Megatrends have a tremendous impact on companies and their professional communication. Economical, technological and sociocultural developments are changing the way corporate communications are done irreversibly.
It is thus of critical importance for companies to detect megatrends early on, for example through means such as issues management or corporate listening. We interviewed several experts what they believe are the most relevant megatrends for corporate communications.
What are the most relevant megatrends for communications?
Characteristics of digitalization:
- Growing interconnections between people
- Growing interconnections between people and things
- Growing interconnections between things / machines (e.g. Internet of Things, Industry 4.0)
- Application of Big Data
- New business models, e.g. sharing economy, smart products
Characteristics of globalization:
- Transnational working and planning processes; international division of labour
- Global exchange of goods, services and labour
- Political interdependencies between different countries
- Mutual dependence of markets, states and societies
- Global exchange of knowledge
- Mixing and harmonizing cultures and endangering cultural diversity
Characteristics of individualization:
- Loose human bonds are growing, strong bonds are diminishing.
- People are living and acting independently of their geographic location.
- Traditional values that provided guidance in the past are abandoned.
- The consumer becomes independent and flexible. He is increasingly acting as a prosument and co-producer of goods.
- Researchers and practitioners agree: Digitalization is considered the most relevant megatrend for corporate communications. However, globalization and individualization also do have a significant impact. The three megatrends intertwine and are therefore analysed together.
- Megatrends pose tremendous challenges for corporate communications by changing the way companies and society communicate.
- To ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of corporate communications in the future, experts must monitor social transformation processes (e. g. by means such as issues management or corporate listening) and align their corporate and communication strategy.
Megatrend #1: Digitalization
- Digitalization describes the conversion of information such as sounds, images or texts into numerical values for the purpose of their electronic processing, storage or transmission.
- This leads to an exponential growth of digital information and communication technologies. These technologies, in turn, will lead to that people are becoming increasingly interconnected with one another and with things. Likewise things are becoming interconnected, too (Internet of things). Completely new relationships and interactions arise.
- Due to the increase in the significance of the new digital information and communication technologies, people and organizations increasingly orient themselves towards the functioning of these technologies and adapt their actions.
Megatrend #2: Globalization
- Globalization refers to the increasing interdependence and interconnection of societies on a global scale. Interdependences between states and markets are growing, creating a global exchange of goods, services and labour.
- At the same time people are acting more and more in a transcultural and transnational way and are creating a world without borders.
- This in turn leads to a growing interdependence of states, markets and societies in which systemic risks, misunderstandings and conflicts may arise.
- Researchers widely agree that globalization is a progressive process, however not a linear, but a multidimensional and contradictory one.
Megatrend #3: Individualization
- Individualization is a process that has been observed for several decades.
- Focusing on the individual, its autonomy and independence are at the core to the concept. The individual aims, interests, wishes and actions are emphasized, resulting in a "pluralization of lifestyles".
- This development has been made possible by the growing prosperity while at the same time abandoning traditional forms of society and traditional values such as traditional gender roles or the family.
- This megatrend includes various subtrends, which promote the individuals' emancipation in different social areas.
- In order to identify the most important megatrends for corporate communications, we approached over 100 national and international experts.
- Among them were the heads of communication of the Academic Society's corporate partners, the jury members of the International German PR Prize of the DPRG, as well as researchers from communications science and business administration focusing on corporate communications.
- 53 people participated in the survey.
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