Strategic communication

Strategic communication

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Developing Business Models for Communications and Advancing the Profile of Communicators

Professional communication drives success in many ways: communication builds relationships, drives sales, shapes public opinion, supports identities, brands and reputation, and secures the license to operate. Many new channels, formats and technologies are available. But resources are scarce and they won’t rise after the pandemic. You may have asked yourself: should we rather invest in Clubhouse, chatbots or a virtual event? Is it more important to build reputation with politicians, increase share of voice in the media or foster employee engagement? Are these activities – and is communication in general – really important for the overall success of the organisation? How can we solve the gap between long-term impact and daily requirements of a 24/7 media environment? These questions force us to reflect upon the fundamental relationship between communication and corporate success. Every organisation needs a suitable business model for its communication department, which helps practitioners to operate smoothly in a turbulent world, create overall value, and explain this to top management.

The basic concept in this course is strategic communication. Not all communication activities in an organisation are strategic – in fact, most are not. Many large and expensive campaigns might be necessary and useful, but quite operational from a management point of view. They support day-to-day work, but don’t make a difference, as competitors act similarly.

Strategic communication, on the other hand, encompasses all communication that is substantial for the survival and sustained success of an organisation, a brand, a person or a function. Managing communication ensures that communication is used purposefully to engage in conversations of strategic or operational significance to organisational goals. This means: it’s all about the impact on value creation, not only about the success of corporate communications in the media or among stakeholders. What is needed is a business model for communications – a model that describes the rationale of how a communication department creates, delivers, and captures value for an organisation. This will be different for any organisation and it might change over time. It depends on the scope, set-up and tradition of the organisation, the expectations of top management and other executives, and the ambitions of the communicators in charge.

This course will introduce different management tools for analysis, for aligning communication to corporate goals, and for positioning communication departments and communicators within organisations. You will learn techniques in interactive sessions, share experiences with peers working in different organisational setups, and talk to seasoned chief communication officers about their experiences. This helps you to apply strategic thinking in your own organisation and for your future career.

In the online version of this course you will join our virtual classroom by using the ZOOM application.

You will experience the full masterclass including lectures, exercises, case studies, group work, review sessions, which have all been redesigned to meet the needs of online education. Professor Ansgar Zerfass is a very experienced professor who will guide you through the sessions and ensures a balanced programme. The masterclass has been divided over four days in a week’s time, to make sure you have enough time in between the sessions to digest the information, and to optimise your personal input and output.

During breaks and after concluding the masterclass, we offer more opportunity to get to know your fellow participants better and keep building your network, with help of social networking technology.

  • This masterclass is for all communication professionals who need a suitable business model for its communication department to create values for their organisations, to enhance their personal profile as communication leader, next-generation leader, or consultant coaching communicators and general managers. 

    The format and content of the course will include instructor lectures, readings, guest speakers, case studies and discussions. Participants are expected to share their experiences, including successes and failures, to contribute to our collective knowledge regarding what works and what doesn’t.

    Participants for this course are advised to hold at least 3+ years of working experience.

  • Leading lecturer:

    Professor Ansgar Zerfass

    Ansgar Zerfass is professor and chair of strategic communication at the Institute of Communication and Media Studies at the University of Leipzig, Germany. He has published 39 books and more than 400 journal articles, book chapters, and study reports in several languages so far. According to Google Scholar, Ansgar is the world’s most-cited researcher in strategic communication, corporate communication, and communication management, and among the top 3 in public relations. He runs a large number of empirical projects, for example as initiator and lead researcher for the Global Communication Monitor study series, the world's largest research project on strategic communication covering more than 80 countries.

    Guest speakers:

    Judith Coster, vice-president corporate communications -KLM

    Judith Coster has been a reputation and change manager for over 20 years. She is specialised in corporate communication, creating and implementing communication strategies, reputation management and crisis communication. At KLM, Judith is responsible for the airlines’ global reputation. She is a trusted advisor to the CEO and executive committee and manages a team with 48 professionals.

    Julia Huhn, head of communications - Santander Consumer Bank

    Julia Huhn is a passionate communications professional with a strong expertise in strategy, operational excellence and transformation processes. She is a founding member of the Modern Leaders Initiative by PRCC HR Consulting. She has also held several positions at Henkel. In her last role at Henkel, she was the global head of corporate branding and communications strategy.

    Christoph Lautenbach, managing partner - Lautenbach Sass

    Christoph has helped inter­national organisations to align communications with corporate strategy for more than 25 years. His mission is to ensure that communication contributes to overall value creation. Christoph is a proven expert in developing communication strategies as well as in designing operating models for communication across disciplines and organisational borders.

    Veronika Zimmer, senior consultant – Lautenbach Sass

    Veronika supports clients from different industries in the development of communication strategies, aligning communication objectives with corporate strategy and evaluating the value contribution of corporate communications. She supports communication departments in adapting their structures, roles and processes to agile require­ments and finding future-proof operating models.

  • Dates
    A new date is coming soon

    The course fee: € 2.800,-, includes tuition, course material and refreshments

    Cancellation policy
    To receive a full refund, a written notice of cancellation must be send to within a term of thirty (30) calendar days after receipt of the written confirmation of the registration, unless the start date of the course programme is within the term.

    Accordingly, the cancellation fee is calculated as follows:

    • 25% of the programme fee if the cancellation notice is received 30 days or more before the start date;
    • 75% of the programme fee if the cancellation notice is received between 29 and 15 days before the start date;
    • 100% of the programme fee if the cancellation notice is received 14 days or less before the start date;
    • 100% of the programme fee if the cancellation notice is received after the programme has started.

    For more details, please view here the complete General Terms and Conditions.

    The participant can be substituted by someone from the same organisation on the same course without extra costs.

  • You can apply with our online application form:

Interested in an executive master degree?

This course can also be taken as part of RSM's part-time Executive Master in Corporate Communication, a flexible and accredited master programme for communications professionals. Find out more: