Five shifts from tactical to strategic communications

Is your comms team often seen as order takers and deliverers of stuff?

It’s a common problem many teams face where they aren’t seen as helping the business in meaningful ways or positively impacting its strategic priorities. We desperately need to change both how comms sees itself and how its seen by the business – and that change starts with the communicator’s mindset.

For Kademy, strategic communication is a mindset. You can’t DO strategic communication. You must BE a strategic thinker. And the best way to discuss that is by considering the necessary shifts in that thinking.

Here are five shifts your comms team can make to move from tactics to strategy:

1. Business outcomes ahead of tactics

Know what your organisation’s priorities are and shift from delivering tactics to delivering business results.

2. Audience beyond channels

Consider first what audience you need to reach in order to meet the organisational objectives. Then determine the best channels to make that happen.

3. Behaviour and understanding

To deliver business results, communications need to go beyond simply driving understanding, to targeting the specific behaviour change the business requires.

4. Think before do

Think through the communications plan and the business objectives before producing any collateral.

5. Future and present

Consider future impacts of communications in addition to those immediately present. What are you doing now to meet the necessary future results?

What all these shifts mean for a communications function are less tactics, limited firefighting, fewer channels, the ability to push back on requests that don’t connect to business priorities, and increased business understanding.

Put these shifts together and you’re thinking about the business’ future by focusing on your audiences in order to change behaviours to achieve business results.


We’ve included these five shifts in our guide, From Tactical to Strategic: How to help your communications team add more business value which will work through what you can do to help your communications team to be more strategic:

  • Make the shift from tactics to strategy.
  • Understand whether your team’s current approach is more tactical or strategic.
  • Equip your team with the tools to be more strategic when working with stakeholders.
  • Identify barriers that are getting in the way – and how to overcome them.

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