Communication Planning: An Integrated Approach
Publication Year: 1999
The nature of the communicator's job has changed dramatically over the last decade. While communicators still prepare speeches, press releases and articles for corporate magazines, they are now being asked to perform managerial duties such as planning, consulting stakeholders and advising CEO's and vice presidents. Communication Planning focuses on these additional responsibilities and examines the role of integrated planning in modern organizations. Sherry Ferguson's comprehensive study includes the theoretical foundations of communication planning and strategic approaches to planning for issues management.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
Part I: Strategic Planning Cultures
- Chapter 1: The Making of Strategic Planning Cultures
- Getting Ready for Strategic Planning
- Engaging in Strategic Planning
- Chapter 2: The Role of Integrated Communication Planning
- Planning Exigencies
- Communication Planning Systems
- Different Types of Communication Plans: Purposes and Content
Part II: Integrated Planning Processes
- Chapter 3: Writing the Strategic Communication Plan (Multiyear or Annual)
- Planning Processes: Who, How, and When
- Principles for Writing the Plan
- Steps in Creating the Plan
- Chapter 4: Writing the Multiyear or Annual Operational and Work Plans
- Operational Communication Planning
- Communication Work Planning
- Chapter 5: Writing the Communication Support Plan: Planning for Special Events, Campaigns, and Issues
- Purposes and Characteristics of Support Plans
- Components of a Support Plan
- Chapter 6: Writing the Contingency Plan for Crises
- Writing the Crisis Management Plan
- Communication Component
Part III: Communication Theories: The Foundation for Planning
- Chapter 7: Understanding the Psychology of Audiences: Beliefs, Attitudes, Values, and Needs
- The Influence of Beliefs, Attitudes, and Values on How Audiences Receive Messages
- Needs and Personality
- Chapter 8: The Bases of Source Credibility
- Impact of Source Credibility on Communication
- Source Credibility Factors
- The Language of Television: Effects on Source Credibility
- Chapter 9: Message Design: Perception, Cognition, and Information Acquisition
- Penetrating the Perceptual Screen
- Selective Exposure, Perception, and Attention
- Comprehension of Information
- Retention and Recall of Information
- Learning Theories: Instrumental, Operational, and Social Learning
- Chapter 10: Message Design: Theories of Persuasion
- Message Content
- Organization of Messages
- Message Strategies
- Chapter 11: Choosing the Channel: Lessons Learned
- How People Use the Media
- Media Successes at Raising Awareness and Influencing Attitudes and Behavior
- Limitations on the Effectiveness of Media: Influential Variables
- Improving the Effectiveness of the Media
- Agenda Setting
Part IV: Strategic Approaches
- Chapter 12: Strategic Approaches to Planning for Issues Management
- Ownership of the Issue: Sole or Shared?
- Who Shares Responsibility for Managing the Issue?
- Characteristics of the Issue
- Controllability of the Issue
- Helping the Public to Reach Social Judgment on Issues
- Chapter 13: Planning Cooperative Strategies: Partnering, Consulting, and Negotiating
- Trends toward Partnering and Sharing of Resources
- Building Consultation Strategies into One's Plan
- Negotiation Strategies
Sage Series in Public Relations[Page ii]
Robert L. Heath and Gabriel M. Vasquez
Embracing ideas as old as the rhetorical heritage of Western Civilization and as new as theoretical models that draw on social science, the Sage Series in Public Relations comprises the work of academics and professional practitioners. Combining theory and practice, authors seek to redefine the field through thoughtful examinations of the breadth and depth of public relations. Books in the series may offer emphasis on theory, research foundations, or practice, but all focus on advancing public relations excellence. The series publishes work devoted to the principle that public relations adds economic, sociopolitical, and cultural value to society, particularly those based on democratic ideals.
Books in this series:
Communication Planning: An Integrated Approach
Sherry Devereaux Ferguson
Ongoing Crisis Communication: Planning, Managing, and Responding
W. Timothy Coombs
Copyright © 1999 by Sage Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
SAGE Publications, Inc.
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SAGE Publications India Pvt. Ltd.
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Printed in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Ferguson, Sherry Devereaux.
Communication planning: An integrated approach / by Sherry Devereaux Ferguson.
p. cm. — (Sage series in public relations; v. 1)
ISBN 0-7619-1313-0 (cloth: alk. paper)
ISBN 0-7619-1314-9 (pbk.: alk. paper)
1. Communication planning. I. Title. II. Series.
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
99 00 01 02 03 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Acquiring Editor: Margaret H. Seawell
Editorial Assistant: Renee Piernot
Production Editor: Astrid Virding
Editorial Assistant: Patricia Zeman
Designer/Typesetter: Janelle LeMaster
Cover Designer: Candice Harman
Pilot, engineer, artist professor, husband, father, friend … Pour les bons temps[Page vi]
The goal of Communication Planning: An Integrated Approach is to expose students, practitioners, and consultants to the role of integrated communication planning in modern organizations. The book brings together several converging trends. First, the book recognizes the importance of integrating communication with business planning. Second, the book acknowledges the current trend toward a cross-functional approach to planning, which integrates public relations, marketing communications, and advertising strategies (integrated marketing communications [IMC]). Third, the book stresses the importance of establishing strategic planning cultures in organizations. Finally, the book acknowledges a trend toward integration of roles traditionally labeled as “organizational communication” and “public relations” A systems view demands that these two roles come together in the planning process.
