About the Field of Communication Management

The Universal Language of Communication
It’s no surprise that organizations with a cohesive, comprehensive approach to communication strategy are among the most profitable. From the mailroom to the boardroom, successful communication is the linchpin to successful operation. The workplace, especially rivals, are taking notice and effecting change to stay competitive.

The Art of Communication

A communicator’s job is to translate — explain, describe, host, speak and write; make the unknown known; cut through clutter and capture attention; transform complex ideas, research and data to bring them to life. But the landscape of communication has changed as organizations that rely on it have adapted to the needs of their communities.

One of the biggest changes is how they communicate. Communication has gone digital, and with digital communication comes the associated challenges — it is instant, global and archival. What you “say” can be distributed quickly across the world and is easily retrieved. For communication professionals, the implications are huge; yesterday’s methodology no longer applies. They need supplemental skills to complement the basics of “how” to send a message, and they need training that can keep up with the pace of the digital world.

The Science of Communication

The digital world demands substantiation. Tens of thousands of resources exist to prove or disprove, support or refute, and it’s imperative for communication professionals to be able to separate the good from the bad. They need guidance to ground their strategy in reliable evidence. How to communicate may have serious considerations, but they all become secondary to the message itself — the “what.”

Defining communication strategy with measurable outcomes is among the biggest obstacles facing today’s communication professional. What do you want to accomplish? How will you identify success? Too often communicators don’t have the data to back up what they think needs to be done, or the effect of what has been done. And without those analytics, they lose the ear of the people who matter — front-line managers, C-suite executives, cross-departmental stakeholders and customers. Data-driven measurement provides the foundation for effective communication management, regardless of the speed of “how.”

The Evolving Landscape

The dichotomy of communication pits theory and research against the need for actionable strategy. And two factors make communication even more complex. First, the need for flexibility and personalization — seldom does a “best practices” approach, applied to the letter, yield appropriate results from one organization to another. Second, the answer to yesterday’s problem rarely fits today’s needs, let alone those of the future.

To be successful, communication professionals require specialized training to productively and adroitly apply theory and research to modern needs. More and more, they recognize that the value of a graduate degree is found in its ability to marry the two.

Communicators need a graduate degree with more focus on creativity, technology, conflict management and the interconnectivity of personal relationships. They want to design communication strategy and elevate their execution, striving to gain knowledge and develop skills that keep them at the leading edge of communication best practices. Business models are changing, as are the demands on communication professionals.

Bringing It All Together

The USC Annenberg Master of Communication Management online degree program trains communication professionals with the skills they need to satisfy those demands. It specifically addresses the goals of those who want to bring the most value in a modern, interconnected landscape. More importantly, the online MCM equips communicators to provide that value from within their organizations, empowering them to be key contributors with a voice in strategy.

Communication Master’s Career Growth

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that from 2016 to 2026 primary communication-related occupations will grow by 6 percent, but that in itself is an incomplete perspective. The need for smart, analytical, aggressive and responsible communicators is independent of title and occupation.

In the Employment Projections: 2016-2026 Summary, the BLS notes that cccupations classified as needing a master’s degree are projected to grow by 16.7 percent, faster than any other level of education. The growth in the labor market and the evolution of communication job requirements are driving a few distinct segments.