Communications Value System (GPRA)

1. Definition
The GPRA Communications Value System integrates the contribution of communications to corporate outcomes in a communication management system. Key starting points are the target or management system and the company's specific stakeholder model. Scorecard methods are used to identify value drivers (value links) via cause-effect relationships, and indicators are defined. Communication is understood, controlled and itemized as an integral part of the overall value addition process (strategic contribution) in the company. CVS is based on the widely accepted stages of communication impact.

2. Applications
The goal of CVS is to combine corporate and communication strategy and develop specific control parameters for communication strategy. The priority is to determine what communication contributes on the effect and support level toward achieving corporate goals. This question is posed for each target-stakeholder combination.

3. Conduct
CVS involves seven steps:

  1. Relevant corporate goals influencable by communication are identified. The question in respect of each corporate goal is: "Can or must this corporate goal be achieved or supported through strategic communication?" and "Should communication efforts be directed specially at achieving this goal?"
    The basic principle applies: Where corporate goals affect the interests of dialog groups or the achievement of those corporate goals depends on the understanding and support of one or several dialog groups, then strategic communication will be a relevant value-adding factor.
  2. The relevant corporate goals are placed in reference to the four stakeholder groups finance market, resource market, sales market and acceptance market. The question to be posed for each of these combinations is: "What stakeholders or dialog groups must be approached, integrated, activated - or, as the case may be, neutralized – in order to achieve the goal?" The goals are then classified as A, B or C goals in order of importance.
  3. Definition of business effects as a consequence of communication (supporting stakeholder relationships): "What commercial effects in terms of the goal are to be achieved through the supportive potential of the dialog group?"
  4. Development of communication-related effect goals. Communication goals are defined for each goal-dialog group combination: "How must the dialog group act, or what attitude must it have so that we can reach the goal?" The desired result of communication in its entirety is determined with a stakeholder and direct effects of communication: "What must the dialog groups be familiar with, remember, know, understand, accept, expect, believe or feel (and other things) to make them likely to effectuate the desired change of attitude or behavior?"
  5. Supporting development goals (process and potential level): "What is supporting goals (for example, number of contacts with the group, as well as any dialogue on the communications function related internal process, development and learning objectives) need to achieve the communication goals?" Fixed, in which quality (the embassy) and quantity (in what frequency) information for the dialogue group are ready.
  6. Operationalization, determination of key control variables: "How do we recognize whether or to what extent we have achieved the goal?" Here, variables are defined which enable the use of quantitative actual and nominal values. Typically, there will be no need to generate this data from scratch. In most cases, this information will already be available in the company.
  7. Combination in scorecards: "On the basis of what strategic goals will communication provide efficient and effective support for corporate strategy?" A set of specifications for communicators is drawn up for ongoing verification of goal achievement.

Requirements: clearly defined corporate goals.

4. Indicators
Depending on corporate goals, definition of indicators and value drivers.

5. Service providers in Germany
CVS was developed by GPRA agencies, and they offer it too.

6. Links
Lautenbach, Christoph: Commentary: Seven steps to the board room seat - a communications performance management system developed by Germany’s GPRA. [PDF, 128 KB]

7. Further reading

8. Case studies

Please send us short texts from your projects on this topic in the same structure as the existing case studies, and more information (pdf or links) on the methods employed in as much detail as possible.

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