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COMMUNICATIONS TREND RADAR 2021
Professor Stefan Stieglitz
Professor Ansgar Zerfaß
About the research project
Team: Professor Stefan Stieglitz (University of Potsdam), Professor Ansgar Zerfass (Leipzig University), Sünje Clausen (University of Potsdam), Daniel Ziegele (Leipzig University)
Project period: January 2020 – February 2021
In 2021, we presented the Communications Trend Radar for the first time. It’s one of the most comprehensive trend studies for communication management. The study focuses on the changes in management, society, and technology that will affect corporate communications.
Professor Stefan Stieglitz, University of Potsdam
“Our goal is to support communicators with sound scientific analyses. We want to draw their attention early on to developments that they aren’t necessarily aware of and thus strengthen their role in the organization.”
The five trends in 2021:
- Denialism: Why stakeholders deny obvious truths and facts
- Virtual Corporate Communications: Finding new ways to communicate and collaborate in virtual contexts
- Sustainable Communications: Towards an ecological footprint for communication departments
- Digital Nudging: Leveraging the potential of designing digital environments
- Voice Interaction: Shifting preferences from text to voice
Professor Ansgar Zerfass, Leipzig University
“We have broadened our view to explore trends in management, society, and technology. We want to know how changes in these neighboring fields affect corporate communications. This is unique.”
The Communications Trend Radar is an annual study identifying key trends affecting corporate communications. The research project was launched in 2020 and will be repeated annually. It is headed by Professor Stefan Stieglitz (University of Potsdam) and Professor Ansgar Zerfass (Leipzig University).
Screening: The study starts with an extensive trend research in the areas of management, technology, and society. The researchers have scanned hundreds of studies and papers, conference proceedings, magazines, newspapers, and social media each year.
Evaluation: 42 trends were shortlisted in the screening phase. and independently evaluated and weighted in terms of their relevance for corporate communications. This included the potential impact on the communications function (leadership, goals, structure), on communications processes (formats, stakeholders, platforms), and on communications management (content creation, costs).
Selection: In the end of the process, five trends were selected – including two each from the technology and management areas and one from the social area. These were then discussed with around 20 communications managers.