The one-year Master’s programme in Communication Studies at the UT (given in English) offers you four specializations:
- Digital Marketing Communication
- Marketing Communication & Design
- Organizational Communication & Reputation
- Technology & Communication
The rise of the internet, smartphones and social media have drastically changed the marketing communication profession. The influence of traditional advertising strategies such as television and radio commercials and print advertisements is decreasing. Instead, companies are increasingly using the benefits offered by the internet, which leads to entirely different marketing communication strategies. The internet and social media offer unprecedented possibilities of learning about the needs and preferences of consumers, building relationships with them, tailoring and personalizing messages, and monitoring effects. At the same time, there are growing concerns about privacy and autonomy, and people seem to be getting tired of social media and especially online advertising. This specialization focuses on the intersection between marketing communication, digital media, and big data analytics.
Marketing Communication & Design is all about explaining, predicting and influencing consumer behaviour. Understanding the effects of advertising and marketing stimuli is central to this specialization.
In this specialization, you will examine the following issues and questions:
- How do consumers acquire information from the market, and which psychological processes play a role in processing this information?
- What kind of information is most effective in helping consumers with their decisions about products or services that will have a significant impact on their lives (e.g. a new car, major surgery, a new mortgage, planning a holiday)? What information is best suited to promoting products that are purchased on a daily basis (fast-moving consumer goods) or to influencing routine buying behaviour?
- What role can the internet play in consumer loyalty and communicating with the consumer?
A great deal of advertising and marketing communication aims to create positive ideas about a certain brand among consumers. Customers are more likely to buy a brand that makes a favourable impression on them. Marketing communication avails itself of a range of channels, such as printed advertising, television commercials, personal sales, shop design and ICT.
Marketing communication is all around us, a domain that we, as consumers, are part of. This represents the biggest challenge: understanding the often unconscious psychological processes that affect every consumer and play such an important role in marketing communication.
The mission of the specialization in Organizational Communication & Reputation is inspired by the belief that sustainable communication is essential for healthy organizations. This sustainability needs to be established within a context that is characterized by two fields of tension. Firstly, there is the tension between the organization and its environment (e.g. issues of positioning, reputation and strategy). Secondly, there is the tension of keeping things running smoothly within an organization where a broad range of interests are at stake (e.g. those of employees, different departments and locations).
IDENTITY, TRUST, IMAGE AND REPUTATION
Concepts such as identity, trust, image and reputation play a central role in corporate communication. Organizations want to establish a positive image in the eyes of key stakeholders, and to be seen as a trusted and informed partner in public affairs. While measures such as public image campaigns, a clear and appropriate visual identity, and a code of conduct for personnel can help achieve this, these various aspects of image have to constantly be brought into line with an organization’s overall identity. Working on identity is therefore a complicated and energy-intensive process.
Within organizations, it is important to consider how employees work together, whether or not they exchange information, their perceptions and attitudes, their satisfaction with relationships in the organization and the meaning they attach to the work they do. This means considering aspects such as identification, compliance and well-being. In this light, internal communication is so much more than simply providing information. It also involves encouraging optimum cooperation and collectively creating settings in which employees can flourish.
STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION IN ORGANIZATIONS
As a communication professional, you will not only be responsible for communication channels within organizations, but you will also be expected to address communication issues at a strategic level. Given the wide range of factors affecting organizations, this specialization includes theories from corporate and organizational communication, as well as management and organization science. It also explores a range of research traditions: from large-scale quantitative research to detailed qualitative studies.
The theories, tools and perspectives of corporate and organizational communication are all present in this specialization to facilitate your development as a communication professional with the practical insight to deal with complex communication issues in modern organizations.
Technology & Communication prepares students for a range of professions which involve the relationships between people and technical systems, such as technical communication and information design.
It is almost impossible to imagine our society without technology. Every household is full of technical products designed to make our lives easier or more pleasant. In most jobs, computers or other electronic devices are central to the daily routine, while in the healthcare system, patients often find themselves confronted with the latest medical technology, some of which is intimidating to say the least. The creative industry is continuously working to develop new technical products, with new or improved functionality. In such a highly technologized society, communicating effectively about technology is more important than ever. For instance, the underuse of the functionality offered by technical products is a recognized problem. People are willing to pay (or have no choice but to pay) for the newest functionality, yet often hardly use it and may not want or even need it.
A COMMUNICATOR AS INTERMEDIARY
A technical communicator acts as an intermediary between the developers of technological products and their (potential) users. Technical communicators act as the user’s advocates in technological development processes and are responsible for user support in the shape of interface design, manuals, online help, user alerts, instruction videos, promotion strategies and help desks. They are specialized in anticipating the user’s perceptions of technology, the adoption and appropriation of new products, and the strategies users employ in learning how products work. Usability and user experience are keywords in the daily practice of technical communicators.
Technical communicators also need to demonstrate a mastery of written and visual communication strategies, and an ability to function in a highly technologized work environment, where document-management strategies such as single-sourcing and online collaboration have a prominent place. Given the global market for technical products, they are sensitive to the intercultural aspects of communication, as well as to localization and translation issues.
Technical communicators combine a thorough understanding of technology with knowledge of the user, and affinity with documents and other types of communication. They are experts in making complex matters simple, and as such also function in professional contexts such as medical and legal communication.