The International Communication Association (ICA) conference in San Diego at the end of May was also the venue for a popular pre-conference focusing on the Future Direction of Strategic Communication. This well-attended pre-conference grouped together a significant number of international presenters and conference attendees, with high-profile representation by EUPRERA scholars. Far away from being a discipline on strict epistemological terms, strategic communication continues to be a useful umbrella paradigm to approach the diverse strategic communications of organizations and was conceptualized for the foundational paper of the IJSC (International Journal of Strategic Communication), over a decade ago.
During the pre-conference diverse definitions were provided underling some of the main delimitations of the field: communicative (as different from relational) and strategic (as different from just integrate and purposeful). Far away from a closed concept and approach, diverse challenges where richly discussed: delimitation of the object of study (the parts and the whole, interchange with PR research); focusing or surpassing the functionalist approach; integrating (or not) critical studies; or including ethical prescriptive definitions. Future points to providing an empirical based corpus of common knowledge, but inevitably show up the scarcity of resources and publication opportunities for longitudinal and replication studies in a field where the effects’ factors and variables are increasing, changing and difficult to isolate.
The pre-conference was rich in content and some diversity of views, which made for a lively and engaging day.  It also demonstrated the value and importance of isolating and discussing the concept of strategic communication to provide a further focus for future research and understanding by interested academics.  A future special issue of the ISJC was also discussed where some of the richness of the debates and future research interests and opportunities will be shared.
Ángeles Moreno, University Rey Juan Carlos
Ralph Tench, Leeds Beckett University