Professor of Communication and Media
Quadriga University of Applied Sciences
Alexander Gutzmer has been Professor of Media and Communication at Quadriga University since 2013. From 2017 to 2018 he was also a visiting professor at the Mexican Business School “Tecnológico de Monterrey”. With a PhD in Cultural Studies and Business Administration, he also works as Editorial Director and “First In-house Journalist” at Callwey-Verlag in Munich, Germany. He is also in charge of the architecture magazine Baumeister, as well as Topos, the English-language magazine for urban design and urban development. Gutzmer received his Doctor of Philosophy degree from London Goldsmiths College (University of London). He studied Cultural Studies (also at Goldsmiths College) and Business Administration (at FU Berlin and Warwick Business School). He started his career as a journalist with the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
Alexander Gutzmer considers communication to be a cultural activity and brings his background in economic and cultural science to bear on his understanding of entrepreneurial processes. He is fascinated by the development of strategic corporate communication towards a content-based phenomenon (keyword newsrooms). As a journalist for architecture and urban development, he is also interested in issues such as urbanisation and the Smart City, corporate architecture, as well as the changes within the global media sector in the wake of digitisation.
a) Editorial creativity in content marketing
Content marketing is a relatively new communication and marketing sector, which so far is scientifically sub-systematised. Individual studies look at the subject largely from a marketing perspective. But the specific strengths of the subject are not given the attention they deserve.
One particularly neglected aspect of this complex subject is the role of journalists and their editorial creativity in content marketing. Editorial productivity is the cornerstone of any communication- or marketing-related strategy that aims to use content marketing to present companies or brands. But scientific investigation has hardly scratched the surface of what it achieves, and which motivational and functional contradictions arise in marketing-driven editorial work. This is where Gutzmer’s research comes in. It is necessary to identify what journalists a) accomplish within the context of content marketing, b) which services they deliberately reject, or c) which expectations they (often) fail to meet. Such questions shed light on the still diffuse picture of the interactions within content marketing.
In cooperation with the Content Marketing Forum, Professor Gutzmer carried out a quantitative survey of journalists and decision-makers both within companies and agencies. The results have been published in a scientific article. Then the results were supplemented with conceptual and practical examples and presented in a separate article for the 2019 yearbook of BDZV.
b) Creative spaces: How the design of the workplace affects staff
The “War for Talent”, which was an issue already decades ago, has now actually started. Many industries lack qualified employees, and this is not only the case in Germany. For Generation Y in particular, a good salary is no longer enough to generate loyalty.
In addition, many companies experience an innovation gap. The pressure to innovate is immense, and volatility is increasing in many markets. The questions that need to be asked in this context are: How can the creativity of the entire workforce be improved? How can internal innovation clusters be developed? How can the entrepreneurial spirits in the company be taken seriously?
One solution: the conscious design of workspaces. One of the initial propositions of this project is that the design of the workspace has a direct and indirect communicative effect on staff motivation. It promotes communication and the exchange of innovative ideas within the company. Interior design as well as the architecture of the office building play an important role.
This research project deals with these issues. It aims to examine the elements of the physical environment behind creativity and innovation. The objective is to empirically investigate how the design of company offices influences the extent and direction of innovation. A list of criteria is to be developed to provide both guidance in the design of future workplaces and reveal possible gaps in the understanding of interior designers (e.g. architects and designers) and HR managers when it comes to the relationship between space, communication and motivation.
An important issue is the question of how spatial concepts relate to the simultaneous digitisation of work processes and entrepreneurial business models. It is based on the assumption that it would be a mistake to simply attribute the disembodiment of work to digitisation. The contrary might be the case. Digital penetration of our activities will allow greater spatial flexibility. This implies that where we work will play a more important role. In relation to cities in general, the issue of the “Smart City” is discussed.
The same applies to the working environment. The physical environment in which we work is crucial. We need spaces that provide us with the necessary information, but are also appropriate for the specific tasks at hand. Advanced strategic thinking involves completely different spatial exigencies, including requirements going beyond the often cited various forms of collaboration.
The basis for this research project is an online database that analyses the quality of workspaces on the basis of a set of criteria. This will provide empirical depth and encourage a user-centred dialogue. Approach and methodology are also discussed in academic articles. A publication is also conceivable. In addition, Professor Gutzmer gives presentations on the subject, for example to international executives of the furniture maker Steelcase last year, or as a keynote speaker on the subject of economics and administration at the Lower Saxony Architecture Award ceremony.
c) The city as a driver of innovation
Traditional innovation management is in crisis. The rate of failures is rising. Against this backdrop, a number of companies have embarked on an unconventional new path and are establishing networks of central stakeholders from the cultural and economic area of tension, i.e. the city, and with creating urban spaces. Professor Gutzmer has researched these processes for several years. His work combines the analytical approaches of Latour’s Actor-Network-Theory and the resource-based View of the Firm. This combination permits a new and more holistic view on innovation management of companies on the one hand, and a conceptual approach towards new perspectives on the other. In addition, the research by Professor Gutzmer is also suitable for identifying development opportunities for existing urban activities in real-life companies. The publication “Urban Innovation Networks. Understanding the City as a Strategic resource” is proof.
The research by Professor Gutzmer focuses on the interaction between innovation theory and marketing. The urban impulses for corporate innovation strategy are also increasingly influencing marketing activities. An upcoming publication by Professor Gutzmer will address this issue. The aim is to develop an understanding of marketing that helps us comprehend how marketing profits from urban networks in a new way, especially in times of digital transformation. Digitisation, so the argument goes, makes the city more readable and multi-layered. It thus defines new points of reference for marketing science as well as for the application of entrepreneurial marketing strategies. Branding can particularly profit from this approach.
For me, teaching is theme-centred interaction. Scientific concepts are useful, if they help us to better understand reality and make it more efficient. This is what I am working on with my students – in seminars, discussions, creative sessions and even the occasional lecture. Of importance: discursive fairness – and an international perspective. Because the world of business and science is growing together on a global level. Science must both keep pace and at the same time be a driver.
Gutzmer, A. 2018: Die Grenze aller Grenzen. Inszenierung und Alltag zwischen den USA und Mexiko. Hamburg: Edition Kursbuch
A border as a medium. Gutzmer provides a cultural, and in particular a media-scientific, understanding of the southern border of the US. A book that is not only relevant in the light of Donald Trump’s politics.
Gutzmer, A. 2018: Marken in der Smart City. Wie die Cyber-Urbanisierung das Marketing verändert. Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler
Digitisation does not mean that the physical space for brand creation and management is unimportant. On the contrary, technological profiling of urban space offers tomorrow’s brands considerable opportunities. In this book, Professor Gutzmer explains which are the most important, with theory-based reflections and numerous examples from real-life business.
Gutzmer, A. 2016: Urban Innovation Networks. Understanding the City as a Strategic Resource. Heidelberg: Springer
Cities are a force for innovation – if companies use them as such. But, as Gutzmer argues in this book, it is still not happening often enough.
Gutzmer, A. 2015: Architektur und Kommunikation. Zur Medialität gebauter Wirklichkeit. Bielefeld: transcript
Gutzmer, A. 2013: Brand-Driven City Building and the Virtualizing of Space. London, UK: Routledge