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Submit your paper to Sustainability’s special issue on smart cities and digital innovation

I am co-editing a Special issue for Sustainability (IF: 2.592). Your contributions should be related to “The Sustainable Development of Smart Cities through Digital Innovation”

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2020.

Special Issue Information

The ‘smart city’ concept has been wrought from distinctive theoretical underpinnings. Initially, this term was used to describe those cities that utilized advanced computerized systems to provide a safe, secure, green, and efficient transportation services and utilities to meet the demands of their citizens (Caragliu, Del Bo & Nijkamp, 2011; Hall, Bowerman and Braverman, Taylor, Todosow and Von Wimmersperg, 2000). A thorough literature review suggests that several cities are already using disruptive technologies, including advanced, integrated materials, sensors, electronics, and networks, among others, which are interfaced with computerized systems to improve their economic, social and environmental sustainability (Camilleri, 2015, 2017; Deakin and Al Waer, 2011; Hall et al., 2000). These cities are increasingly relying on data-driven technologies, as they gather and analyze data from urban services including transportation and utilities (Ramaswami, Russell, Culligan, Sharma and Kumar, 2016; Gretzel, Sigala, Xiang and Koo, 2015). Their underlying objective is to improve the quality of life of their citizens (Ratten, 2017; Buhalis and Amaranggana, 2015). Hence, ‘smart cities’ have introduced technological innovations to address contingent issues like traffic congestion; air pollution; waste management; loss of biodiversity and natural habitat; energy generation, conservation and consumption; water leakages and security, among other matters (Camilleri, 2019; 2014; Ahvenniemi, Huovila, Pinto-Seppä and Airaksinen, 2017; Ratten and Dana, 2017; Ratten, 2017).

Ecologically-advanced local governments and municipalities are formulating long-term sustainable policies and strategies. Some of them are already capturing data through multisensor technologies via wireless communication networks in real time (Bibri, 2018; Bibri and Krogstie, 2017). Very often, they use the Internet’s infrastructure and a wide range of smart data-sensing devices, including radio frquency identification (RFID), near-field communication (NFC), global positioning systems (GPS), infrared sensors, accelerometers, and laser scanners (Bibri, 2018). A few cities have already started to benefit from the Internet of Things (IoT) technology and its sophisticated network that consists of sensor devices and physical objects including infrastructure and natural resources (Zanella, Bui, Castellani, Vangelista and Zorzi, 2014).

Several cities are crunching big data to better understand how to make their cities smarter, more efficient, and responsive to today’s realities (Mohanty, Choppali and Kougianos, 2016; Ramaswami et al., 2016). They gather and analyze a vast amount of data and intelligence on urban aspects, including transportation issues, citizen mobility, traffic management, accessibility and protection of cultural heritage and/or environmental domains, among other areas (Angelidou, Psaltoglou, Komninos, Kakderi, Tsarchopoulos and Panori, 2018; Ahvenniemi et al., 2017). The latest advances in technologies like big data analytics and decision-making algorithms can support local governments and muncipalities to implement the circular economy in smart cities (Camilleri, 2019). The data-driven technologies enable them them to reduce their externalities. They can monitor and control the negative emissions, waste, habitat destruction, extinction of wildlife, etc. Therefore, the digital innovations ought to be used to inform the relevant stakeholders in their strategic planning and development of urban environments (Camilleri, 2019; Allam & Newman, 2018; Yigitcanlar and Kamruzzaman, 2018; Angelidou et al. ,2018; Caragliu et al., 2011).

In this light, we are calling for theoretical and empirical contributions that are focused on the creation, diffusion, as well as on the utilization of technological innovations and information within the context of smart, sustainable cities. This Special Issue will include but is not limited to the following topics:

  • Advancing the circular economy agenda in smart cities;
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning in smart cities;
  • Blockchain technologies in smart cities;
  • Green economy of smart cities;
  • Green infrastructure in smart cities;
  • Green living environments in smart cities;
  • Smart cities and the sustainable environment;
  • Smart cities and the use of data-driven technologies;
  • Smart cities and the use of the Internet of Things (IoT);
  • Sustainable energy of smart cities;
  • Sustainable financing for infrastructural development in smart cities;
  • Sustainable housing in smart cities;
  • Sustainable transportation in smart cities;
  • Sustainable tourism in smart cities;
  • Technological innovation and climate change for smart cities;
  • Technological innovation and the green economy of smart cities;
  • Technological innovation and the renewable energy in smart cities;
  • Technological innovation and urban resilience of smart cities;
  • Technological innovation for the infrastructural development of smart cities;
  • The accessibility and protection of the cultural heritage in smart cities;
  • The planning and design of smart cities;
  • The quality of life of the citizens and communities living in smart cities;
  • Urban innovation in smart cities;
  • Urban planning that integrates the smart city development with the greening of the environment;
  • Urban planning and data driven technologies of smart cities.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Mark Anthony Camilleri E-Mail Website
Department of Corporate Communication, University of Malta, Msida, MSD2080, Malta.
Interests: sustainability; digital media; stakeholder engagement; corporate social responsibility; sustainable tourism
Prof. Dr. Vanessa Ratten E-Mail Website
Department of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Marketing, La Trobe University – Melbourne, Australia
Interests: innovation; technology; entrepreneurship

 

References:

  1. Ahvenniemi, H., Huovila, A., Pinto-Seppä, I., & Airaksinen, M. (2017). What are the differences between sustainable and smart cities?. Cities60, 234-245.
  2. Allam, Z., & Newman, P. (2018). Redefining the smart city: Culture, metabolism and governance. Smart Cities1(1), 4-25
  3. Angelidou, M., Psaltoglou, A., Komninos, N., Kakderi, C., Tsarchopoulos, P., & Panori, A. (2018). Enhancing sustainable urban development through smart city applications. Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management9(2), 146-169.
  4. Bibri, S. E., & Krogstie, J. (2017). Smart sustainable cities of the future: An extensive interdisciplinary literature review. Sustainable cities and society31, 183-212.
  5. Bibri, S. E. (2018). The IoT for smart sustainable cities of the future: An analytical framework for sensor-based big data applications for environmental sustainability. Sustainable Cities and Society38, 230-253.
  6. Buhalis, D., & Amaranggana, A. (2015). Smart tourism destinations enhancing tourism experience through personalisation of services. In Information and communication technologies in tourism 2015 (pp. 377-389). Springer, Cham.
  7. Camilleri, M. (2014). Advancing the sustainable tourism agenda through strategic CSR perspectives. Tourism Planning & Development11(1), 42-56.
  8. Camilleri, M. A. (2015). Environmental, social and governance disclosures in Europe. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal6(2), 224-242.
  9. Camilleri, M. A. (2017). Corporate sustainability and responsibility: creating value for business, society and the environment. Asian Journal of Sustainability and Social Responsibility2(1), 59-74.
  10. Camilleri, M. A. (2019). The circular economy’s closed loop and product service systems for sustainable development: A review and appraisal. Sustainable Development27(3), 530-536.
  11. Caragliu, A., Del Bo, C., & Nijkamp, P. (2011). Smart cities in Europe. Journal of urban technology18(2), 65-82.
  12. Deakin, M., & Al Waer, H. (2011). From intelligent to smart cities. Intelligent Buildings International3(3), 140-152.
  13. Gretzel, U., Sigala, M., Xiang, Z., & Koo, C. (2015). Smart tourism: foundations and developments. Electronic Markets25(3), 179-188.
  14. Hall, R. E., Bowerman, B., Braverman, J., Taylor, J., Todosow, H., & Von Wimmersperg, U. (2000). The vision of a smart city (No. BNL-67902; 04042). Brookhaven National Lab., Upton, NY (US).
  15. Mohanty, S. P., Choppali, U., & Kougianos, E. (2016). Everything you wanted to know about smart cities: The internet of things is the backbone. IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine5(3), 60-70.
  16. Ramaswami, A., Russell, A. G., Culligan, P. J., Sharma, K. R., & Kumar, E. (2016). Meta-principles for developing smart, sustainable, and healthy cities. Science352(6288), 940-943.
  17. Ratten, V., & Dana, L. P. (2017). Sustainable entrepreneurship, family farms and the dairy industry. International Journal of Social Ecology and Sustainable Development (IJSESD)8(3), 114-129.
  18. Ratten, V. (2017). Entrepreneurship, innovation and smart cities. Routledge: Oxford, UK.
  19. Yigitcanlar, T., & Kamruzzaman, M. (2018). Does smart city policy lead to sustainability of cities? Land Use Policy73, 49-58.
  20. Zanella, A., Bui, N., Castellani, A., Vangelista, L., & Zorzi, M. (2014). Internet of things for smart cities. IEEE Internet of Things journal1(1), 22-32.

