Communication Snapshots

The Communication Snapshots present selected communication topics and research results by the Academic Society on two pages in a short and precise way. It provides the communication Managers with a quick and practical overview, which can easily be passed on to colleagues and partners.

The Communication Snapshots supplement our more detailed publications, such as the research reports or the Communication Insights.

Fake news in corporate communications

Communication departments needs to prepare for the growing threat of fake news

  • „Fake news is by no means a new phenomenon – it’s posed a challenge for centuries. However, due to the growth of the internet, fake news now spreads faster, reaches far more people in total, and does more harm than ever before.
  • „Fake news destroys trust by sowing doubt and inconsistencies, be it in politics, the media, science, or business. Corporations need to find ways to safeguard trust and engage in dialogue with critical stakeholders.
  • „The thesis by Dr. Martin Fensch at Leipzig University sheds light on the historical development of fake news, its recent growth, and its relevance to (health) communication by studying disinformation on vaccination.

Corporate Activism

Why businesses should take a stand on sociopolitical topics

  • „Our society expects companies to not only assume responsibility by means of social, economic, and ecological commitment (CSR), but also to take a stance on sociopolitical issues. Be it on discrimination, climate change, or most recently the Ukraine war, corporations have to position themselves in the public debate and thus actively support social change.
  • „Corporate activism is notably driven by the possibilities of social media communication. It allows organizations to easily take public stances on various issues and directly engage with stakeholders and the general public.
  • „Academic research is still in its infancy, as this phenomenon has gained ground only recently. A new study by Leipzig University explored the opportunities, risks, and success factors of corporate activism.
  • It concludes that corporate activism isn’t a short-term hype, but should be considered a long-term communication strategy.

CommTech and Digital Infrastructure

How to manage digitalization processes in communication departments

  • „For communications, it is crucial to introduce and use digital tools, i.e., to keep pace with constantly changing stakeholders' demands.
  • „How can digital technologies be selected and implemented systematically? The framework presented here helps communication professionals to analyze the current use of digital technology in their organization and supports decision-making for digital investments
  • „This Communication Snapshot explains the new notion of CommTech. It shows how to build a digital infrastructure and select appropriate digital tools and software efficiently and effectively.
  • Please find additional information here.

Effective approaches to corporate learning

How organizations can help employees to strengthen their skills during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond

  • The way people work and learn has changed dramatically in recent years – and even more over the past months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees expect more participation, self-organization, and flexibility at work.

  • Organizations need to develop a concept that fosters continuous learning, strengthens the acceptance for learning sessions during working hours, and encourages employees to spend more time on learning and sharing their learning outcomes with colleagues.

  • This Communication Snapshot outlines why workplace learning is gaining in importance and introduces effective learning methods that are also easy to apply.


Artificial Intelligence

Concepts, applications and challenges of AI in Corporate Communications

  • „While marketing has taken the lead in researching and applying artificial intelligence, corporate communications are lagging behind. This is despite the fact that communicators can easily access social media and internet data, providing a vast data pool for AI purposes.
  • „AI can support corporate communications in a raft of ways ranging from analytics to evaluation, from chat bots to content creation. However, most practitioners know far too little about AI. Keeping tabs on ethical aspects and creating transparency about data and AI applications within an organization are crucial to avoid losing trust.
  • „This Communication Snapshot summarizes the latest findings and insights on artificial intelligence in connection with corporate communications.

Establishing Management Tools in Communication Departments

How to select and introduce methods that suit your needs

  • „There are lots of established and proven methods for managing corporate communications, ranging from stakeholder maps and SWOT analyses to editorial plans and social media analytics.
  • „However, few organizations document these tools in a consistent way and select the ones which are useful and successful in their specific environments.
  • „This Communication Snapshot shows you how to select the most suitable tools for your needs and build toolboxes for communication management.


Corporate Influencer

The power of employees communicating for their organizations

  • Corporate influencers – also known as corporate ambassadors – have become a powerful communication tool for organizations. Their authentic and credible communication on a wide range of topics can have positive effects on outreach, reputation, employee engagement and much more. 
  • „Recently, many scientific disciplines have devoted attention to this phenomenon. However, academic studies from the perspective of corporate communications are still lacking. A research project at Leipzig University in collaboration with Deutsche Telekom sheds light on the different expectations towards corporate ambassadors within an organization.
  • „This Communication Snapshot explores the benefits and challenges of corporate influencers, the types of ambassadors that exist, and presents steps to manage existing or future ambassador programs.

