Business Acumen for Strategic Communicators: A Primer

Matthew W. Ragas
DePaul University, USA

Ron Culp
DePaul University, USA

Product Details
01 Mar 2021
Emerald Publishing Limited
336 pages - 152 x 229mm
Business acumen has emerged as a critical competency for communicators. But if you’re a public relations, advertising or communication professional that didn’t go to business school, how can you make sure you have the abilities and skills to evolve along with your role?  

Business Acumen for Strategic Communicators is the book for you. Offering a critical primer for the world of business, Ragas and Culp equip you with the must-have business know-how needed to understand everything from the language and thinking of C-suites and boardrooms, to organizational agility, business models, rules and regulations, the money and the numbers, and even how to read financial statements and reports. 

Written for communicators by communicators, the concepts in each chapter are illustrated by expert insight essays written by a diverse group of senior communications leaders, and packed full of case studies, interviews, key terms and cutting-edge research. Brands profiled include Aflac, Costco, CVS Health, Levi Strauss, Mayo Clinic, Southwest Airlines, Target and YMCA of America. With these critical business literacy skills in hand, you will be set to serve with success as strategic counselors to the organizational leaders that are your colleagues, clients, and business partners.
PART I. Introduction 
Chapter 1. Strategic Communications and Business Acumen 
PART II. Guiding Approaches to Business 
Chapter 2. Growth, Innovation and Change 
Chapter 3. Agile and Lean Management 
Chapter 4. The Purpose-Driven Enterprise 
PART III. The People 
Chapter 5. Stakeholders and Society 
Chapter 6. The Board of Directors and the C-suite 
PART IV. The Money and the Numbers 
Chapter 7. Finance and the Capital Markets 
Chapter 8. Financial Statements and Valuation Essentials 
Chapter 9. Corporate Disclosure: Laws, Rules and Regulations 
PART V. Business Models 
Chapter 10. Strategic Communication Agencies and Consultancies 
Chapter 11. In-House Communication Departments and Teams 
PART VI. Practice Makes Perfect 
Chapter 12. Business Acumen and Professional Development
Matthew W. Ragas, PhD and Ron Culp are on the public relations faculty in the College of Communication at DePaul University in Chicago, USA where they help develop the next generation of communication leaders. They are the co-editors of Mastering Business for Strategic Communicators.
This book tackles the top question I hear from communicators all over the world. What is the one x-factor that gives communications leaders the guts to speak up and shape critical C-suite affairs? If you're in business, there are few things more important than understanding how businesses really work. Stepping up your business acumen is always time well invested. - Stacey M. Tank, Chief Transformation & Corporate Affairs Officer, Heineken N.V.

Business Acumen for Strategic Communication is an important read for anyone building a career in public relations. The book provides a compelling view into how business I.Q. makes communicators better at their craft, and how it lays the groundwork necessary to bring an informed, powerful voice to corporate decision-making. It is thought-provoking while also providing important, practical advice. - Andy Polansky, Chairman & CEO, IPG DXTRA & Executive Chairman, Weber Shandwick

Understanding and explaining how business works is one of the most important tools that a strategic communicator can have. This book gives those looking to enter strategic communications, and those already in the field, great tools and skills to advance their careers. If you want to take a leading role in your organization, this is the book for you. - Chris Roush, Quinnipiac University

Matt Ragas and Ron Culp have provided communicators with a trifecta of business knowledge. Their first book provided the what, their second book explained the why, and now Business Acumen for Strategic Communicators: A Primer gives us the how of developing business acumen in our field. Once again, Ragas and Culp have made the language of business accessible to educators, students, and professionals alike. - Sandra Duhé, MBA, Ph.D., Southern Methodist University, USA