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI’s English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainability
  • Smart Cities
  • Digital innovation
  • Technological innovation
  • Sustainable innovation
  • Big Data
  • Internet of Things
  • Artificial Intelligence

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.

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Filed under Analytics, Big Data, blockchain, Business, Circular Economy, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, CSR, destination marketing, digital media, ESG Reporting, Impact Investing, Integrated Reporting, responsible tourism, Shared Value, smart cities, Socially Responsible Investment, SRI, Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainability, sustainable development

Promoting strategic corporate social responsibility among practitioners

What is Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility?

Organisations engage in Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility (Strategic CSR) when they integrate responsible behaviours in their corporate practices (Camilleri, 2018; Porter & Kramer, 2011). Therefore, Strategic CSR is often evidenced by the businesses’ engagement with key stakeholders, including customers, employees, shareholders, regulatory authorities and communities as their non-financial activities can have an effect on society and the natural environment (Camilleri, 2017a). The ultimate goal of strategic CSR is to create both economic and social value (Carroll & Shabana, 2010; Falck & Heblich, 2007).


Introduction

The businesses’ CSR practices may result in a sustained competitive advantage if they are willing to forge strong relationships with their stakeholders (Camilleri, 2015a; Freeman,  & McVea, 2001). Therefore, businesses ought to communicate with employees, customers, suppliers, regulatory stakeholders as well as with their surrounding community (EU, 2016; Bhattacharya, Korschun & Sen, 2009). Positive stakeholder relationships can lead to an improved organizational performance, in the long run (Camilleri, 2015a).

The most successful businesses are increasingly promoting the right conditions of employment for their employees, within their supply chains (Camilleri, 2017b). They are also instrumental in improving the lives of their suppliers (Camilleri, 2017c; Porter & Kramer, 2011). They do so as they would like to enhance the quality and attributes of their products or services; which are ultimately delivered to customers and consumers. Hence, their long-term investments on strategic CSR activities are likely to yield financial returns for them. At the same time they will add value to society (McWilliams et al., 2006; Falck & Heblich, 2007). Therefore, the strategic CSR involves the promotion of socially and environmentally responsible practices they are re-aligned with the businesses’ profit motives (Camilleri, 2017b,c).


Key Theoretical Underpinnings

The Strategic CSR perspective resonates well with the agency theory. In the past, scholars argued that the companies’ only responsibility was to maximise their owners’ and shareholders’ wealth (Levitt, 1958; Friedman, 1970). Hence, companies were often encouraged to undertake CSR strategies which can bring value to their businesses and to disregard those activities which are fruitless. However, at times, the fulfilment of philanthropic responsibilities can also  benefit the bottom line (Lantos, 2001).

Although, it could be difficult to quantify the returns of responsible behaviours, relevant research has shown that those companies that practiced social and environmental responsibility did well by doing good (Falck & Heblich, 2007, Porter & Kramer, 2011).Some of the contributions on this topic suggest that corporate philanthropy should be deeply rooted in the firms’ competences and linked to their business environment (Camilleri, 2015; Porter & Kramer, 2002; Godfrey, 2005). Many authors often referred to the CSR’s core domains (economic, legal and ethical responsibilities) that were compatible and consistent with the relentless call for the business case of CSR (Camilleri, 2015b; Carroll & Shabana, 2010, Vogel, 2005).

Many commentators argued that the strategic CSR practices may result in a new wave of social benefits as well as gains for the businesses themselves (Fombrun et al., 2000; Porter & Kramer, 2011) rather than merely acting on well-intentioned impulses or by reacting to outside pressures (Van Marrewijk, 2003). Lozano (2015) indicated that the business case is the most important driver for CSR engagement. Thus, proper incentives may encourage managers ‘to do well by doing good’ (Falck & Heblich, 2007). If it is a company’s goal to survive and prosper, it can do nothing better than to take a long-term view and understand that if it treats society well, society will return the favour. Companies could direct their discretionary investments to areas (and cost centres) that are relevant to them (Gupta & Sharma, 2009). The reconciliation of shareholder and other stakeholders addresses the perpetual relationship between business and society, as companies are expected to balance the conflicting stakeholder interests for long term sustainability (Orlitzky et al., 2011; Camilleri, 2017c; Camilleri 2019).

 

Conclusion
Many companies are increasingly recognising the business case for CSR as they allocate adequate and sufficient resources to financial and non-financial activities that will ultimately benefit their stakeholders. Their motivation behind their engagement in strategic CSR practices is to increase their profits and to create shareholder value. At the same time, they strengthen their competitive advantage through stakeholder management.

References

Bhattacharya CB, Korschun D, Sen S (2009). Strengthening stakeholder–company relationships through mutually beneficial corporate social responsibility initiatives. J Bus Ethics 85(2):257–272.

Camilleri, M.A. (2015a). Valuing Stakeholder Engagement and Sustainability Reporting. Corporate Reputation Review, 18 (3), 210-222.

Camilleri, M.A. (2015b) The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility. In Menzel Baker, S. & Mason, M.(Eds.) Marketing & Public Policy as a Force for Social Change Conference. (Washington D.C., 4th June). Proceedings, pp. 8-14, American Marketing Association.

Camilleri M.A. (2017a) Corporate sustainability, social responsibility and environmental management: an introduction to theory and practice with case studies. Springer, Cham, Switzerland.

Camilleri, M.A. (2017b). Corporate Citizenship and Social Responsibility Policies in the United States of America. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal. 8 (1), 77-93.

Camilleri, M.A. (2017c). The Rationale for Responsible Supply Chain Management and Stakeholder Engagement. Journal of Global Responsibility. 8 (1), 111-126.

Camilleri, M.A. (2018). The SMEs’ Technology Acceptance of Digital Media for Stakeholder Engagement. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development.  26(4), 504-521.

Camilleri, M.A. (2019). Measuring the corporate managers’ attitudes toward ISO’s social responsibility standard. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence. 30(14), 1549-1561.

Carroll AB, Shabana KM (2010). The business case for corporate social responsibility: a review of concepts, research and practice. Int J Manag Rev 12(1):85–105.

European Union (2016). Corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the EU. European Commission Publications, Brussels, Belgium http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=331.

Falck O, Heblich S (2007). Corporate social responsibility: doing well by doing good. Business Horizons 50(3):247–254.

Freeman, R. E., & McVea, J. (2001). A stakeholder approach to strategic management. The Blackwell handbook of strategic management, 189-207.

Friedman M (1970). The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. New York Times Magazine 13:32–33.

Godfrey PC (2005). The relationship between corporate philanthropy and shareholder wealth: a risk management perspective. Acad Manag Rev 30(4):777–798.

Gupta S, Sharma N (2009). CSR-A business opportunity. Indian Journal of Industrial Relations:396–401.

Lantos GP (2001). The boundaries of strategic corporate social responsibility. J Consum Mark 18(7):595–632.

Levitt T (1958). The dangers of social-responsibility. Harv Bus Rev 36(5):41–50.

Lozano R (2015). A holistic perspective on corporate sustainability drivers. Corp Soc Responsib Environ Manag 22(1): 32–44.

Orlitzky M, Siegel DS, Waldman DA (2011). Strategic corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability. Business & society 50(1):6–27.

