Companies discover chatbots and blogs

SAP company website

SAP is one of the companies that clearly address the issue of diversity and inclusion.

(Photo: screenshot)

Düsseldorf The leading German corporations have caught up in digital corporate communications. Social media channels are now considered mandatory, and artificial intelligence is increasingly used in communication with customers, investors and the public.

In addition, the politicization of corporate communication has been recognized as an important element of corporate strategy. This is shown by a study by the consulting firm Netfederation (Netfed), which examined the websites of the 60 largest German companies with a group structure.

The “Corporate Benchmark 2020”, which is available exclusively to the Handelsblatt, also shows that there is still a lot of catching up to do. Netfed identified the “greatest potential for optimization” in the technical implementation. Page loading times or search management often leave a lot to be desired. An example: If users enter “Sales 2018” in the search field, just two thirds of the websites show relevant results.

But the experts also recognized deficits in terms of content: “Statements on cultural diversity and how to deal with racism and sexual orientation are too often missing on corporate websites,” says Christian Berens, Managing Director at Netfed. The same applies to the issue of climate change. “Companies are clearly required to position themselves here,” says Berens. Sustainability cannot be found in the explanations of the strategy for a fifth of the companies examined.

Clear positioning of companies is an advantage

SAP for example, is one of the companies that clearly address the issue of diversity and inclusion. The Walldorf-based Dax group creates the link to profitability.

It is said that “as a company you can only achieve top performance” if our employees have the freedom to be themselves. We welcome and encourage different perspectives. We are convinced that the diversity of cultural and ethnic origin, age, gender, sexual orientation and identity, mental and physical abilities and individual living and working conditions strengthens our company. ”Another chapter is dedicated to the employment of autistic employees.

The “re-politicization of society”, so it says in the analysis, must also be reflected in corporate communication via websites and social media. In the future, companies “with a clear positioning” would “receive far greater popularity than those who avoid these issues”. Goals would have to be clearly communicated in order to be measurable and comparable with other companies.


Netfederation looked at the areas of corporate social responsibility, media relations and human resources. Company presentation plays a decisive role, especially when it comes to recruiting skilled workers. Orientation towards meaning and values ​​are important for interested parties. New employees wanted to know why a company existed and what the purpose of doing business was.

Many companies have made considerable progress in this area, known as Purpose. The information is exemplary to this from Siemens or Bayer. Another topic that is of increasing interest from outside is digitization. The presentation of the Deutsche Telekom called on digital ethics.

There are still gaps in the area of ​​security

Netfed has discovered some catching up to do in the use of interactive communication technologies. Ninety percent of the companies examined did not use cross-website chat options, chatbots or direct messengers. But the interest seems aroused: Daimler for example, has introduced a chatbot for investor relations – and won the “German Prize for Online Communication” for it.

Obviously there is also some catching up to do in terms of topicality. That was not an object of the evaluation by Netfederation. However, the spectacular ransomware attack before Christmas on the Funke media group and other medium-sized companies earlier is likely to have triggered considerable uncertainty over the holidays and sparked interest in information about the threat.

At least from companies in the IT and communications sector such as Telekom and SAP, more detailed information would have been expected.

After all, Deutsche Telekom leads the benchmarking this year with 745 out of 1000 possible points, while the software company SAP is seventh with 656 points. But the websites of these companies did not reveal anything on the subject until the end of the year. A search with the keyword “ransomware” was largely unsuccessful.

Almost all corporations have recognized the growing role of social media. They are now a “must-have for every company”. Nevertheless, according to the study, it is not possible for around a quarter of the companies to share the content of their websites directly via social media channels. Sharing is a simple instrument to give your own messages greater reach.

RWE shines with its link to social media

It is rarely as comfortable as with the energy supplier RWE. Website visitors would have the option of either sharing entire posts or marking individual text modules and then using Facebook, TwitterForwarding to LinkedIn or email.

Incidentally, most companies lack the verification of the YouTube channel. Netfed also provides the reason for this: Youtube stipulates at least 100,000 subscribers for verification. The bottom line is that Netfed states: Social media have arrived in German corporations. But there is “still room for improvement in many areas”.

The bottom of the corporate benchmark is completely out of the ordinary: Linde received only 179 points. The German-American gas manufacturer has almost stopped German-language communication. For a company listed in the Dax 30, this is “incomprehensible”, is Netfed’s criticism. Linde’s communicative immersion does not change the fact that the industrial group had temporarily risen to become the most valuable company in the Dax.

More: German corporations have not lost their green conscience during the crisis


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