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Strategic communications require adapting to change, experts say

Strategy emerges from practice and good strategic communications require adapting to change and connection between academics and practitioners, experts said at Stratcom Summit 2021 in Istanbul on Sunday.

“Strategic communication can and should change… that is very important. We cannot be resistant to changing our practice because it is written up somewhere in the strategy,” said Derina Holtzhausen, the dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication at Lamar University, the US.

Responding to Kilic Bugra Kanat, who moderated the session, Holtzhausen said: “Direct your strategy at the people, and how the people on the frontlines experience it.”

In political communication, said the communications professor from Texas, “your campaign workers have experiences that could not be imagined by the people who determine the strategy and might have feedback that is credibly important.”

Dejan Vercic, professor of communications and public relations at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, told the summit that strategic communications have three different realms including political, business, and social.

“The lines between these different realms are falling down because they are intermingling and that is (because of) internet,” said Vercic.

Internet, which he said has changed our times, “enables a completely different communication for which we were unprepared for.”

“We are empowering ourselves in completely new ways,” Vercic said, explaining how the use of the internet has brought independence in our daily lives.

Ana Tkalac Vercic, a communications professor at the University of Zagreb in Croatia, said her research found out there “is always a clash between human resources and corporate/strategy communications about who is going to lead the way in many aspects of internal communications of any organization.”

“Digitalization changed this process,” she said. “It completely changed the landscape.”

In strategic communications, she said, “people should really embrace research because this is going to be the tool to allow them to become strategic in what they do.”

She, however, rued lack of strategic communications arena.

“Lack of research affects strategic communications… on a higher level.”

The professor recommended “a bit more” communication between practitioners and academics. “The practitioners should use tools that academics develop and offer through instruments, methodologies, and approaches.”

“Academics should also listen more to practitioners and develop things that practitioners really need,” she said.

Turkey this weekend is hosting Stratcom Summit 2021, an international gathering to address compelling policies, issues, challenges, and trends of the strategic communication ecosystem, hosted by Turkey’s Directorate of Communications in Istanbul.

The two-day summit has brought together 112 speakers from over 30 countries and a distinguished audience of over 3,000.

Topics tackled at the summit have included strategic communication, public diplomacy, digital diplomacy, the metaverse, nation branding, disinformation, new media, open intelligence, new communication technologies and trends, strategic marketing, and political communication.

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