Porter ME, Kramer MR (2011). Creating shared value. Harv Bus Rev 89(1/2):62–77.

Van Marrewijk M (2003). Concepts and definitions of CSR and corporate sustainability: between agency and communion. J Bus Ethics 44(2):95–105.

Vogel DJ (2005). Is there a market for virtue? The business case for corporate social responsibility. Calif Manag Rev 47(4):19–45.

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Announcing a Call for Chapters (for Springer)

Strategic Corporate Communication and Stakeholder Engagement in the Digital Age

 

Abstract submission deadline: 30th September 2019
Full chapters due: 31st December 2019

 

Background

The latest advances in technologies and networks have been central to the expansion of electronic content across different contexts. Contemporary communication approaches are crossing boundaries as new media are offering both challenges and opportunities. The democratisation of the production and dissemination of information via the online technologies has inevitably led individuals and organisations to share content (including images, photos, news items, videos and podcasts) via the digital and social media. Interactive technologies are allowing individuals and organisations to co-create and manipulate electronic content. At the same time, they enable them to engage in free-flowing conversations with other online users, groups or virtual communities (Camilleri, 2017). Innovative technologies have empowered the organisations’ stakeholders, including; employees, investors, customers, local communities, government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as well as the news media, among others. Both internal and external stakeholders are in a better position to scrutinise the organisations’ decisions and actions. For this reason, there is scope for the practitioners to align their corporate communication goals and activities with the societal expectations (Camilleri, 2015; Gardberg & Fombrun, 2006). Therefore, organisations are encouraged to listen to their stakeholders. Several public interest organisations, including listed businesses, banks and insurance companies are already sharing information about their financial and non-financial performance in an accountable and transparent manner. The rationale behind their corporate disclosures is to develop and maintain strong and favourable reputations among stakeholders (Camilleri, 2018; Cornelissen, 2008). The corporate reputation is “a perceptual representation of a company’s past actions and future prospects that describe the firm’s overall appeal to all of its key constituents when compared to other leading rivals” (Fombrun, 1996).

Business and media practitioners ought to be cognisant about the strategic role of corporate communication in leveraging the organisations’ image and reputation among stakeholders (Van Riel & Fombrun, 2007). They are expected to possess corporation communication skills as they need to forge relationships with different stakeholder groups (including employees, customers, suppliers, investors, media, regulatory authorities and the community at large). They have to be proficient in specialist areas, including; issues management, crises communication as well as in corporate social responsibility reporting, among other topics. At the same time, they should be aware about the possible uses of different technologies, including; artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, big data analytics, blockchain and internet of things, among others; as these innovative tools are disrupting today’s corporate communication processes.

 

Objective

This title shall explain how strategic communication and media management can affect various political, economic, societal and technological realities. Theoretical and empirical contributions can shed more light on the existing structures, institutions and cultures that are firmly founded on the communication technologies, infrastructures and practices. The rapid proliferation of the digital media has led both academics and practitioners to increase their interactive engagement with a multitude of stakeholders. Very often, they are influencing regulators, industries, civil society organisations and activist groups, among other interested parties. Therefore, this book’s valued contributions may include, but are not restricted to, the following topics:

 

Artificial Intelligence and Corporate Communication

Augmented and Virtual Reality in Corporate Communication

Blockchain and Corporate Communication

Big Data and Analytics in Corporate Communication

Branding and Corporate Reputation

Corporate Communication via Social Media

Corporate Communication Policy

Corporate Culture

Corporate Identity

Corporate Social Responsibility Communications

Crisis, Risk and Change Management

Digital Media and Corporate Communication

Employee Communications

Fake News and Corporate Communication

Government Relationships

Integrated Communication

Integrated Reporting of Financial and Non-Financial Performance

Internet Technologies and Corporate Communication

Internet of Things and Corporate Communication

Investor Relationships

Issues Management and Public Relations

Leadership and Change Communication

Marketing Communications

Measuring the Effectiveness of Corporate Communications

Metrics for Corporate Communication Practice

Press and Media Relationships

Stakeholder Management and Communication

Strategic Planning and Communication Management

 

This publication shall present the academics’ conceptual discussions that cover the contemporary topic of corporate communication in a concise yet accessible way. Covering both theory and practice, this publication shall introduce its readers to the key issues of strategic corporate communication as well as stakeholder management in the digital age. This will allow prospective practitioners to critically analyse future, real-life situations. All chapters will provide a background to specific topics as the academic contributors should feature their critical perspectives on issues, controversies and problems relating to corporate communication.

This authoritative book will provide relevant knowledge and skills in corporate communication that is unsurpassed in readability, depth and breadth. At the start of each chapter, the authors will prepare a short abstract that summarises the content of their contribution. They are encouraged to include descriptive case studies to illustrate real situations, conceptual, theoretical or empirical contributions that are meant to help aspiring managers and executives in their future employment. In conclusion, each chapter shall also contain a succinct summary that should outline key implications (of the findings) to academia and / or practitioners, in a condensed form. This will enable the readers to retain key information.

 

Target Audience

This textbook introduces aspiring practitioners as well as under-graduate and post-graduate students to the subject of corporate communication – in a structured manner. More importantly, it will also be relevant to those course instructors who are teaching media, marketing communications and business-related subjects in higher education institutions, including; universities and colleges. It is hoped that course conveners will use this edited textbook as a basis for class discussions.

 

Submission Procedure

Senior and junior academic researchers are invited to submit a 300-word abstract on or before the 30th June 2019. Submissions should be sent to Mark.A.Camilleri@um.edu.mt. Authors will be notified about the editorial decision during July 2019. The length of the chapters should be between 6,000- 8,000 words (including references, figures and tables). These contributions will be accepted on or before the 31st December 2019. The references should be presented in APA style (Version 6). All submitted chapters will be critically reviewed on a double-blind review basis. The authors’ and the reviewers’ identities will remain anonymous. All authors will be requested to serve as reviewers for this book. They will receive a notification of acceptance, rejection or suggested modifications – on or before the 15th February 2020.

Note: There are no submission or acceptance fees for the publication of this book. All abstracts / proposals should be submitted via the editor’s email.

 

Editor

Mark Anthony Camilleri (Ph.D. Edinburgh)
Department of Corporate Communication,
Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences,
University of Malta, MALTA.
Email: mark.a.camilleri@um.edu.mt

 

Publisher

Following the double-blind peer review process, the full chapters will be submitted to Springer Nature for final review. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit https://www.springer.com/gp. This prospective publication will be released in 2020.

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Delivering service quality to increase brand loyalty

IMG-5907(C) M.A. Camilleri

This is an excerpt from my latest academic article.

How to Cite: Rather, R. A. & Camilleri, M.A. (2019). The effects of service quality and consumer-brand value congruity on hospitality brand loyalty, Anatolia: An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research. https://doi.org/10.1080/13032917.2019.1650289

This study has proved that the combined effects of value congruity and service quality can have an impact on consumer-brand identification and engagement. The results from this study indicated that the consumer-brand identification as well as consumer-brand engagement were predicting the consumers’ loyalty toward the brand. The findings also reported that consumer-brand identification, perceived service quality as well as value congruity were significant antecedents of consumer-brand engagement. In addition, the service quality and value congruity had moderate, direct effects on consumer brand identification. Furthermore, the empirical results revealed that consumer brand identification has mediated the relationships between value congruity and brand loyalty, and between service quality and brand loyalty.

In a similar vein, a critical analysis of the relevant literature revealed that consumer-brand relationships are dependent on the customers’ identification with their favorite brands (Çifci et al., 2016; Rather & Camilleri, 2019; Rather, 2018; Tuskej & Podnar, 2018; So et al., 2013; 2014). Specifically, the consumer-brand identification is related with the consumer-brand value congruity (Rather, 2018). As a matter of fact, past research also reported that consumer-brand identification has a positive effect on customer behaviors and attitudes (in terms of loyalty and commitment) (Rather & Camilleri, 2019). However, in this case, the findings of this study suggest that both the consumer-brand value congruity and perceived service quality are the significant antecedents of consumer-brand identification and engagement.