The book is divided into four parts: strategic planning cultures, integrated planning processes, communication theories, and strategic approaches. Part I discusses the measures necessary to establish strategic planning cultures in organizations and the role of communication in these planning cultures. It also includes an analysis of the relationship between corporate, business, and communication planning. High levels of cooperation between communication and corporate planners ensure that communication plans reflect the priorities of the larger organization. Part II explores integrated planning processes and explains how to write the following kinds of communication plans:[Page xii]
- Multiyear (or annual) plans that suggest broad communication strategies for public relations, marketing communications, and advertising
- Multiyear (or annual) operational plans that explain how these strategies will be implemented
- Work plans that assign areas of responsibility, set milestones and performance indicators, suggest evaluation tools, and allocate budgets
- Support plans for information campaigns, advertising and marketing communications campaigns, issues management, and other action plans
- Plans for managing crisis communications
Part III examines the theoretical foundations for communication planning. Topics include the psychology of audiences, theories of media use and influence, source credibility, learning and persuasion theories relevant to message design, and considerations in choosing the channel of communication. These discussions integrate literature relevant to the design and execution of public relations, marketing communications, advertising, and employee communication activities and campaigns. Part IV examines strategic approaches to planning for issues management and the trend toward partnerships and sharing of resources, evidenced in relations within and between organizations.
This book offers value to the student of public relations, marketing communications, advertising, and organizational communication. The nature of the communicator's job has shifted dramatically in the past decade from a service-oriented to a management-oriented and strategic function. Communicators still perform services such as preparing speeches, advertising copy, press releases, and articles for corporate magazines and employee newsletters. An increasing number of communication managers, however, sit on executive committees and offer advice to chief executive officers and vice presidents. Others fill strategic roles that involve tracking issues in the media, consulting with stakeholders (inside and outside the organization), and evaluating their success against performance indicators. Those involved in planning processes often work together to ensure that their efforts are integrated—that they make maximum use of the organization's resources. In this book, I attempt to provide fresh, up-to-date perspectives on the changing role of the communicator in end-of-the-century organizations.
No other book on the market takes such a comprehensive approach to planning. A typical public relations text devotes one short chapter at best (a couple of pages at worst) to planning systems and processes, and most [Page xiii]authors use the term planning to mean planning for a public relations, marketing communications, political, or health information campaign. This form of planning is only one type of planning exercise. Such discussions do not identify the range of plans that an organization can produce or talk about the relationship among the different layers of planning. This is the only book on the market that provides well-developed samples of strategic, operational, and work plans that can serve as models for communication planners.
Few authors stress the importance of information-based planning—that is, using opinion, attitudinal, and behavioral research as a foundation for communication strategies. None explain how to establish performance indicators that can tell the communication group when they have achieved success in their endeavors. In the same way, few books identify the strategic role played by communicators or talk about the necessity to integrate communication planning with business and corporate planning. Most authors fail to situate communication planning as a critical organizational communication function. This book is an attempt to correct these deficiencies.
A recent trend toward talking about the importance of integrating promotional, marketing communications, and advertising activities within the organization promises to close some of these gaps. Much of the current literature resides in the field of marketing, however, and the insights of communication researchers do not always appear in this literature. In this book, I try to integrate the perspectives of the three fields of study by examining communication planning as a generic organizational function. The more we apply systems theory to organizations, the more difficult it becomes to argue for territoriality, especially among communication-related functions. For this reason, I titled the book Communication Planning: An Integrated Approach.
In conclusion, Communication Planning: An Integrated Approach makes eight important contributions. First, the book acknowledges the current trend toward integrating the activities of public relations, marketing communications, and advertising in planning—that is, an IMC approach. Second, it establishes all these activities within the larger organizational context. That is, the book establishes a framework for communication planning, defining the relationships between the different kinds of plans and between communication and business planning. Third, the book argues that communication planning is a fundamental organizational function, which includes planning for internal and external audiences. If planning is a management function, it is also an organizational communication function. Fourth, the book defines the component parts of each type of communication plan that can be produced [Page xiv]by the organization. It explains how to write an annual or multiyear plan that fits with the corporate or business plan, how to write an annual or multiyear plan that operationalizes the ideas in the strategic plan, how to write a yearly work plan and support plans for communication activities and campaigns, and how to write a contingency plan for crisis communications. Fifth, the book contributes to the development of a grammar for discussing planning products and processes. There is currently no common terminology for describing communication planning processes. Sixth, the book draws on many theories (audience psychology, theories of media use and influence, source credibility, and learning and persuasion) in discussing the design of communication strategies. Seventh, the book recognizes the importance of researching the opinion, attitudinal, and behavioral environment to develop information-based strategies. Finally, the book discusses the necessity to develop performance indicators to be applied in judging the effectiveness of communication strategies. Some performance indicators relate to outcomes and others to outputs, impacts, processes, and ethics. The communication plans include examples of performance indicators.
I draw on a large experiential bank built on more than a decade of teaching communication planning to managers and executives who work in the fields of public affairs, marketing communications, and advertising. Market tested with government and business executives, this material has undergone extensive revisions over a period of years. The earlier incarnation of these ideas appeared in the book Mastering the Public Opinion Challenge, which received the 1994 National Communication Association PRIDE award for innovativeness of approach.
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