Modern companies do not only control single instruments but also the overall performance of the Corporate Communications. Several investigations pointed out that not the facts were responsible for the formation of preferences, purchase decisions and utilization habits, but rather their subjective perception.
Communicational measures have impact on perception processes and influence the attitudes of the communication messages' addressees. In this context, it takes a particular note to know how the activating and cognitive processes interact, and what kind of communication strategy is appropriate for which special purpose. In this area, our activities concentrated on the analysis of advertising effects (comparative and non-comparative advertising), the effectiveness of sponsoring and reputation management, which is a main task of Corporate Communications in several companies.
The control of advertising effects
For a couple of years now, comparative advertising is permitted in Germany. But up to date here are only isolated empirical findings about the impacts of these kinds of communication, so that a meaningful planning basis is missing for advertisers. For this purpose we have developed a model of advertising effects that explains the function of comparative advertising under consideration of the cultural and legal conditions in Germany.
We analysed comparative versus non-comparative advertising in a large cross sectional survey for the BMW Group and the telecommunication service provider o.tel.o. For the first time we worked with real stimuli (i.e. advertising media was placed effectively) and with a non-collegiate population. Most important finding: At least on the short run comparative advertising is causing no harmful effects. However, a significantly better impact can only be proven with regard to the performance characteristics, effectively used in the comparison. The effects, which have been assumed didn't appear.
Find out more about advertising effects in the related institute's publications [German].
The quest for success factors reached the immaterial field. Multinationals as well as medium-sized companies recognized long ago, that professional reputation management serves to build up everlasting competitive advantages and therefore ensures surpassing rates of return. Reasons for positive effects of reputation
- simplifies the acquisition and retention of capable employees,
- intensifies the customers' trust,
- improves the possibilities to access the capital market, reduces the costs and even enables lower purchase prices.
Brief: With high reputation, companies build up a kind of barrier, making it difficult for customers to move elsewhere and it discourages potential market entrants so that they deter from entering the market. Thus, reputation management may be interpreted as an enforcement of a company’s immune system; it works like a kind of vaccination against the inconveniences of competition.
But how can reputation be measured validly and be managed in a goal-oriented way? Having done several studies, we were able to develop a measuring instrument that splits up reputation in its core elements – sympathy and competence. The analysis of 6.500 interviews that we conducted in Germany, Great Britain and the USA pointed out, how reputation could be measured and visualized. Furthermore it was possible to identify the drivers of reputation enabling companies to derive recommendations for further actions. Managers’ performance must not only be measured on the company’s short-term growth but also on other criteria. With our studies concerning CSR and reputation we were able to show how “ethical action” could grow the company’s value (in an indirect way).
Check out the institute's publications [German] to learn more about Corporate Reputation.
Effects of cultural sponsoring
Cultural sponsoring is still one of the rather „exotic” tools of communication policy. One main reason for this is, that its impact on the sponsor’s performance items has never really been analysed. For this reason a research project was set up for eight years, cooperating with the Arbeitskreis Kultursponsoring (AKS) in the BDI e.V. and with a couple of cultural institutions. The main goal is to fill up this deficit of information and to present verifiable findings based on empirical and quantitative studies. In doing so, we differentiate between the impact of cultural sponsoring on the sponsor’s different target groups, particularly general public, customers and employees.
The overall project is based on the assumption, that cultural sponsoring, being one of several communication tools, must achieve the same communication goals that are strived by other tools, even if the weightings and priorities are set differently.
Check out the institute's publications [German] to learn more about cultural sponsoring.