The consumer-brand identification will inevitably trigger supporting behaviors like increased purchase / repurchase intentions (e.g., Kuenzel & Halliday, 2008) or positive word-of-mouth recommendations (Tuskej et al., 2013), among other positive outcomes. Therefore, hospitality practitioners ought to nurture physical and virtual relationships with their stakeholders via a multitude of approaches, if they want them to remain loyal to their business (Dedeoğlu & Demirer, 2015). Public activities such as sponsorship, charity events, social campaigns and so on can be used to enhance the brands’ image among interested parties, including customers (Bhattacharya & Sen, 2003). For this reason, several hospitality brands are increasingly engaging in interactive communications either individually or in groups, via digital technologies, including social media, blogs, v-blogs, video clips, review sites, etc. (Camilleri, 2018a; So et al., 2017; Su, Mariadoss, & Reynolds, 2015). Very often, individuals are intrigued to share their travel experiences, including their hotel accommodation (Camilleri, 2018b).

In a nutshell, this contribution posited that the hotel guests will probably engage and remain loyal to particular hospitality brands if they feel and perceive that their values reflect their own values. This study reported that the consumer-brand value congruity had a very significant effect on the consumers’ identification and engagement with the upscale hospitality brands. It indicated that the hotel guests who have experienced excellent service quality are more likely to share their experience with other individuals. Hence, hospitality managers need to ensure that their brand consistently delivers high levels of tangible and intangible service quality (at all times) to their valued guests in order to create long-lasting relationships with them.

The hotels’ provision of the service quality and brand experience ought to meet and exceed their guests’ expectations to satisfy their self-enhancement needs and their sense of well-being.

 

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A SWOT Analysis of the Marketing Environment of Higher Education Institutions

This is an excerpt from a recent Working Paper.

How to Cite: Camilleri, M.A. (2019). The Internationalization of Higher Education in a Competitive Marketing Environment. Working Paper 0506-2019, Department of Corporate Communication, University of Malta, Malta.


Strengths

  • Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) raise their financial capital requirements by charging tuition fees to full time, part time and distance learning students; Government-funded HEIs may provide free or reduced tuition fees;
  • Many international courses are taught in English; The English language has become an important lever for international student mobility (ICEF, 2017);
  • Several HEIs provide work-integrated education; they deliver pragmatic, application-oriented programs. The students are may be expected to undertake industry placements as part of their studies. Therefore work-integrated education (WIE) may be a component of the HEIs’ curriculum.
  • Work-integrated education supports students to become all-round professionals with an appropriate level of operational experience. It equips students with a thorough understanding of the business and industry’s operations. WIE would usually take place in an organizational context that is relevant to the students’ future employment prospects. At the same time, the students would obtain communicative and transferable skills that will be valuable for their development. The focus is to help them acquire a range of valuable generic abilities, including people-skills through interactions with peers, subordinates and supervisors. After their working period, the students will be in a position to apply the theories that they have learnt in real-life settings. Hence, students develop their knowledge and skills in a professional environment, whilst increasing the chances of their employability prospects (Kolb & Kolb, 2005);
  • HEIs are increasingly establishing international collaboration agreements with other educational institutions, across borders. They enable student exchange programs and field trips. The classroom teaching is enriched with student exchanges and field trips that provide students relevant on-the-job training;
  • HEIs are building their alumni networks over the years. Many of their students have become business and industry professionals.
  • HEIs are often engaging with business and industry as they provide their consultancy and research services;
  • HEIs offer Executive Development Programs to industry practitioners, allowing them to update their skills, and to broaden their knowledge.

Weaknesses

  • Many HEIs are not managed as profitable organizations;
  • HEIs’ academic employees may become members in trade unions. The unions can use their bargaining power on the university’s administration;
  • HEIs can be slow to respond to the ongoing changes in the business and industry. They may need to adapt their curricula and courses to better meet the prospective employers’ requirements;
  • The HEIs’ academic members of staff may have long contact hours with their students (when compared to other institutions);
  • The HEIs’ academia are not always publishing adequate and sufficient research (when compared to other institutions);
  • The HEIs’ prospective students may be attracted to competitive institutions who are offering cheaper tuition fees. The international prospects will consider the HEIs’ locations and their living expenses;
  • The HEIs’ international marketing efforts may be focusing on limited catchment areas. They may be overlooking promising markets (Constantinides & Zinck Stagno, 2011).

Opportunities

  • HEIs may use educational technology to improve their students’ experience. Educational technologies could enhance the quality of online courses, particularly those that are offered to part-time, or distance learning students;
  • HEIs can utilize blogs, RSS feeds, podcasts, wikis, electronic fora, webinars, et cetera to reach their target audiences. They may use social media and word of mouth marketing by communicating student testimonials, online reviews and ratings, in order to attract students from different markets;
  • HEIs could incentivize their educators and researchers to participate in academic conferences and to publish their work in highly-indexed journals;
  • The setting up of research (or special interest) groups could improve collaboration and teamwork among the HEIs’ members of staff;
  • HEIs’ academics should be encouraged to become members in editorial boards of leading journals;
  • HEIs can offer high-level consultancy and professional advisory services to private and public organizations;
  • HEIs may organize international conferences and fora that can be used as a platform for insightful exchange amongst academics, industry practitioners and tourism policy-makers;
  • HEIs can engage with alumni by involving them in social events, webinars and continuous professional development programs;
  • Industry professionals can be invited to speak to students on specific subject lectures. These experts may help students gain a deeper understanding of the industry;
  • HEIs’ academia should be encouraged to share their research expertise with business and industry to pioneer developments. They should promote their research outputs (Duque, 2014; Parameswaran & Glowacka, 1995). Relevant research can enhance industry performance and influence policy making;
  • HEIs can extend collaborative agreements in many areas, with reputable education institutions;
  • HEIs can obtain quality assurance and accreditations from international awarding bodies, for their educational programs. The recognition of their courses would necessitate a thorough assessment of their leadership, curriculum programs and skills, assessment methods, project work, student placements, student support, feedback and resources, et cetera;
  • The HEIs’ international admissions pages should evidence their ‘global perspective’ and could highlight their extensive range of services they offer to international students. For example, their course prospectus should be available in different languages;
  • There is an increased demand for higher education from mature students as the concept of life-long learning is being promoted in developing and advanced economies;
  • There are still untapped markets in Asia where students can’t access quality education at home. There is a business case to attract students from Africa as the continent’s youth population is rising (British Council, 2018);
  • The HEIs’ international students could be used as brand ambassadors and should be featured in their digital media;
  • HEIs may be supported by student scholarships (from governments, foundations or NGOs) and sponsorships that may be donated by industry partners.

Threats

  • Many HEIs’ national governments have already decreased (or cut) their public funding to HEIs (Estermann, 2017; Estermann, Nokkala & Steinel, 2011; Hoecht, 2006; Maton, 2005). Therefore, HEIs may have to raise their capital requirements through tuition fees and fund-raising activities;
  • There is a very competitive environment (in the global market). HEIs are increasingly targeting international students from many markets;
  • Many countries (including developing economies) have improved (or are improving) their educational systems. However, there may be students who decide to go abroad because they believe that there is neither capacity nor high-quality education at their home country (ICEF, 2017);
  • The ageing populations in many parts of the world, their greater life expectancies, coupled with lower fertility rates, means that populations in many countries are getting older. At the same time, the 15-to-24-year-old cohorts are shrinking. This key college-aged demographic will peak in Asia somewhere around 2020. Then it will start a gradual decline from that high point (British Council, 2018);
  • There may be political, socio-cultural and legal factors affecting the marketing of HEIs. International students may face travel restrictions. Rigorous travel formalities including the issuance of national visas and immigration policies, can affect the students choice of their prospective HEI;
  • Reduced scholarships and student exchange programs from foreign governments can have an impact on the number of students who may afford international mobility;
  • A growing number of Asian students are choosing to stay within their own region to study, and students from other countries – including African nations– are adding Asian destinations to their list of attractive options. Asian countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia, among others, are increasing their capacity to absorb international students. Students and families are placing more emphasis on value, and on the return on investment from overseas education. Therefore, students may opt to study close to their home;
  • There are growing indications that major employers are placing less emphasis on reputable HEIs and their brand identities (ICEF, 2017).

