Author(s), Title and Publication
Maier, C. D., & Andersen, M. A. (2017). Strategic internal communication of corporate heritage identity in a hypermodal context. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 22(1), 36-59. DOI: 10.1108/CCIJ-09-2015-0059

Interest in the strategic use of historical references by organizations has been accompanied by an increasing attention to the study of the corporate heritage identity (CHI) concept. CHI refers to those particular heritage identity traits that link the past with the present and the future of the organization. Despite the notion that management uses CHI as a strategic resource to influence consumers’ attachment to a brand in their marketing activities, little is known about how heritage identity is communicated internally to organizational members in family businesses. To address this gap, this exploratory case study examined how CHI implementation strategies are strategically communicated on the intranet of Grundfos, a third-generation Danish family business that currently is a global company. The authors addressed this issue by explaining how heritage identity implementation strategies are communicated in a hypermodal context. Hypermodality, which has been defined as the conflation of multi-modality and hypertextuality, is a way to name the new interactions of word, image, and sound-based meanings in hypermedia.

This analytical work was carried out by the application of narrating, visualizing, performing, embodying, and hyperlinking strategies. The study found that the continuous textual and visual representation of performing (the actualization of CHI through traditions, rituals, and customs) and embodying (which can be manifested through the aesthetics properties of material objects and spaces, traditional crafts and historic design patterns, as well as the personal identities of individual managers) testifies to the company’s relentless efforts to manage and enhance its heritage identity. The research also found that the hyperlinking strategy has a meaningful role in enhancing the sense of identification of the employees with their company since it offers them an opportunity to participate actively in the multi-modal conflation of past, present, and future.

Implications for Practice
Organizations should (1) make strategic use of the potential of a hypermodal context to represent and communicate CHI implementation strategies to employees and (2) be aware that a hyperlinking strategy has a meaningful role in enhancing the sense of identification of employees and gives them an opportunity to become virtual creators of their own story of the company.

Location of Article
This article is available online at: (abstract free, purchase full article)

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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