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Communication Performance Management: Creating and Deploying an Integrated Global Research and Management Program


One of Germany’s premium automobile manufacturers operated a largely decentralized global public relations organization at a time that a new set of global PR objectives were implemented. The local PR teams were managed independently within regional reporting structures under loose topical guidelines from HQ. As such, there was no clear understanding of the company’s overall corporate and brand images resulting in inefficiency, confusion and waste. Also, without an adequate level of marketplace intelligence, the company was unable to create a focused forward-looking management plan. As long as the company and its regional public relations operations resided in such an indeterminate state, this world-class auto maker would continue spinning its wheels

Objectives and Approach:

The automaker approached PRIME Research to create a single-source media monitoring and evaluation platform to project a unified global assessment of the automaker’s corporate and brand reputations; to help integrate and align its global public relations efforts, and to provide research-based interpretive analysis and strategic guidance to structure more holistic reputation-enhancing programs in the future. Since the platform is flexible and works in 35 languages, PRIME deployed its Navigator system to house the content and the analyses; to provide local access and manageability with the benefits of global aggregation, and to drive PRIME’s strategic Spider and Cube analyses and research-based consultation at all levels throughout the organization.


As a result of the holistic media evaluation, PRIME uncovered the following opportunities for improvement:

  • Key messages, which were presented as “mission statements,” were too broad and inclusive; as a result, key message pick-up was very low compared to benchmark companies.
  • A number of “legacy activities” did not support the new message priorities. As such, resources were wasted on inefficient sponsorship vehicles.
  • PRIME identified and quantified “best practices” within the category and highlighted opportunities for the client to “reinforce,” “explore” and “fix” its own performance versus competitors.


PRIME applied its strategic Spider and Cube analyses to drive the following outcomes:

  • Key messages were tested versus competitors to isolate the most salient elements and to create a message-action plan to prioritize message planning. As a result, the client’s key messages resonated more actively in the media and the client’s performance-vs.-competitors improved dramatically. During the 2009 global economic crisis, the client’s performance rose in comparison with competitors, a result which they attribute to the research.
  • Events were assessed and prioritized in terms of their ability to deliver the company’s key messages. Those events which sustained the strategy were retained and/or reinforced; events which could not support the objectives were discontinued and new events were created designed specifically to deliver key messages (rather than the other way around, which had been the case historically).
  • The client’s media performance across all attributes improved, elevating the overall global reputation from fourth position to first.
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