References (of the full paper)

Altbach,P.G. 2004.Globalisation and the university: Myths and realities in an unequal world. Tertiary Education and Management,10(1): 3-25.

Altbach, P. G., Reisberg, L., & Rumbley, L. E. 2009. Trends in global higher education: Tracking an academic revolution. A Report for UNESCO World Conference of Higher Education. http://www.cep.edu.rs/public/Altbach,_Reisberg,_Rumbley_Tracking_an_Academic_Revolution,_UNESCO_2009.pdf accessed 20th February, 2018.

Beine, M., Noël, R., & Ragot, L. 2014. Determinants of the international mobility of students. Economics of Education review, 41: 40-54.

Bharadwaj, S. G., Varadarajan, P. R., & Fahy, J. 1993. Sustainable competitive advantage in service industries: a conceptual model and research propositions. The Journal of Marketing, 57(4): 83-99.

Binsardi, A., & Ekwulugo, F. 2003. International marketing of British education: research on the students’ perception and the UK market penetration. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 21(5): 318-327.

British Council. 2018. International student mobility to 2027: Local investment, global outcomes. https://ei.britishcouncil.org/educationintelligence/ei-feature-international-student-mobility-2027-local-investment-global-outcome (accessed 17th February, 2018).

Budde-Sung, A. E. 2011. The increasing internationalization of the international business classroom: Cultural and generational considerations. Business Horizons, 54(4): 365-373.

Camilleri, M. A., & Camilleri, A. C. (2017). Digital learning resources and ubiquitous technologies in education. Technology, Knowledge and Learning, 22(1), 65-82.

Constantinides, E., & Zinck Stagno, M. C. 2011. Potential of the social media as instruments of higher education marketing: a segmentation study. Journal of marketing for higher education, 21(1): 7-24.

Cronin Jr, J. J., & Taylor, S. A. 1992. Measuring service quality: a reexamination and extension. Journal of marketing, 56(3):55-68.

Doque, L. C. 2014. A framework for analysing higher education performance: students’ satisfaction, perceived learning outcomes, and dropout intentions. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence 25(1-2): 1-21.

Estermann, T. 2017. Why university autonomy matters more than ever. University World News, (454), http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20170404132356742 (Accessed 28th February, 2018).

Estermann, T., Nokkala, T., & Steinel, M. 2011. University autonomy in Europe II. The Scorecard. Brussels: European University Association. http://agir-ups.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/University_Autonomy_in_Europe_II_-_The_Scorecard.sflb_.pdf (Accessed 28th February, 2018).

EUA 2017. EUA calls on governments to refrain from interference in university autonomy. http://www.eua.be/activities-services/news/newsitem/2017/04/03/eua-calls-on-governments-to-refrain-from-interference-in-university-autonomy (Accessed 26th February, 2018).

Friga, P.N., Bettis, R.A. & Sullivan, R.S. 2003. Changes. In graduate management education and new business school strategies for the 21st century. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 2(3): 233—249

Helms, M. M., & Nixon, J. 2010. Exploring SWOT analysis–where are we now? A review of academic research from the last decade. Journal of strategy and management, 3(3): 215-251.

Hemsley-Brown, J., & Oplatka, I. 2006. Universities in a competitive global marketplace: A systematic review of the literature on higher education marketing. International Journal of public sector management, 19(4): 316-338.

Hoecht, A. 2006. Quality assurance in UK higher education: Issues of trust, control, professional autonomy and accountability. Higher Education, 51(4): 541—563.

ICEF 2017. Mapping the trends that will shape international student mobility. http://monitor.icef.com/2017/07/mapping-trends-will-shape-international-student-mobility/ (Accessed 28th February, 2018).

Kolb, A. Y., & Kolb, D. A. 2005. Learning styles and learning spaces: Enhancing experiential learning in higher education. Academy of management learning & education, 4(2): 193-212.

Kotler, P., & Fox, K. F. 1995. Strategic marketing for educational institutions. New York, USA: Prentice Hall.

Lee, J. T. 2014. Education hubs and talent development: Policy- making and implementation challenges. Higher Education, 68(6): 807—823.

Marginson, S. 2006. Dynamics of national and global competition in higher education. Higher Education, 52(1): 1-39.

Maton, K. 2005. A question of autonomy: Bourdieu’s field approach and higher education policy. Journal of education policy, 20(6): 687-704.

Mazzarol, T. 1998. Critical success factors for international education marketing. International Journal of Educational Management, 12(4): 163-175.

Mazzarol, T., & Soutar, G. N. 2002. “Push-pull” factors influencing international student destination choice. International Journal of Educational Management, 16(2): 82-90.

Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. 2011. Distance education: A systems view of online learning. Belmont, CA, USA: Cengage Learning.

Parameswaran, R., & Glowacka, A. E. 1995. University image: An information processing perspective. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 6(2): 41-56.

Pucciarelli, F., & Kaplan, A. 2016. Competition and strategy in higher education: Managing complexity and uncertainty. Business Horizons, 59(3): 311-320.

Russell, M. 2005. Marketing education: A review of service quality perceptions among international students. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 17(1): 65-77.

Schofield, C., Cotton, D., Gresty, K., Kneale, P., & Winter, J. 2013. Higher education provision in a crowded marketplace. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 35(2): 193-205.

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Announcing a Call for Chapters (for Springer)

Call for Chapters

Strategic Corporate Communication and Stakeholder Engagement in the Digital Age

 

Abstract submission deadline: 30th June 2019 (EXTENDED to the 30th September 2019)
Full chapters due: 31st December 2019

 

Background

The latest advances in technologies and networks have been central to the expansion of electronic content across different contexts. Contemporary communication approaches are crossing boundaries as new media are offering both challenges and opportunities. The democratisation of the production and dissemination of information via the online technologies has inevitably led individuals and organisations to share content (including images, photos, news items, videos and podcasts) via the digital and social media. Interactive technologies are allowing individuals and organisations to co-create and manipulate electronic content. At the same time, they enable them to engage in free-flowing conversations with other online users, groups or virtual communities (Camilleri, 2017). Innovative technologies have empowered the organisations’ stakeholders, including; employees, investors, customers, local communities, government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as well as the news media, among others. Both internal and external stakeholders are in a better position to scrutinise the organisations’ decisions and actions. For this reason, there is scope for the practitioners to align their corporate communication goals and activities with the societal expectations (Camilleri, 2015; Gardberg & Fombrun, 2006). Therefore, organisations are encouraged to listen to their stakeholders. Several public interest organisations, including listed businesses, banks and insurance companies are already sharing information about their financial and non-financial performance in an accountable and transparent manner. The rationale behind their corporate disclosures is to develop and maintain strong and favourable reputations among stakeholders (Camilleri, 2018; Cornelissen, 2008). The corporate reputation is “a perceptual representation of a company’s past actions and future prospects that describe the firm’s overall appeal to all of its key constituents when compared to other leading rivals” (Fombrun, 1996).

Business and media practitioners ought to be cognisant about the strategic role of corporate communication in leveraging the organisations’ image and reputation among stakeholders (Van Riel & Fombrun, 2007). They are expected to possess corporation communication skills as they need to forge relationships with different stakeholder groups (including employees, customers, suppliers, investors, media, regulatory authorities and the community at large). They have to be proficient in specialist areas, including; issues management, crises communication as well as in corporate social responsibility reporting, among other topics. At the same time, they should be aware about the possible uses of different technologies, including; artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, big data analytics, blockchain and internet of things, among others; as these innovative tools are disrupting today’s corporate communication processes.

