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About this book

This book demonstrates the challenges for Corporate Communications in the era of the Industrial Internet and the Internet of things, and how companies can adapt their communication strategies to meet them. The Industrial Internet and the Internet of Things herald a transformation in our economy, industry and society. As such, it is high time that companies adjust both their communication strategies and the structure of their communications to reflect these changes.

In this book, experts from the corporate world, academia, professional associations, government organizations and NGOs discuss various challenges – from Corporate and Leadership Communication and Employer Branding to Change/Personnel Management and changes in the supply chain – that can be confronted in everyday working environment. Revealing contributions from an interdisciplinary mix of perspectives help offer a more detailed picture of what future programs and standards might look like. The book also features best practice cases that offer practical insights into addressing the Corporate Communications challenges that are to come.

Table of Contents


Digital Transformation and the Challenges for Organizational Communications: An Introduction

Communications professionals, especially those with an Anglo-American orientation, are often seen as pioneers in identifying trends in business and society and putting them to use for their organisations. Be it the first corporate websites in the early 1990s or, ten years later, the precursors of social media, corporate communicators were among the first to use the new technologies and to set an example at companies as early adopters.
Joachim Klewes, Dirk Popp, Manuela Rost-Hein

Digital Transformation and Communications: How Key Trends Will Transform the Way Companies Communicate

The authors address in this chapter fundamental challenges with which, in the context of digital transformation, professional communication for companies and organizations must cope. Building on a clarification of the IoT, the Industrial Internet and other key concepts, they identify the role of corporate communications in the three industrial epochs that preceded today’s emergence of Industry 4.0. On this basis, they identify four trend “worlds” for the current digital transformation phase. They are technology, business, organization and society—each with three specific trends. Each of these 12 trends is investigated for its relevance for communication and communicators before, at the end of their chapter, the authors tackle the question of whether “communication as a profession” might disappear as a consequence of the digital transformation.
Joachim Klewes, Dirk Popp, Manuela Rost-Hein

Why we Might Wish to Be Governed by Algorithms: Insights into a Technophile Digital Mindset

The chapter delivers an argumentation that revolves around the individual actors who drive the process of digitalisation and Industry 4.0. By portraying the “Net Generation” or “Generation Y”—digital natives experiencing their adolescence around the year 2000—the author outlines how the process of digitalisation will change the way we live and think. Instead of hesitating to accept the benefits of digitalisation, individuals may as well welcome, adapt to and consequently shape the way how machines and algorithms change the way information is handled and business is conducted. Communication managers could be the ones to accept and seize a leading role in helping companies and individuals in organisations to cope with the challenges and opportunities of this development.
Christopher Peterka

Policy and Politics in the Era of the Industrial Internet: How the Digital Transformation Will Change the Political Arena

The author analyses the dominant discourses on the evolution of policymaking in the era of the Industrial Internet. By focusing on the topics and related narratives that derive from both societal and communicational issues in the light of the digital transformation, the author provides a sound overview on the current technology-driven evolution of policymaking and gives an outlook on future tasks that derive from related mechanisms within the political sphere. By contextualising developments associated with the Internet of Things and corresponding political outcomes in the shape of regulatory frameworks, it is outlined how the availability of data changes the way policies are made and furthermore demonstrated how influencers can guide the process of policymaking by providing data-oriented communicational services. This dialectic shift from political ideology towards evidence-based or data-driven policies accordingly would not only affect the nature of public discourse but be furthermore amplified by the Industrial Internet and associated outfits.
Giuseppe Porcaro

The Changing Role of the Chief Marketing Officer: Unlocking the Power of Data-Driven Communication

The author demonstrates the extent to which digitalisation is changing the balance of power between individuals and institutions and notes the communicational challenges that this poses for CMOs. Today, they must understand how individuals act as well as they understand the market itself. This chapter looks into how CMOs remain successful in competition—in a situation in which consumers are characterised for one by a dramatic reduction in attention span and for another by increased expectations. The author describes how the customers’ new role is that of co-creators and innovation drivers. The consequence for CMOs is that they must in future improve integration of consumer feedback. The study cited refers to the need for a customer-centric mindset rather than one that is focused on the customer in order better to understand the needs and motivation of the consumer. This chapter leads to three recommendations for CMOs: a change in understanding of the customer, improved expertise in digitalised incorporation of customer feedback and co-creation and a data-based and personalised customer approach.
Marilies Rumpold-Preining

The Role of Corporate Communication in the Digital Age: An Era of Change for the Communication Profession

The author analyses the role of Corporate Communication in the digital age. Building on the concept that Big Data is not limited to production sectors and data-driven business models, the analysis shows that Big Data implies fundamental changes in the way information in all fields of professional communications will be handled. Especially in the context of Corporate Communications, employees and executives alike face four main challenges associated with the use of Big Data in communication contexts: The “why” challenge encourages a look at how Big Data can help organisations to differentiate in their competitive environment. The “what” challenge is about reinventing content as the basic fuel of communication. The “how” challenge deals with tools for communication professionals to work with Big Data and become masters of algorithms in addition to their traditional tools. Finally, the “who” challenge reflects the changing role of communicators in the emerging new world of communication.
Grazia Murtarelli

It’s About Trust: The IT Department’s Role in a Digital Organisation: Why Techies May Be the New Communications Team

