Emergence of the CommTech working group
The CommTech working group emerged from the findings brought to light in the European Communication Monitor (ECM) 2021. According to the study, almost 90% of the communications managers surveyed in companies and agencies say that digitization of the function is of great or utmost importance. At the same time, almost two-thirds of those surveyed do not feel able to take the necessary steps toward digitization.
There are many reasons for this, ranging from a lack of strategy to the confusion of supporting tools to privacy concerns.
More than 400 PR practitioners have already responded to the call to found the CommTech working group (as of June 2023). In a survey, they provided information about what barriers they see, what topics they would like to deal with in the working group and how the working group should be organized. The result is an exchange platform for digital-savvy communications managers who are driving the digitization of communications and supporting each other in the process.
Create an exchange platform for PR practitioners
Through the cooperation in the
and interest groups, we offer digital-savvy PR practitioners from the communications industry the opportunity to network with like-minded people. For this we use the AG CommTech Teams and our
Promote digitization of PR
The CommTech WG enables communications managers to support each other on their digitization path. By sharing ideas, they can learn from each other, receive or pass on tips, and thus promote the digitization not only of their organization, but of the entire PR industry.
Provision of best practices from science and practice
Our members not only exchange information among themselves, we also hold regular discussions with external PR managers. So we learn from
from science and practice, which we share with all interested parties via our website and our newsletter newsletter.
The management circle
The working group’s steering committee consists of experienced PR practitioners who serve as executive sponsors for the five topic clusters (Organization, Technology, Stakeholder Journey, Impact Measurement and Roles, Skills & Leadership). Spokesman of the steering committee is Thomas Mickeleit, founder of KommunikationNeuDenken. His representative is Jörg Forthmann, Managing Director of IMWF.
Our way of working
Since January 2023, the working group has been working in initiatives that are assigned to individual topic clusters and receive support from Executive Sponsors from the Steering Committee. In this context, initiatives can be launched on different scales and lead to different results. Detailed information about the initiative structure and active initiatives can be found here:
Digitization means a profound transformation of organizations. It’s more than just supporting existing processes with digital tools – the task is much more about completely reshaping processes. Communications departments have a dual role to play here: On the one hand, they are expected to accompany the transformation process of the entire organization. On the other hand, they must ask themselves what position they will occupy in the future and how their value contribution to the company will change. For the heads of communications departments, this means a major challenge: They have to actively shape the change, take their departments along with them, and are themselves just beginning to grasp the paradigm shift. We want to accompany communicators in this “sensemaking” through exchange and first practical examples.
The goal of the cluster is to quickly and effectively achieve concrete results on current issues around tech, tools and trends. This is intended to give PR practitioners more clarity in the thicket of challenges of modern communication in a simple and direct way. Especially the question about the possibilities of AI are on everyone’s lips since the launch of ChatGPT and the integration of the tool into the Microsoft search Bing and the browser Edge. Interest in the artificial intelligence initiative is correspondingly high. For this reason, this was again somewhat “drilled out” and an additional subgroup was formed.
The stakeholder journey describes how the complex relationship between a company and its stakeholders can develop – if communication measures are planned skillfully in the digital space. The goal must be to increasingly activate the stakeholder over time as part of communication campaigns. Initially, it is about making the stakeholder aware of a position or product. But the journey continues and after “attention” come the stages of “interest”, “impact” and “connection”.
Content management systems, which are becoming increasingly important in the day-to-day work of communications departments, do not yet adequately map the stakeholder journey process. The experts in the Stakeholder Journey topic cluster want to change that. Using Scompler – one of the leading editorial systems or content command centers – as an example, the team develops a practical structure for the Scompler software. The goal is that communication campaigns can be optimized along the stakeholder journey.
“You can’t control what you don’t measure.” This insight is as old as it is banal. However, the vast majority of communications departments today are not able to collect and prepare the available data in such a way that it can be used for two essential tasks:
- Measuring success, i.e. tracking what successes the communications work has delivered in the past. These measurements are mainly used to argue internally that the communications department is doing a good ob.
- Far more important is the use of data to optimize communications work. This involves using data from the (recent) past to learn for future communications work.
The Impact Measurement Cluster is working on solutions for these two tasks in order to provide colleagues with practical assistance.
Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast
What good is the best technology if no one uses it? What good is data without insight? How do we ensure that data is not seen as a foreign body, but as an integral part of any communication strategy and daily work? How do I create a glow in the eyes instead of the shock of numbers?
All of this and what it means for roles, skills and leadership will be examined from various angles in our group.
The following focus groups are currently underway:
- Checklists for setting up Commtech with Jacqueline
- Data Culture / Commtech Culture with Annette
Another opportunity for participation: interest groups
In addition to the topic clusters
also have the opportunity to exchange ideas informally in interest groups. This allows communications leaders with similar job profiles to share learning and identify best practices. Anyone who would like to participate is welcome to contact the respective leadership. Currently there are three groups – but more can be opened at any time.