 

Objective

This title shall explain how strategic communication and media management can affect various political, economic, societal and technological realities. Theoretical and empirical contributions can shed more light on the existing structures, institutions and cultures that are firmly founded on the communication technologies, infrastructures and practices. The rapid proliferation of the digital media has led both academics and practitioners to increase their interactive engagement with a multitude of stakeholders. Very often, they are influencing regulators, industries, civil society organisations and activist groups, among other interested parties. Therefore, this book’s valued contributions may include, but are not restricted to, the following topics:

 

Artificial Intelligence and Corporate Communication

Augmented and Virtual Reality in Corporate Communication

Blockchain and Corporate Communication

Big Data and Analytics in Corporate Communication

Branding and Corporate Reputation

Corporate Communication via Social Media

Corporate Communication Policy

Corporate Culture

Corporate Identity

Corporate Social Responsibility Communications

Crisis, Risk and Change Management

Digital Media and Corporate Communication

Employee Communications

Fake News and Corporate Communication

Government Relationships

Integrated Communication

Integrated Reporting of Financial and Non-Financial Performance

Internet Technologies and Corporate Communication

Internet of Things and Corporate Communication

Investor Relationships

Issues Management and Public Relations

Leadership and Change Communication

Marketing Communications

Measuring the Effectiveness of Corporate Communications

Metrics for Corporate Communication Practice

Press and Media Relationships

Stakeholder Management and Communication

Strategic Planning and Communication Management

 

This publication shall present the academics’ conceptual discussions that cover the contemporary topic of corporate communication in a concise yet accessible way. Covering both theory and practice, this publication shall introduce its readers to the key issues of strategic corporate communication as well as stakeholder management in the digital age. This will allow prospective practitioners to critically analyse future, real-life situations. All chapters will provide a background to specific topics as the academic contributors should feature their critical perspectives on issues, controversies and problems relating to corporate communication.

This authoritative book will provide relevant knowledge and skills in corporate communication that is unsurpassed in readability, depth and breadth. At the start of each chapter, the authors will prepare a short abstract that summarises the content of their contribution. They are encouraged to include descriptive case studies to illustrate real situations, conceptual, theoretical or empirical contributions that are meant to help aspiring managers and executives in their future employment. In conclusion, each chapter shall also contain a succinct summary that should outline key implications (of the findings) to academia and / or practitioners, in a condensed form. This will enable the readers to retain key information.

 

Target Audience

This textbook introduces aspiring practitioners as well as under-graduate and post-graduate students to the subject of corporate communication – in a structured manner. More importantly, it will also be relevant to those course instructors who are teaching media, marketing communications and business-related subjects in higher education institutions, including; universities and colleges. It is hoped that course conveners will use this edited textbook as a basis for class discussions.

 

Submission Procedure

Senior and junior academic researchers are invited to submit a 300-word abstract on or before the 30th June 2019. Submissions should be sent to Mark.A.Camilleri@um.edu.mt. Authors will be notified about the editorial decision during July 2019. The length of the chapters should be between 6,000- 8,000 words (including references, figures and tables). These contributions will be accepted on or before the 31st December 2019. The references should be presented in APA style (Version 6). All submitted chapters will be critically reviewed on a double-blind review basis. The authors’ and the reviewers’ identities will remain anonymous. All authors will be requested to serve as reviewers for this book. They will receive a notification of acceptance, rejection or suggested modifications – on or before the 15th February 2020.

Note: There are no submission or acceptance fees for the publication of this book. All abstracts / proposals should be submitted via the editor’s email.

 

Editor

Mark Anthony Camilleri (Ph.D. Edinburgh)
Department of Corporate Communication,
Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences,
University of Malta, MALTA.
Email: mark.a.camilleri@um.edu.mt

 

Publisher

Following the double-blind peer review process, the full chapters will be submitted to Springer Nature for final review. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit https://www.springer.com/gp. This prospective publication will be released in 2020.

 

Important Dates

Abstract Submission Deadline:          30th June 2019 30th September 2019
Notification of Acceptance:               31st July 2019 31st October 2019

Full Chapters Due:                             31st December 2019

Notification of Review Results:         15th February 2020
Final Chapter Submission:                 31st March 2020

Final Acceptance Notification:          30th April, 2020

References

Camilleri, M.A. (2015). Valuing Stakeholder Engagement and Sustainability Reporting. Corporate Reputation Review18(3), 210-222. https://link-springer-com.ejournals.um.edu.mt/article/10.1057/crr.2015.9

Camilleri, M.A. (2017). Corporate Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature. https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319468488

Camilleri, M.A. (2018). Theoretical Insights on Integrated Reporting: The Inclusion of Non-Financial Capitals in Corporate Disclosures. Corporate Communications: An International Journal23(4), 567-581. https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/CCIJ-01-2018-0016

Cornelissen, J.P. (2008). Corporate Communication. The International Encyclopedia of Communication. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/9781405186407.wbiecc143.pub2

Fombrun, C.J. (1995). Reputation: Realizing Value from the Corporate Image. Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard Business School Press.

Gardberg, N.A., & Fombrun, C. J. (2006). Corporate Citizenship: Creating Intangible Assets across Institutional Environments. Academy of Management Review31(2), 329-346. https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/AMR.2006.20208684

Van Riel, C.B., & Fombrun, C.J. (2007). Essentials of Corporate Communication: Implementing Practices for Effective Reputation Management. Oxford, UK: Routledge. http://repository.umpwr.ac.id:8080/bitstream/handle/123456789/511/Essentials%20of%20Corporate%20Communication.pdf?sequence=1

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Filed under Analytics, Big Data, blockchain, branding, Business, Corporate Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, CSR, digital media, ESG Reporting, Higher Education, Human Resources, Impact Investing, Integrated Reporting, internet technologies, internet technologies and society, Marketing, online, Shared Value, Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainability, Web

Data-Driven Marketing Technologies and Disruptive Innovations

The latest disruptive technologies are supporting  the  marketing mix elements as they can improve the businesses’ interactive engagement with prospective customers, and enhance their personalization of services. They  may also provide secure pricing options.

Many firms are evolving from their passive, rigid, and product-centric state to a more flexible, dynamic, and customer-centric environment. Technology is enabling data-driven companies to monitor and detect any changes in consumer sentiment. Savvy technology giants including Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Google are capturing (and analyzing) the online and mobile activity of prospective customers. Their analytics captures the consumers’ interactions with brands and companies through digital media. Big data is enabling them to target and re-target individu­als and online communities with instantaneous pricing and access options, across multiple channels (via web-site activity, mobile,video, social media, e-commerce, among others). 

Mobile tracking technologies are being utilized by big technology conglomerates as they gather information on the consumer behaviours, including their shopping habits, lifestyle preferences , et cetera. Businesses have learnt how to take advantage of on-demand, real-time information from sensors, radio frequency identification and other location tracking devices to better understand their marketing environments at a more granular level (Storey and Song, 2017). This way business could come up with personalised products and services, that are demanded by individual customers. From a business perspective, it is important to acquire this data, quickly, and in high velocities.

Many businesses are already benefiting of the programmatic advertising environment; where buyers and sellers of digital advertising connect online to exchange available inventory (Busch,2016; Stevens et al., 2016).  The challenge for tomorrow’s businesses is to recognize the value of smart technologies as effective tools that can help them analyse their marketing environment; that comprise their customers as well as their competitors.

The predictive-analytical tools can examine different scenarios as they can anticipate what will happen, when it will happen, and can explain why it happens. These technologies can monetise data by identifying revenue generating opportunities and cost savings.

Other innovations, including; blockchain’s distributed ledger technologies are improving data privacy. This technology involves the verification and the secure recording of transactions among an interconnected set of users. Blockchain tracks the ownership of assets before, during, and after any online transaction. Therefore, this technology could be used by different businesses to facilitate their transactions with marketplace stakeholders, including; suppliers, intermediaries, and consumers across borders. The block chain will probably be more convenient than other payment options, in terms of time and money. Therefore, blockchain’s ledger technology can possibly lead to better customer service levels and operational efficiencies for businesses.

