The subject-matter of communication controlling can be systematized as follows on the basis of the underlying issues:

Controlling for management and monitoring of communication measures

This is the area where communication controlling is used most in actuality. It concerns the transparency, methods, and indicators for individual communication activities, for example public relations, corporate publishing (employee and customer magazines), event performance, and the provision of internet services. Different levels of impact of communication are identified, and criteria for appropriate definition of targets and for evaluation of implemented measures are developed.

A variety of tried and tested empirical social research methods are suitable for this purpose, including media analysis, pretests, usability tests, surveys, image and reputation measurement. Business administration approaches with the focus on cost accounting and project management are also employed, e.g. progress evaluation on the basis of milestones and budget targets.

Communication controlling hence enables communication managers to explore the impact of their measures on the targeted stakeholders and use that knowledge to improve the effectiveness of their work.

Controlling for management and monitoring of communication strategy

Strategy congruence and the addition of value through communications are elements that have come in for an increasing amount of attention recently. These elements seek to achieve an intermeshing of corporate and communication strategy and value addition through communication, a goal that is loudly proclaimed but rarely achieved on a consistent basis in practice. This objective is concerned with the contribution of communication towards the accomplishment of an organization's overall strategic goals. The main approaches are methods for multidimensional control of communication programs, notably Scorecards, and approaches for the measurement of communication-based assets such as brands, corporate culture and reputation.

In this manner, communications controlling supports corporate governance in gearing communication to meet strategic goals and in evaluating the intangible assets built up through the relevant investments.

Controlling the process and quality of communication management

Another priority is the creation of transparency and furnishing methods for communications management and the programs and campaigns developed on that basis. Beyond issues of content, this area concerns the processes used to control and verify corporate communications. Suitable methods include audits and process analyses for evaluating the organization and staffing of communication departments, competencies, responsibilities, internal workflows and interfaces to service providers. In addition, concept analyses and quality management methods serve to optimize communication programs and campaigns and avoid misallocations.

Communication controlling hence enables management and communication heads to provide what it takes to implement a rational, value-adding communications policy.

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