Nowadays every corporate entity has to deal with the question of what kind of contribution it makes to the success of the company concerned. Communications departments are no exception. It is incumbent upon them to provide evidence of the value added by their communications activities to overall business performance. Henkel’s international corporate communications have consistently met the associated criteria with tangible success. And this was also apparently the opinion of the jury judging the 2008 PR Awards, because it chose Henkel as the out-and-out winner of the category entitled “Adding Value with Communications”. The German PR Awards count among the most prestigious accolades in the country’s communications industry.
In times of ever scarcer resources for budgets and personnel, the demands on cost efficiency in corporate communications are also becoming ever stricter. Among other things, Corporate Communications departments are having to evidence their real contribution to value added. Corporate Communications at Henkel has very much succeeded in precisely this endeavor. “You can, of course, try to put a value on everything, but measuring every single activity is terribly inefficient. It is the ability to relate the targets of communication to the company’s strategic objectives, combined with the development of appropriate key performance indicators, that makes the value added by communications properly measurable and recognizable,” explains Ernst Primosch, Corporate Vice President and Head of Corporate Communications at Henkel.
Henkel was able to impress the jury judging this year’s PR Awards of the “Deutsche Public Relations Gesellschaft” with its global communications control and accountability regime, coming first in the category “Adding Value with Communications”. The German PR awards count among the most prestigious in the national communications industry and attracted 265 entries in this year alone.
“We are especially delighted to have won this particular category,” emphasizes Ernst Primosch, adding: “I sincerely hope that the old “evaluation by gut feeling” approach is now gone forever and that we will start to see the value of strategic communications management also being acknowledged and reflected in the text books.”
The international Corporate Communications division at Henkel has succeeded over recent years in developing from an internal service-provider to a strategic business partner. Following the sale of the company’s classic chemicals operation in 2001, there followed a phase of corporate realignment toward brands and technologies. This laid the foundation for effectively strengthening the Henkel corporate brand and the establishment of an appropriate brand management capability. Henkel’s worldwide communications structure was increasingly professionalized with this strategic realignment process and extended to cover 60 different countries. This in turn required the establishment of a global strategic control and cost management approach. Initially, the previously purely national control of country communications budgets was centralized on a global scale. Then the two strategic management tools of the Strategy Map and the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) were implemented as cogent methods of measuring personal target attainment for individual communications managers and as a basis for budget and project planning for individual countries. Moreover, achievement of communications targets and adherence to specified minimum standards in communication are continually monitored and evaluated at Henkel on the basis of regular reports submitted by the countries throughout the year.
2008 a year of communications success Henkel’s communications work this year has already garnered a number of accolades. For its long-term communications strategy relating to its corporate brand, Henkel was honored with the renowned PR Report Award in April. This was in recognition of the systematic strategy applied in order to establish and enhance the Henkel corporate brand on a long-term, global scale. And in May this year, Henkel won the German Award for Business Communication (Deutscher Preis für Wirtschaftskommunikation or DPWK) in the category “Best Communication of Brand Policy”. The DPWK has seven categories, with the associated awards being given in recognition of the most innovative and effective communication activities implemented by German companies.