Visualizing Grunig and Hunt Models of Communication

For years, the NFL has been representing football plays and drives visually on their website – in real-time. By compiling the plays, fans are able to watch their team move down the field towards the end-zone one play at a time. Communications strategy should work in the same way. It should be possible for a CMO or Director of Communications to show colleagues the progress of a strategy at any point – and show an entire strategy so that anybody, irrespective of their formal training or practical experience in communications, can understand.  It should be clear where something worked, where it didn’t and where KPIs were met (or that they weren’t) in the pursuit of the desired business outcome.

The Lean Communications Methodology allows strategies – including their tactical elements – to be visualized in a way that has not been possible before. It’s a method we’ve called ‘play-by-play’ and it provides a way for the value of communications to be demonstrated clearly and visually.



Professors James Grunig and Todd Hunt  developed four models of public relations in 1984 that describe the field’s various management and organizational practices. These models serve as guidelines to create programs, strategies, and tactics.  As part of the work undertaken by the THINK DIFFERENT[LY] team we have been able to develop a schema that allows these models to be visualized in order to enable them to be better understood, reported and viewed as operationalizable strategies.

In doing so, it becomes possible to build testable strategic hypotheses which can validate which model is most likely to build the relationships necessary to deliver a specific desired organizational outcome.



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