Value creation through communication


Prof. Dr. Ansgar Zerfass - Universität Leipzig

Prof. Ansgar Zerfass

About the research project

Team:Prof. Dr. Ansgar Zerfass, Dr. Christine Viertmann, Dr. Sophia Charlotte Volk (Leipzig University)

Project period: 2017 – 2020

The research project is part of a larger research program on Value Creating Communication and attempts to create a common understanding of the value contribution of communication in light of the different approaches.

Strategic communication management

Communication managers are often confronted with the question of how communication contributes to the company’s value creation. They need to justify their work to senior management. On a day-to-day basis, this means reporting on key campaigns and easily measurable activities such as online statistics.

However, they rarely make it clear that communication is also an ongoing strategic process that adds real value to the organization’s goals. To increase the acceptance of their work, communicators need to demonstrate both their strategic and operational contribution to business success.

What are the roles of communications managers?

Today’s communications managers are much more than just spokespeople. They provide information for management decisions, act as personal advisors to top management, and develop corporate strategy. In large corporations, CCOs lead teams of hundreds of specialists, manage agencies and service providers worldwide, and oversee budgets in the millions.

Although a variety of role concepts already exist in research, they are often not universally applicable and the distinction between roles remains blurred.


  • Framework for the Communications Department’s contribution to business success: Communications Contribution Framework (CCF)
  • Model for systematizing the roles of communication managers: Communication Manager Roles Grid
  • Model for the value of communication: Communication Value Circle


  1. Detailed literature analysis of over 800 national and international scientific papers
  2. Ten case studies with leading German and international companies
  3. Four interviews with the communications and strategy managers of thyssenkrupp, Osram, GIZ and Voith