What is “strategic communication”? To many, it is synonymous with public diplomacy, but are they? Is it that strategic communication is simply engagement by the Defense Department and public diplomacy is engagement by the State Department?
To many in the Defense community, strategic communication encompasses public affairs. This is reflected in the comment by a senior Defense official who noted beliefs that strategic communication is “public affairs on steroids.” Personally, I have never heard public diplomacy similarly described.
I’m interested in thoughts on the difference between strategic communication (SC) and public diplomacy (PD).
I’ll fire off the first observation on the differences for your comment:
The difference is not merely semantic but based in differences in techniques, tactics, procedures, time horizons, and audiences. On the last point, audiences, strategic communication is global as it does include public affairs, the US public and US media. From the comments from the Secretary of Defense to the “orchestra chart“, the struggle to communicate is not restricted to audiences beyond our borders. In stark contrast, public diplomacy is exclusively aimed at audiences residing out the geographic borders of the United States at the moment of contact.
Back to you. What are your thoughts on strategic communication and public diplomacy, including or ignoring my above statement.