Global Headquarters in Motion - Untersuchungen zu den medialen Repräsentationsstrategien von Unternehmensarchitektur

  • Global Headquarters in Motion – Strategies of representing architecture of global companies in media

Kehler-Poljak, Michael; Markschies, Alexander (Thesis advisor); Sowa, Axel (Thesis advisor)

Aachen (2017)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Dissertation, RWTH Aachen University, 2017


The subject of the investigation is the representation of architecture of global companies in movies and corporate videos, which were initiated by the companies or other sources. The clearly defined aim is to get knowledge about methods of representation of the architecture in corporate videos, as well as their influence on clients, society and suppliers. According to the results of related studies from the different fields, several mechanisms, strategies and methods can be used as a theoretical basis for the representation of architecture of global companies in media. In the first chapter of this thesis the definition of “representative architecture of companies” and the development of types of buildings from the early 20th century till today are induced. Due to the usage of different strategies of communication and psychological aspects, already in the early age of the “industrial film” the representation of architecture of companies was present, what is also documented in several archives of the big players in the metal industry and is visible in several examples of movies from the 1920th up to the 1970th. The empirical study includes 474 of the biggest global companies from 31 countries. The main criterion for further analysis was an appearance of the architecture of a certain company in image movies and corporate videos. Just 30% of all analyzed corporate videos uses architecture as a representative object or as the main content, what is still less than expected. Still, it can be noticed that the use of the architecture in the corporate videos now days is increasing, if we compare it to the early age of film. Since the 1980th the “corporate architecture” became a more important topic and the knowledge about the influence of architecture on the company’s image led to the increase of this type of videos. Unfortunately, some stereotypes of representation of the architecture of companies in corporate videos can be noticed. A comprehensive approach of including the architecture of companies as a part of the strategically representation in media was found just in a few cases. For example, the BMW-Group, which has been analyzed as a case of study, is showing how an integrative approach of including the architecture of the company can affect the perception of public and the image of the company. Thus, architecture has to be placed strategically as a very important part of the communication strategy of the company. Due to the outspread of virtuality, intermedia and global network every company has an opportunity to implement architecture in corporate videos and in this way to create a positive impact on the perception of the public, customers, suppliers, employees and society itself. Hence, architecture can be defined as a cultural and social object and its relevance in communication strategies should be recognized in order to achieve more diversified and positive image of the companies.