COMS104-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018

Introduction to Strategic Communication

15 points
16 Jul 2018 - 18 Nov 2018


This course examines the role of strategic communication in society as an economic and political force. Strategic communication attempts to persuade and argue for a particular position that one is advocating for - whether that be on behalf of a business, a governmental policy, or a social cause. Obvious examples from within media are public relations and advertising, however, this course will examine how sponsored messaging has affected social institutions, from education to politics to media to health to philanthropy. The second half of the course is focused on building the skills necessary to create effective strategic messages.

COMS104 is a 15-point course introducing you to the academic study of how politicians, non-profit organisations and corporations strategically employ strategic communication. It introduces the key concepts and theoretical approaches that are used to examine issues in strategic communication and lays the foundation for further specialised studies. It is a stage 1 course and does not assume any prior knowledge. COMS104 is taught though one two hour lecture and a tutorial each week. It should go without saying that you are expected to attend both lectures and tutorials. You will get most from the course if you attend both regularly.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge gained from this course:
1. recognise the role of strategic communication in producing and circulating ideas about identity, culture, and nation
2. understand theories put forth by key scholars examining strategic communication, including Wilson, Smith, Friedman and Patel.
3. the ability to describe political and corporate potentialities of present and emergent media forms for strategic communication
4. identify processes of strategic communication in the construction of media content
5. understand the value of strategic communication toward, and in opposition to, democracy
6. recognize principles of strategic communication, including defining target audiences and effective messaging

Skills gained from this course:
7. apply basic strategic communication theories and principles to fundamental practice
8. produce arguments over the ethical components to strategic communication
9. research issues in strategic communication using academic and professional books, journals, and online sources
10. analyse strategic communication texts in relation to economic, political and cultural fields
11. write a well structured academic essay exploring strategic communication as a field of study with confidence and clarity
12. discuss the ideas and processes shaping strategic communication

Personal attributes gained after taking this course:
13. experience in applying strategic communication theory to specific professional strategic outcomes
14. development of written communication skills
15. sharpened organisational and analytical skills

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Employable, innovative and enterprising

Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

Biculturally competent and confident

Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

Engaged with the community

Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.

Globally aware

Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.

Timetable 2018

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
1 Wednesday 11:00 - 13:00 A6 Lecture Theatre 16 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
1 Friday 09:00 - 10:00 Karl Popper 612 23 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct
2 Wednesday 14:00 - 15:00 Geography 602 23 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct
3 Thursday 09:00 - 10:00 Karl Popper 612 23 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct
4 Tuesday 09:00 - 10:00 Geography 602 23 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct

Course Coordinator

WanChi Leung


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Library Exercise 01 Aug 2018 5% Submit on Learn.
Participation in tutorials 7% You need to attend and participate in at least 7 tutorials
Professional strategic writing assignments 28% 7 assignments throughout the semester, each no longer than 400 words.
Campaign Analysis 28 Sep 2018 30% Word limit: 1500.
Final Test 30% Held last day of class.


Readings listed in the lecture are available on the Learn homepage.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $746.00

International fee $3,038.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences.

All COMS104 Occurrences

  • COMS104-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018