This chapter delivers insights into how dynamics and technological advantages associated with digitalisation affect the everyday lives of consumers and traditionally analogue industries alike. By using the example of the electricity industry, the author demonstrates how the digital transformation alters organisational aspects of large companies. Focusing on the emerging Industrial Internet and associated smart devices, this chapter explains how the ability to collect data opens up new markets and value-adding mechanisms even to industries that originally would not be associated with data-driven business models. The disruption of business models and value chains fosters the creation of adaptive management structures capable of coping with ever-increasing data and information volumes. In a company driven by data, the author concludes, trust management will emerge as a substantial task that is crucial to overall success.
Wayne Pales

Digital Transformation of Energy Companies: The Role of Disruptive Communication

This chapter offers an overview of the challenges of digital transformation within the energy sector by drawing on theoretical considerations about new market models and resulting changes in communication. The author makes his case in the energy industry in Austria, where trends such as decentralised solutions driven by the expansion of renewable sources, fragmented market structures, the change from consumer roles to “prosumer” behaviour and smart homes are important as key factors of transformation. Hence, major technical and organisational changes are taking place, the energy sector no longer being dominated by energy providers but being shaped by so-called creative destruction. This chapter explores causes and consequences of the digital transformation in the energy sector, offering guidance with respect to current trends and future challenges. The author explains new energy-related services, digitalisation triggering new business models, “prosumers” as active market players, new pricing models, decentralisation of power plants and storage as well as smart networks. As a consequence, a new level of cooperation and communication is required to face changes promoted by the World Wide Web, social media and a new level of information access.
Christian Ammer

New Challenges of the Digital Transformation: The Comeback of the Vision-Mission System

As a rule, organisations establish a vision-mission system in order to create orientation, identity and identification. With some effort, they condense it into a vision-mission statement and communicate it to internal and external stakeholders. But if one looks at everyday practice, one will not find many employees who keep the vision-mission statement alive. Looking at the process of digital transformation, we discover a new dynamic of markets. Digital transformation affects the entire organisation. Today, organisations have to speed up their ability to rapidly change if they want to find successful answers to the challenges of Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things and Big Data. However, working within liquid structures creates a new need for a sustainable and long-term working identity. In consequence, people start asking about the new persistent idea of their specific organisation. Where are we going? Which principles and values do we share? How is the big idea linked with my daily work? This chapter discusses possible approaches to a vision-mission system that creates opportunities for relevant and meaningful orientation in the digital age.
Guido Wolf

Mention Communication—Think Organisation: Agile Communication in the Digital Era

This chapter draws on the discrepancy between new technological possibilities of communication and existing obsolete organisational structures. Hence, the author promotes a set of guiding principles towards a new agenda for agile communications and organisations. New technologies may encourage new forms of communication. However, as long as they are embedded in organisational structures developed in the early twentieth century, they will not unleash their full potential. While traditional organisational structures were built on principles such as planning and control accompanied by the perception of an “unwilling worker’s attitude”, new forms of organisation build more on the belief in individual motivation and creativity. As a consequence, strict rules should be replaced by empowering principles, as already demonstrated by small organisations such as successful start-ups. The author offers a list of ten guiding principles supporting self-organisation and self-responsibility, transparency, trust, openness and sincerity as well as trustfulness for future-oriented agile forms of communication and organisation.
Eric-Jan Kaak

From Customer Service to Customer Experience: The Drivers, Risks and Opportunities of Digital Transformation

This chapter deals with the question of how value chains and communication processes are changing at companies under the influence of increasing digitalisation. Using customer experience as his example, the author shows how interaction between company and consumer is intensified by digitalisation and today contributes far more than the actual financial statements to companies’ success or failure. Against this background, the author describes communication as the decisive factor. The processing of data and information requires not only a high degree of communicational competence; communication also defines the central interface between consumers equipped with ever smarter devices and companies with their products and services.
Lumir Boureanu

Car Sales in the Throes of Change: Aims for Total Customer Experience in the Digital Era

This chapter identifies the automotive industry’s failure to adapt to the digital transformation, drawing on Silicon Valley software producers’ efforts to enter the automotive industry. The author states that the structure of automotive industry sales and communication strategies has not actively changed over the past 30 years, particularly in the light of the digital transformation. This is especially relevant in respect of changing customer behaviour and demands, including declining loyalty towards brands and individualised buying decisions, as the digital platform Hyundai Rockar demonstrates. While customer experience should be used as a starting point for automotive sales by using new data availability, the author further describes how old sales structures are holding back change. The chapter gives four recommendations for a future-oriented communication action plan for automotive industries. They are monitoring, collecting and central registration of content, audience-oriented analysis and the development and implementation of automated content distribution mechanisms.
Jochen Sengpiehl

The Global Web in Regional Politics: The Regulatory and Political Debate on Digitalisation and the Internet of Things

The author analyses how aspects and processes associated with the digital transformation interfere with the governance and regulation of the emerging Industrial Internet and the Internet of Things. Building on the general argument that disruptive business models pose a threat to highly regulated industries, the author emphasises the differing regulatory approaches chosen by European and US policymakers. The author then stresses the importance of harmonised European policies. In order to fully unleash the potential associated with the digital transformation of industries, European digital economies will arguably depend on a common digital market because the current predominance of national initiatives tends to foster fragmentation of markets instead of pooling resources to enhance European competitiveness. The chapter concludes by providing corresponding guidelines on how public affairs and related issues are set to change in the light of digital transformation.
Stefan Denig

Managing the Digital Transformation: Ten Guidelines for Communications Professionals

Seldom have there been phases in which the development of the communications profession was so confusing as it is today. Depending on the type of company, its size and the size of the team—and subject above all, of course, to the market in question—the paths to the future differ. What all have in common is that communicators must find their own answer to the digital transformation. The authors are convinced that the following ten guidelines can help them to find it.
Joachim Klewes, Dirk Popp, Manuela Rost-Hein


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