CEO Activism

The benefits and risks of CEOs taking stands on public issues

  • It is no coincidence that the number CEOs who have spoken up on social, political and environmental issues has increased in recent years. In today’s uncertain world, where society is increasingly divided and extreme positions are gaining ground, the public accepts and even expects CEOs and their companies to participate in public debates. 
  • There is a lot to gain, but also a lot to lose when taking stances. CEOs have to balance the benefits and risks and make their own decisions.  

  • With this Communication Snapshot, we want to look into the (emerging) scientific research on this topic. We have also gathered facts and figures on how CEO activism is perceived by the public and the influence said activism exerts. 

Thought Leadership

Using two types of thought leadership as communication strategy

  • „Thought leadership is a powerful strategy that an organization can use to strengthen its positioning. It can have a positive impact on an organization’s reputation, trust, legitimacy as well as its relationships with relevant stakeholders.
  • „Corporate communications in particular can benefit from thought leadership activities. They can give corporate communications greater credibility  and help them to set the agenda for a particular topic.
  • „A new framework has been developed that distinguishes between two types of thought leadership (strategic vs. transformative) and visualizes how they can add value for an organization.

Competence Management for Corporate Communications

Professional personnel development for communicators

  • „Expectations regarding the competences of communication specialists continue to increase due to the dynamics of the professional field. Organizations should implement a subject-specific competence management to further develop their communicators.
  • „Every communicator needs to know and master the diverse skills needed for modern corporate communications. They also need to be able to explain their contribution to internal clients in order to be recognized as experts for communication tasks.
  • „This Communication Snapshot summarises the key findings of the world's first in-depth study on "Competence Management for Corporate Communications" and presents instruments, success factors and strategies

Social Bots in Social Media

Types, purposes and impacts of bots in social media

  • „Social bots is a much-discussed buzzword. Yet people don’t always have a clear understanding of its meaning and its potential impact. This issue of Communication Snapshot will try to shed light on social bots, how they work and how they can be identified.
  • BOTS (short for software robots) have been around since the early days of computers. They are algorithms that simulate human behavior. With the rise of social media they have gained in importance – and have not only been utilized for good, but also for manipulating perceptions.
  • Research into the impact of social bots is increasing, however the impact of social bots, especially on corporate social media channels, remains unknown. A research project by the Academic Society currently underway seeks to change that.

Big Data Application Process

7 steps for using big data for strategic communication

  • „Corporate Communications still lags behind when it comes to big data. Only a handful of communication departments have implemented big data activities. This is mostly down to a lack of analytical and technical skills together with the lack of time to become familiar with this topic. „
  • To support communication experts the Academic Society has developed a big data application model. It outlines 7 steps to use big data in communication departments.
  • Additionally we outline the most critical prerequisites for getting started with big data, including technical issues, organizational set-up, competencies and ethical concerns.

Communication Manager Roles Grid

The 8 strategic and operational roles communication managers play

  • Communication leaders have manifold responsibilities, ranging from reputation management to steering communication teams as well as advising top managers in decision-making processes. The newly developed Communication Manager Roles Grid categorizes these roles into eight dimensions.
  • „The tool can be used for setting and reporting personal targets, developing job profiles and reflecting on the prioritization of daily tasks. It can also be used to assess individual competencies and help you to build a team with a diversity of skills.

Corporate Communication in agile organisations

Mastering cooperation in flexible structures

  • „In complex and dynamic environments companies in general and communication departments in particular struggle to keep pace with the high volatility of stakeholder demands. Traditional vertical structures, e.g. communications, marketing and IT working in silos, make organizations slow and ineffective. It hinders them to deal with the speed of information flow, which has been identified as one of the top three challenges for communications in Europe and Asia-Pacific.
  • Thus, more and more companies have started to restructure and realign their business processes, focusing on horizontal structures, flat hierarchies, self-management, and empowerment. Companies are becoming more agile and flexible, allowing them to adapt faster to changing markets and environments.
  • „This fact sheet demonstrates how communication departments can get to grips with the challenge of inter-departmental collabora-tion in agile organizations. It identifies success factors and motivates leaders to reflect on their department’s readiness for Change.

Communications Contributions Framework

A new tool explains how communication departments support organizational success

  • „Many communication professionals face the challenge of explaining to top executives, peers and team members how their department contributes to corporate goals. Multiple activities are performed and services delivered - but how can they be structured, reflected upon and prioritized?
  • „The Communication Contributions Framework can be used as a tool to overcome these challenges. It helps communication leaders to reflect on their department's activities, allocate resources, set goals for sub-units as well as develop job descriptions for themselves and for team members. Presenting multiple contributions in a consistent way helps to position and profile communications within the company.