Today, strategic communications must be the quintessential core element of every business planning process.

Communication strategies today require us to passionately seek a deep, authentic point of alignment between our brand’s values and character and the interests and instincts of our various stakeholders. We must stand for something larger than ourselves. We need to communicate with creativity and emotion about that big idea, and we must also advocate for it arm-in-arm with our stakeholders. Recognizing how essential it is to fully understand our target constituents allows us to better direct the carefully crafted content of our messages to our targeted influential stakeholders.

As the leader of a company you must lead, but just as often be prepared to support, empower, educate and inform your stakeholders. Beyond dispute, the lines between advertising and PR, owned and earned media, have been blurred, with social media serving as the great communications connector. The explosion of information channels and sophisticated tools that help people navigate them have fundamentally shifted control into the hands of the readers and viewers, and away from professional content creators.

More than ever, our clients are seeking guidance and constantly looking to their PR/communications firms to provide clear solutions through this complex labyrinth and help them achieve their business goals. Just as essential as it is to recognize how communications today has changed and to embrace that change is delivering and measuring real value to stakeholders.

No matter how creative, compelling and emotional the appeal, companies must take a bold step into a new era of aligning their goals with their stakeholder expectations, and fueling trust and shared value across all audiences. The faster companies adapt, the more competitive they will become in this ever-changing, connected global marketplace.

At the nucleus of all these important considerations is a genuine measure of “the position of trust” that can be sustained within the target marketplace. Without the positioning of trust of what a company stands for, the integrity of the brand and its measurable value to stakeholders, companies clearly don’t establish the strength of connectivity so vital to any and all established ongoing relationships.

PR and communications professionals must become senior members of the group of business advisors who determine company policy and shape communications. This will allow us to stand with one foot on the policy side and one foot on the communications side. We can unseat the force for control, with our voice for our stakeholders and transparency.

Companies can no longer rely on the same ways of doing things. Our communications landscape has changed, and therefore, embracing these changes is essential to success.

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Submitted by Jack Berkman, president and CEO of Berkman.

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