Best Practice: Measurement at Merck

By: Mark-Steffen Buchele / Claudio Rehmet / 05.12.2015


From the 19th to the 20th of November the German expert group „Communication Controlling“ of the International Controller Association (ICV) met at the Innovation Center of Merck KGaA in the German city of Darmstadt. One of the main goals of the 27th work group meeting was to create a common understanding of which key figures are relevant to which internal stakeholders and purposes as well as further filling in the so called matrix of impact levels and channels. Within this meeting Merck emerged as a best practice example.

Traditionally, at the beginning of the meeting the focus was on the host company’s communication management. Aferdita Kastrati, responsible for communication controlling at Merck, presented an exemplary approach: Within the company, corporate communication is understood as a value driver attended by a communication controlling on all levels of impact (DPRG/ICV framework for communication controlling). A strategic communication management is the base for operations: Corporate Communications’ performances are elaborated in order to support corporate strategy while the self-contained position „Communication Controlling“ as a part of communication management ensures the dialogue with the strategy department. After undergoing a reference measurement, actions, campaigns and instruments are managed and optimized by results of a continuous reporting including clearly defined target values and key performance indicators (KPIs). This offers a permanent base of arguments for future communication decisions. Further keys to success are rooting in the project execution: Merck's communication controlling was implemented top-down across executive board and Corporate Communications. In addition, single pilot schemes were carried out little by little and being tested with regards to use and benefits. In the near future Merck strives for an approach transferring this concept to their regional offices as well as clear cost structures and a consistent goal driven communication management.

The „Augsburg Program“ was another main focus on the ICV agenda. It contains future tasks for the ICV like the extension of the levels of impact and their applicability for stakeholder management as well as a strategic house defining  tangible communicational actions to each of the impact levels. Furthermore, within the meeting the matrix of impact levels and channels could successfully be filled in with additional breakpoints and indicators. Central finding: A lot of communication products are only measureable when it comes to reach. The measurement of impact can only work with other measurement dimensions like response.

For detailed information on the meeting, please go to the blog of Rainer Pollmann (German only).

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