Communication controlling is a key challenge for public relations, customer, financial and employee communication. The European Communication Monitor 2010 (ECM),  a survey among 1.955 PR heads in 46 countries, shows that almost 45 percent of the participating communication managers believe convergence of corporate strategy and communication to be the no. 1 task within the next three years (Zerfass et al. 2010). Large parts of the field are still dominated by a narrow view on measurement - only one third states that tracking business goals and reputation or brand value plays a role. Taking into account that self-reporting in this much-discussed area tends to be rather optimistic, this is a strong hint that measurement practice is far behind the ideal. Two out of five respondents also say they aim to develop new evaluation methods.

Industry and agencies have little experience to date

The reality is very different: a knowledge of the impact of communication is not widespread among industry and service providers. Modern methods of planning and controlling communication are barely known. For instance, only one out of four communication, marketing and financial directors in German stock corporations are familiar with the variants of the Communication Scorecard, a tool that has inspired discussion in expert community for a number of years now.

Know-how in demand at multiple levels

Anyone engaging with the issue of communication controlling will soon encounter a variety of takes on the topic. Using the fundamental principles and definitions of communication controlling and its key issues as a starting point, the objective is to understand the various levels at which communication has an impact, and explore ways of evaluating that impact. Another aspect is the communication-strategy link and an exploration of how (successful) communication helps to add value. Based on those insights, it is then possible to identify typical indicators for the various areas of corporate communications. A range of procedures and reference models are available as an aid to putting that knowledge into practice.


Moreno, Angeles/Zerfaß, Ansgar/Tench, Ralph/Vercic, Dejan & Verhoeven, Piet (2009): European Communication Monitor. Current developments, issues and tendencies of the professional practice of public relations in Europe. In: Public Relations Review, Vol. 35, S. 79-82.

Zerfaß, Ansgar et al. (2007): European Communication Monitor 2007 - Results and Findings of the Survey on Future Trends in Communication Management and Public Relations in Europe, forthcoming. []

Zerfaß, Ansgar et al. (2008): European Communication Monitor 2008. Trends in Communication Management and Public Relations – Results and Implications. Leipzig: University of Leipzig/Euprera. []

Zerfaß, Ansgar et al. (2009): European Communication Monitor 2009. Results and Implications. Brüssel: EACD/Helios Media. []

Zerfass, Ansgar et al. (2010): European Communication Monitor 2010. Status Quo and Challenges for Public Relations in Europe. Results of an Empirical Survey in 46 Countries (Chart Version). Brussels: EACD, EUPRERA. []

Author of "Knowledge" texts

Prof. Dr. Ansgar Zerfass, University of Leipzig

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