“Selling” the Value of Strategic Communications

Author: Mike Kohler, Brian Lamb School Instructor

Back in the 90s, before Alabama regained control of college football, the Nebraska Cornhuskers dominated the game with a balance of defensive speed and a vaunted rushing attack.

When asked why his offense focused intensely on its ground game, legendary coach Tom Osborne answered logically. He noted that when you pass the ball, there are three possible outcomes – and two of them are bad!

That pretty much describes the challenge of finding the ideal employers for strategic communications professionals.

Yes, it’s possible to complete the occasional long bomb to a fleet receiver. That is, you see the posting by a marcom-savvy employer who understands the value of strategic communication professionals and wants more of it.

How many of those long bombs do you see in a typical game, though?

More often you find employers who have vague notions of what strategic communication professionals might be, so they post task-oriented positions that they think make them “players.” That would be your incomplete pass.

Then, sadly, you find many who do not even have communication professionals, let alone the strategic kind, on their radar. You know you could help them, but you face the uphill task of even earning a conversation first.

Yep … that’s the intercepted pass.

So how do aspiring strategic communication professionals get on the scoreboard? By developing a game plan that shows the organization how your scheme translates to big wins.
 
To “sell” your scheme, it’s best to focus on the metrics that make a big difference in any organization. A few benefits of strategic communication professionals that get even a Chief Financial Officer’s attention might be these:

  • Reduced employee turnover resulting in lower cost-to-hire.
  • Improved sales support resulting in stickier sales.
  • Greater productivity due to better understanding of interdependencies.

Talking the language of business is likely to be the best section of your professional advancement playbook.

Learn More About Professional Advancement in Strategic Communications
Mike Kohler is a member of the online faculty of Purdue’s online Master of Science in Communication degree program. The program can be completed in just 10 course (20 months) and covers numerous topics critical for advancement in the communication industry, including crisis communication, social media engagement, focus group planning and implementation, survey design and survey analysis, public relations theory, professional writing, and communication ethics.

About the Author
Mike Kohler has been a business owner, business coach and communication consultant. He has served as a communications vice president for two of the largest U.S. broadband companies and as a marketing and communications consultant for all types and sizes of organizations.  Stemming from his experience as both a franchisee and master franchisor, Kohler co-authored The Educated Franchisee, a guide for prospective entrepreneurs. He earned his MBA and a Bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.