Strategic communication in SMEs

This module introduces you to the purposes, tools and practices of strategic communication in small and medium sized enterprises. The module consists of two parts: The Introduction to strategic communication and case studies of Danish SMEs. The introduction to strategic communication is in English, the case studies are Danish-speaking, but have English subtitles. At the end of this page, you find some tips for applicants looking to work with strategic communication in SMEs. 

Part 1: Introduction to Strategic Communication

In this 45 minute video Trine Susanne Johansen (Associate Professor in English Business Communication) and Cathrin Bengesser (Assistant Professor for Digital Media Industries) introduce the topic of strategic communication. The video consists of five chapters:  

  • Definition of strategic communication 

  • Working contexts in which we use strategic communication 

  • Analysis of communication problems and target audiences 

  • The communication plan 

  • Application strategies for jobs in strategic communication 

We recommend that you take a short break after each chapter. 

Part 2: Strategic Communication Case Studies

In the case studies you will hear from Danish SMEs and how they use strategic communication towards customers, suppliers and other stakeholders around their business. These case studies will give you an insight into the concrete tasks that communication jobs, show you innovative ideas for strategic communication in SMEs and explain which skills are needed. The interviews are in Danish but have English subtitles. 

World Translation (Tilst) is a supplier of translation services for companies operating in Danish, German and English speaking markets. In the video the company’s Chief Operating Officer Marion Randelshofer explains some of the special challenges of strategic communication across cultures, shows you different ways to make corporate websites more engaging and gives an overview of relevant tools for communication managers.

Music: “Creative Minds” from  

PICit (Aarhus) is an IT company in the logistics business, which supplies IT solutions around transport and cargo. In this video, Marketing Coordinator Stine Kærgaard tells you about her everyday as a strategic communicator in a fast-growing SME. She explains why strategic communication is also relevant within companies and shows you how the company matches their communication to the needs and interests of their customers. She shares her experiences as a graduate and advocates for an open-minded attitude towards businesses that appear to be outside the comfort zone of Arts graduates. 

Music: “Creative Minds” from  

Tips for applicants

Strategic communication means “making communication work strategically for an organization”. If you are thinking about applying for a role in the strategic communication of an SME, you can use your application to show that you have an understanding of who the company communicates with, why and how they do so. Given that SMEs often do not have separate communication departments or dedicated communication roles, strategic communication may also become one of your tasks if you are applying for a role that first does not look like one of strategic communication.  

To get a better idea of the strategic communication of a specific company, you can start with mapping the kinds of stakeholders the company communicates with (e.g. suppliers, customers, their own staff). Note that SMEs are often active in the Business-to-Business (B2B) sector, which means that they will communicate with other companies rather than customers in the general public. In the next step, think about which communication problems they will have to solve on a regular basis (e.g. introducing new products to customers, maintaining or adapting their brand image, recruiting new employees…). You can also start to investigate the forms of strategic communication the company is already using to speak to the various stakeholders and solve communication problems. Company websites and social media are a good starting point. But be mindful that not all strategic communication is or has to be online and digital these days.  

Knowing about the communication tasks, target audiences and the formats the company is already using, will give you a better idea of the kinds of skills and knowledge you might want to highlight in your application. 

To find out more about how to apply for a job at an SME check out our module How to Apply for a Job