels and offers a new concept allowing to position marketing and communication strategy more precisely and enables the overarching Strategic Communication to supervise tactics and interventions of both strategies for improved beneficial and more sustainable organisational outcomes in a value-oriented economy acting in hyper-competitive and turbulent markets (2009, 2010; 2002)

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