The policies of communication have been becoming crucially important for organisations. According to experts the main reason for this statement is the rise in stakeholder expectations. Therefore, integrated and interlinked business communications are necessary (cf. Busch, 2007, p. 1).
However, what does communication mean? Communication can be described as the process of transferring information through a message from one entity to another.

In terms of the Corporate Identity Concept, communication includes all communication activities, which intend to transfer the self-perception of a company to an external image. For example, market communication is one form of communication. Thereby the company promotes mainly its products to the external audience. The main goal is to provide information about the company and its products, causing purchasing decisions in the mind of the potential buyers.

The rise of communication tools

Nevertheless, communication policies have been becoming more and more challenging for companies. One reason is the rapid development of progresses in media technologies which has significantly increased the selection of communication tools (cf. Meffert, 2008, p. 633). These new tools not only send out messages but also enable interaction among the consumer and the company. As a result, addressing specific target groups is considerably more complex. When looking at the communication process, it becomes apparent how the new tools change communication between a company and its target audience.

Considering the communication process, we normally think of a manufacturer (sender) transmitting a message through any form of media to an identifiable target segment audience. In order to communicate in an effective way, the sender needs to have a clear understanding of the purpose of its message, its target audience and how this audience will interpret and respond to the message (cf. Hollensen, 2007, p. 542ff). However, this form of communication is a one-way street because the consumer has no possibility to interact with the company. This communication process is significant for traditional communication tools like radio, television, cinema or newspaper advertising (cf. Winkelmann, 2010, p. 409ff).

The new tools change the traditional communication process in a significant way. Modern communication tools like Direct Marketing or Sales Promotion focus on reaction and dialogue between the company and its customers. In this case, experts refer to a two-way direct communication. The Internet can be cited as a prime example as it offers a whole spectrum of communication opportunities, including listening as well as talking and collecting or simply sending information or a message (cf. Smith & Taylor, 2004, p. 204 and Winkelmann, 2010, p. 409ff). Consequently, the sender can learn from the reaction of the consumer and modify the next message or information to the wants and needs of the audience.

Systematization of communication tools

Besides the challenge of the emergence of more communication tools, companies face the problem to arrange and systematize the great amount of communication tools when applying them to their needs. Therefore, it is necessary to show up one approach how the different tools can be categorized. It should be noted, that there exist a lot of such approaches and the following classification is only one possibility (cf. Bruhn, 2010, p. 361).

The cited approach assumes that all communication tools originate from a holistic image policy. The corporate identity is therefore transmitted through image policy tools such as corporate communication, corporate behaviour or corporate design (cf. Winkelmann, 2010, p. 409).
Instruments like Sponsoring and Event Marketing are primary categorized as instruments for a one-way communication but they can also be used in a dialog-oriented way.
These tools don’t promote any specific products. Rather, they are applied in order to shape a positive image of the company in public (cf. Winkelmann, 2010, p. 409).

Traditional instruments like media advertising (print, film, radio or television commercials), product placement as well as online- and outdoor advertising are characterized as one-way-communication tools. In this category, the primary objective is to promote the company’s products or services (cf. Meffert, 2008, p. 649ff).

Finally, the last group contains the instruments Direct Marketing and Sales Promotion. They are used to support personal selling. In this category, the company directly addresses consumers and attempts to connect them to the company or a specific product. Hence, a dialogue between company and consumer occurs (cf. Winkelmann, 2010, p. 409).

Integration of the instruments into the matrix

In the following it is necessary to categorize the introduced instruments in the matrix of the transfer project.

By examining the instruments it can be concluded that the classification in traditional communication (one-way), dialogue-orientated social media communication and social media cloud communication cannot cope sufficiently with the instruments introduced in this abstract. Therefore, it is necessary to expand the matrix to another dimension: the traditional dialogue-orientated communication. However, this in turn raises the question what actually is the difference between dialogue-orientated and social media dialogue? In contrast to the social media dialogue, the traditional dialogue-oriented view starts by the company. The dialogue in the social media communication is only initiated from the corporate side and is started by the users/consumers.

Traditional activities of media advertising are priory counted to the market communication. Thinking of the approach of an integrated communication, it is possible to use these instruments also for corporate communication. The dialogue-orientated instruments Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing are allotted to the new matrix-segment of the dialogue communication. Both are instruments of the market communication. Public Relation is an instrument of the corporate communication and can be used in a traditional and dialogue-orientated way. Nevertheless, it can also be used in social media channels. Sponsoring and similarly Event Marketing can be used extremely different in the dimensions of corporate-, market-, and social media communication. It depends on the characteristics of the instruments if there is a one- or two-way dialogue.

In conclusion, it is obvious that communication more and more has been turning from a pure one-way communication into a two-way communication, with customers directly interacting with the company and gaining power in influencing the image of a company.


Busch, R.; Seidenspinner, M.; Unger, F. (2007): Marketing Communication Policies. Berlin: Springer‐Verlag.

Hollensen, S. (2007): Global Marketing – a decision‐oriented approach. Madrid: Prentice Hall Financial Times.

Winkelmann, Peter (2010): Marketing und Vertrieb – Fundamente für die marktorientierte Unternehmensführung, 7. Auflage, Oldenbourg Verlag, München

Meffert, H.; Burmann, C.; Kirchgeorg, M. (2008): Marketing. Grundlagenmarktorientierter Unternehmensführung. Konzepte – Instrumente – Praxisbeispiele, 10. Auflage, Betriebswirtschaftlicher Verlag Dr. Th. Gabler/ GWV Fachverlage GmbH, Wiesbaden

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