The smart tourism technologies, including big data analytics are shifting how organisations collect, analyze and utilise and distribute data. A thorough literature review suggests that the crunching of big data analytics is generating meaningful insights and supporting tourism marketers in their decision making. Moreover,other technologies, including the programmatic advertising and block chain are helping them to improve their financial and strategic performance, whilst minimizing costs. Table 1 illustrates how smart tourism businesses are capturing, analysing and distributing data.

Table 1. Data-driven approaches for smart tourism

(Camilleri, 2018)

Emerging Trends and Future Research

Tomorrow’s tourism businesses will be serving customers from geographically-diverse regions. There will be more travellers from emerging markets and developing economies. The tourism service providers will have to cater to different demographics, including senior citizens and individuals with special needs; as the populations are getting older in many countries.

Therefore,  smart technologies can be used to anticipate the discerned consumers’ requirements. For instance, the use of programmatic advertising will probably increase the individuals’ intuitive shopping experiences and can tap into the individuals’ discretionary purchases.

It is very likely, that the third-party retailers will continue to form part of the distribution mix. However, many service providers will be using their direct channels to reach out to their targeted customers. 

The sales of products will continue to rely on mobile devices with increased consumer interactions through speech and voice recognition software. The service providers may possibly rely on artificial intelligence and other forms of cognitive learning capabilities, like machine learning and deep learning.

The businesses’ distributive systems could interface with virtual reality software to help online intermediaries to merchandise their products in captivating customer experiences. Many online prospects may use blockchain’s secure technology to purchase tourism products, in the foreseeable future.

This contribution calls for further empirical research that could explore smart tourism innovations for individuals and organisations, including; mobile social networking, mobile visualisation, personalization and behavioural modelling for mobile apps, programmatic advertising, blockchain, AI, and the internet of things, among other areas.

References

Busch, O. (2016), “The programmatic advertising principle”, In Programmatic Advertising (pp. 3-15). Springer, Cham, Switzerland.

Camilleri, M.A. (2018) Data-Driven Marketing and Disruptive Technologies. Working Paper 08/2018, Department of Corporate Communication, University of Malta. 

Stevens, A., Rau, A., and McIntyre, M. (2016), “Integrated campaign planning in a programmatic world”, In Programmatic Advertising (pp. 193-210), Springer, Cham, Switzerland. 

Storey, V. C., and Song, I. Y. (2017), “Big data technologies and Management: What conceptual modeling can do?”, Data and Knowledge Engineering, Vol. 108, pp. 50-67.

 

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RESEARCH: The Small Business Owner-Managers’ Attitudes toward Digital Media

An Excerpt from my latest paper: Camilleri, M.A. (2018). The SMEs’ Technology Acceptance of Digital Media for Stakeholder Engagement. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development (Forthcoming).


small-businesses-social-media

This contribution sheds light on the SME owner-managers’ attitudes toward the pace of technological innovation, perceived use and ease of use of digital media; as they communicate and interact with interested stakeholders online. It also explored their stance on responsible entrepreneurship, specifically on commercial, ethical and social responsibilities, as well as on their willingness to support other responsible stakeholders.

This empirical study and its theoretical underpinnings contribute to an improved understanding as to why today’s SMEs are expected to communicate with stakeholders through digital media. At the same time, it raises awareness of responsible entrepreneurial initiatives that could be promoted through digital media, including; corporate websites, social media and blogs, among others.

Generally, the results reported that there were high mean scores and low standard deviations, particularly when the participants were expected to indicate their attitudes on their commercial and ethical responsibilities. The nature of the SMEs’ CSR activities is usually integrated into their company culture, often implicitly in habits and routines that are inspired by highly motivated owner-managers; rather than explicitly in job descriptions or formalized procedures (Jenkins, 2006). The factor analysis indicated that the SME owner-managers were increasingly perceiving the usefulness of digital media to engage with marketplace stakeholders, including; consumers, suppliers and other businesses, as they promoted their responsible entrepreneurship behaviors.

The communications on their businesses’ social responsibility and environmentally-sound practices also served them well to engage with other interested groups; including; human resources, shareholders and investors, among others. This finding mirrors Baumann Pauly et al.’s (2013) argumentation as these authors remarked that each business decision on economic, social, and environmental aspects must take into account all stakeholders. Notwithstanding, the businesses and their marketers need to possess relevant knowledge on their stakeholders, as this will impact on the effectiveness of their CSR communication (Morsing and Schultz, 2006; Vorvoreanu, 2009).

The value of their communications lies in their ability to open-up lines of dialogue through stories and ideas that reflect their stakeholders’ interests (Fieseler and Fleck, 2013; Moreno and Capriotti, 2009). For these reasons, companies cannot afford to overstate or misrepresent their CSR communications. Their online communication with stakeholders could foster positive behaviors or compel remedial actions, and will pay off in terms of corporate reputation, customer loyalty and market standing (Tantalo and Priem, 2016; Du et al, 2010).

This study suggests that the SME owner-managers were recognizing that they had to keep up with the pace of technological innovation. Yet there were a few participants, particularly the older ones, who were still apprehensive toward the use of digital media. Eventually, these respondents should realize that it is in their interest to forge relationships with key stakeholders (Lamberton and Stephen, 2016; Taiminen and Karjaluoto, 2015; Rauniar et al., 2014; Uhlaner et al., 2004). This research posits that the owner-managers or their members of staff should possess relevant digital skills and competences to communicate online with interested parties.

Likewise, Baumann Pauly et al., (2013) also recommended that the managers must be trained, and that their CSR activities must be evaluated. These findings are in line with other contributions (Spence and Perrini, 2011; Perrini et al., 2007) that have theoretically or anecdotally challenged the business case perspective for societal engagement (Penwar et al., 2017; Baden and Harwood 2013; Brammer et al. 2012).

The regression analysis has identified and analyzed the determinants which explain the rationale behind the SME owner-managers’ utilization of digital media for stakeholder engagement and for the promotion of responsible entrepreneurship. It reported that the respondents’ technology acceptance depended on their perceived “use” and “ease of use” of digital media; and on their willingness to communicate online on their commercial, ethical and social responsibilities.

The results from the regression analysis reported positive and significant relationships between the SMEs’ online stakeholder engagement and the pace of technological innovation; and between the SMEs’ online engagement and the owner-managers’ perceived usefulness of digital media. This study indicated that the pace of technological innovation, the owner-managers’ perceived ease of use of the digital media, as well as their commercial responsibility were significant antecedents for their businesses’ online communication of their responsible behaviors. Arguably, the use of technology is facilitated when individuals will perceive its usefulness and its ease of use (Davis, 1989).

In fact, the findings from this research have specified that the owner-managers’ intention was to use digital media to communicate about their responsible entrepreneurship. They also indicated their desire to use this innovation to engage with stakeholders on other topics, including commercial and ethical issues. This is in stark contrast with Penwar et al.’s (2017) findings, as the authors contended that the SME owner-managers’ perceptions on social engagement did not hold the same virility when compared to the context of their larger counterparts. These authors argued that the tangible benefits of CSR engagement had no effect on SMEs. In a similar vein, Baumann Pauly et al.’s (2013) study reported that the larger businesses were more effective than SMEs in their CSR communications.

However, the findings from this study’s second, third and fourth regression
equations indicated that the small and micro businesses were using digital media to improve their stakeholder engagement and to communicate about their responsible entrepreneurship issues.

Implications and Conclusions

SME managers and executives are in a position to enhance the effectiveness of their businesses’ communication efforts. This study has identified and analyzed the SME owner-managers’ attitudes toward the utilization of digital media for the communication of commercial, ethical and social responsibility issues.

Previous academic research has paid limited attention to the technology acceptance of digital media among small businesses, albeit a few exceptions (Taiminen and Karjaluoto, 2015; Baumann Pauly, Wickert, Spence and Scherer, 2013; Durkin et al., 2013; Taylor and Murphy, 2004). In this case, the research findings indicated that digital technologies and applications were perceived as useful by the SME owner-managers. This implies that the utilization of digital media can be viewed as a critical success factor that may lead to an improved engagement with stakeholders.