For a number of years, I have told anyone who would listen that the principal shortcoming among professional communicators - and the chief threat to their careers - is not a lack of skill or experience in communication. The vast majority of PR and Corp Comm pros can write and speak well enough. The problem is their lack of understanding about the basics of business. Matt Ragas and Ron Culp, noted authors in this space for some time, have answered the call. This is the book you've been looking for because it's written with professional, strategic communicators in mind. Leave your highlighter in the drawer - it's all valuable. If you want a career in Public Relations or Corporate Communication, this is the book. - James Scofield O’Rourke, IV, Ph.D., Professor of Management, University of Notre Dame

This book arrives at a pivotal junction for the strategic communication industry, when business literacy and performance will clearly separate effective from ineffective practices in a time of constant disruption and change. The publication includes expert insights from diverse voices and highlights the need to balance societal values with financial necessities. - Juan-Carlos Molleda, Ph.D., Edwin L. Artzt Dean and Professor, University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication

This book is a must-read for every communication professional aspiring to middle- and upper-management communication positions. The authors leverage their several decades of corporate communication experience and lessons learned into to bring us this book that provides a clear-cut presentation of the business enterprise and knowledge communication professionals need to work effectively to help their organizations actualize their missions and visions and achieve their short- and long-term goals. - Damion Waymer, Professor and Chair, Department of Advertising & Public Relations, The University of Alabama

Business Acumen for Strategic Communicators: A Primer proves business acumen is a critical capability for communication practitioners and essential to accelerate business priorities, drive innovation, and produce results. This book is a great reference for today's communicator to broaden their knowledge on the impact of sharpening their business acumen to gain greater credibility with executive leadership, increase their productivity and enhance their careers. - Yanique Woodall, Adjunct Faculty, George Washington University and Hofstra University

It is important that the Chief Communication Officer has a 'seat at the table' when business decisions are being made. One of the main handicaps for CCO's has been the relative lack of business and operational experience to give them equal credibility with their C-suite peers. Authors Ron Culp and Matt Regas are addressing this issue by providing business basics for communication professionals. It is a must read for those in the communications profession who know that being a member of their organization's management team requires a wholistic understanding of business operations. - Jerry Giaquinta, J.D., Ph.D., University of Southern California, Academic Director, World Bachelor in Business Program, Professor, Clinical Dept. of Business Communication, Marshall School of Business

I highly recommend Business Acumen for Strategic Communications be required reading for all public relations and strategic communication principles, campaigns, and management courses. It is a welcome addition to understand the business side of public relations practice - well-organized, very readable, and focused on the important concepts such as business leadership, finance, and budgeting; with key terms, and insightful discussion questions. - Elizabeth L. Toth, Ph.D., Professor, University of Maryland, College Park

This new edition of Business Acumen ought to be required reading by every student seeking a career in PR or strategic communications, regardless of whether the student plans on going into entertainment PR, healthcare or consumer products. The book provides a highly relevant, practical and readable primer explaining not only what today's comms student needs to know about business but why the student needs to know it. One of the most valuable features of this book are the personal essays written by some of today's top industry leaders. As varied as their career journeys are, a single thread runs through them all: that they would not have risen to the positions they have today had it not been for their commitment to achieving a high level of business acumen. - Shelley J. Spector, Founder/Director, Museum of Public Relations

Excellent read, and a valuable resource for anyone in communications, from students to proven executives! It is no longer sufficient to simply support business goals from a communications standpoint, and the content of Business Acumen for Strategic Communicators outlines the quintessential skills that communications leaders require to succeed in a modern organization. Supported by perspectives from top-tier executives who have lived through the rapid evolution of strategic communications, Business Acumen goes deeper than finance and corporate skills, and includes valuable content around board and c-suite management, stakeholder engagement, and integrating DE&I and purpose into transformative strategies. - Peter W. McDermott, Senior Client Partner, Corporate Affairs and IR, Korn Ferry

Ragas and Culp's new tome could not be timelier. It offers students and professionals alike the keys to understand communication's connection to today's business demands in an accessible and engaging synthesis of information essentials, industry data, and business cases and testimonials. It's a must for any course in PR or strategic communication management. - María E. Len-Ríos, Ph.D., Associate Dean and Professor, Advertising & Public Relations Department, The University of Georgia

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