Several SMEs are already communicating about their responsible entrepreneurship through conventional and interactive media, including; social media, review sites, blogs, et cetera. These savvy businesses are leveraging their communications as they utilize digital media outlets (e.g., The Guardian Sustainability Blog, CSRwire, Triple Pundit and The CSR Blog in Forbes among others) to improve their reach, frequency and impact of their message.

In addition, there are instances where consumers themselves, out of their own volition are becoming ambassadors of trustworthy businesses on digital media (Du et al., 2010). Whilst other stakeholders may perceive these businesses’ posturing behaviors and greenwashing (Camilleri, 2017; Vorvoreanu, 2009).

A thorough literature review suggested that the positive word-of-mouth publicity through digital media may lead to strategic and financial benefits (Camilleri, 2017; Taiminen and Karjaluoto, 2015; Durkin et al., 2013). Therefore, businesses, including SMEs, are increasingly joining conversations in social media networks and online review sites. These sites are being used by millions of users every day. Indeed, there is potential for SMEs to engage with their prospects and web visitors in real-time.

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Filed under Business, Corporate Social Responsibility, digital media, Marketing, Small Business, SMEs, Stakeholder Engagement

The Use of Smart Tourism Technologies

An excerpt from my latest Working Paper, entitled: The Use of Big Data, Programmatic Advertising and Blockchain Technologies in Tourism

The latest disruptive technologies are supporting the tourism businesses’ marketing mix elements as they improve the interactive engagement with individual prospects, enhance the personalisation of services, whilst providing secure pricing options. Many tourism firms are evolving from their passive, rigid, and product-centric state to a more flexible, dynamic, and customer-centric environment, as they monitor and detect any changes in consumer sentiment. Data-driven companies are increasingly capturing and analysing the online and mobile activity of prospective customers, as they delve into ecommerce and review sites, personal blogs and social media (Sigala, 2017; Kumar et al., 2017). Their analytics captures the consumers’ interactions with brands and companies through digital media. Therefore, big data is enabling them to target and re-target individuals and online communities with instantaneous pricing and access options, across multiple channels (via web-site activity, mobile, video, social media, ecommerce, among others). Large technology giants use mobile tracking technologies, to gather information on the consumer behaviours, including their shopping habits, lifestyle preferences , et cetera (Aksu et al., 2018).

Tech-savvy firms have learnt how to take advantage of on-demand, real-time information from sensors, radio frequency identification and other location tracking devices to better understand their marketing environments at a more granular level (Storey & Song, 2017). This way business could come up with personalised products and services, that are demanded by individual customers (Li et al., 2017). From a business perspective, it is important to acquire this data, quickly, and in high velocities. This paper reported that many businesses are already benefiting of the programmatic advertising environment; where buyers and sellers of digital advertising connect online to exchange available inventory (Busch, 2016; Stevens et al., 2016).

The challenge for tourism businesses is to recognise the value of smart technologies as effective tools that can analyse their marketing environment, including the customers as well as their competitors. The predictive-analytical tools can examine different scenarios; and the prescriptive analytics anticipate what will happen, when it will happen, and explains why it happens. These technologies can monetise data by identifying revenue generating opportunities and cost savings.

Other innovations, including blockchain’s distributed ledger technologies are improving data privacy, as it involves the verification and the secure recording of transactions among an interconnected set of users. Blockchain tracks the ownership of assets before, during, and after any online transaction. Therefore, this technology could be used by tourism businesses to facilitate their transactions with marketplace stakeholders, including suppliers, intermediaries, and consumers across borders. The block chain will probably be more convenient than other payment options, in terms of time and money. Therefore, blockchain’s ledger technology can possibly lead to better customer service levels and operational efficiencies for the tourism businesses.

The smart tourism technologies, including big data analytics are shifting how organisations collect, analyse and utilise and distribute data. A thorough literature review suggests that the crunching of big data analytics is generating meaningful insights and supporting tourism marketers in their decision making. Moreover, other technologies, including the programmatic advertising and blockchain’s distributed ledger system is helping them to improve their financial and strategic performance. In conclusion, this contribution calls for further research on data-driven tourism.

 

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Announcing Emerald’s latest academic textbook, “The Branding of Tourist Destinations”

This authoritative book was edited by Mark Anthony Camilleri. It provides students and practitioners with a good understanding of different tourism products, marketing strategies and tactics on destination branding, as well as useful insights on sustainable and responsible tourism practices, among other topics. The readers are equipped with a strong pedagogical base on the attractiveness of tourist destinations as this publication presents contemporary conceptual discussions and empirical studies on several aspects of destination branding.

 

Tourism marketers, including destination management organizations (DMOs) are formulating strategies and tactics to attract prospective visitors. Hence, this book also sheds light on the latest industry developments in travel, tourism, hospitality and events in different contexts around the world.

Chapter 1 introduces the readers to different aspects of the travel, tourism, hospitality and leisure industries, including; the visitors’ accessibility, accommodation, attractions, activities and amenities. The author explains how tourist destinations are capable of customizing their products to customer segments and individuals, by offering; adventure tourism, business tourism (including meetings, incentives, conferences and events), culinary tourism, cultural (or heritage) tourism, eco-tourism (or sustainable tourism), educational tourism, health (or medical tourism), religious tourism, rural tourism, seaside tourism, sports tourism, urban (or city) tourism, wine tourism, among other niche areas.

Chapter 2 provides an explanation of destination marketing, place branding and their related notions. The authors critically review the conceptual developments on the branding of tourist destinations.

Chapter 3 suggests that destination management organisations ought to engage in fruitful relationships with internal and external stakeholders. The authors maintain that there are several factors that can affect the strategic management of these organisations.

Chapter 4 explores how Sweden is branding its destinations by improving its cultural identify and by providing multi-sensory experiences to its visitors.

Chapter 5 sheds light on the agritourism businesses in Italy’s Campania region. The author analyses the main critical success factors for a thriving rural tourism market.

Chapter 6 explains the key elements of cultural tourism, including the destination’s heritage, lifestyle, and “Made in Italy”. The authors put forward a tourism development model. They suggest that it represents a functional framework for the benefit of tourism practitioners.

Chapter 7 explores the consumer-based brand equity of events. The authors explain how the organization of events, including music festivals could add value to the destinations’ image. They imply that the visitors’ positive experiences and their word-of-mouth publicity can contribute to the destinations’ branding.

Chapter 8 explores the destination branding of Porto in Portugal. The authors analyze the visitors’ attitudes on Porto’s largest wine festival. They assess their visitors’ level of satisfaction with the event and their intention to return.

Chapter 9 identifies the key elements that serve as drivers for the development of oleotourism in Jaen, Spain. The authors suggest that there is scope in stakeholder engagement amongst the main actors and drivers in the sector.

Chapter 10 investigates the environmental behaviour of three-, four- and five-star hotels in Azuay, Ecuador. The authors explored the relationship between environmental responsibility and stakeholder engagement. Their findings suggest that the hotel managers strive in their endeavours to implement responsible environmental practices to avoid regulatory pressures.

Chapter 11 examines the relationship between the destinations’ image and brand equity. The author contends that the tourists’ hedonic and monetary values can have a moderating effect on the country-of-origin’s image and brand extension.

Chapter 12 investigates the relationship between the customers’ satisfaction, commitment, trust and loyalty toward hospitality brands. It develops and empirically test the social identity construct (customer brand identification and other critical social exchange constructs (satisfaction, trust, commitment).

This publication was written by academics for other scholars, researchers, advanced under-graduate and post-graduate students. However, it is also relevant to the industry practitioners, including consultants, senior executives and managers who work for destination management organizations, tourism offices, hotels, inbound / outbound tour operators and travel agents, among others. The book explains all the theory and the empirical studies in a simple and straightforward manner. It describes the various marketing environments that comprise a wide array of economic, socio-cultural and environmental realities.

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Filed under Business, destination marketing, digital media, Hospitality, Marketing, tourism, Travel