GfK Conference 2015

Nuremberg, 03.07.2015

The GfK Conference 2015 focused on today's communication, including social networks, blogs and shitstorms.

It took place on 3 July 2015 at NurembergConvention Center.


"How to communicate successfully today?” – The GfK Conference 2015 provided solutions to this issue. Among others, Professor Bernhard Pörksen, a media scientist, and Florian Haller, CEO of the Serviceplan Group communications agency, were invited to speak.

Two phenomena are changing communications for products and services: digitization creates many new contacts, possibilities and challenges. And consumer expectations are changing too: for them, products are no longer the focus, but rather the unique experiences they can deliver. The speakers at this year’s GfK Conference at NCC Mitte in Nuremberg shed light on the marketing opportunities and risks arising from this.

The transparency dilemma

Professor Bernhard Pörksen summed it up: “Every company needs a media strategy for the digital era of today.” The media scientist and author from Tübingen analyzed the new public laws in front of the 500 guests who attended the GfK Conference. Communication media affect every facet of the political and economics worlds, as well as our private lives. Traditional and digital communication channels are closely intertwined. News, rumors and false reports spread like wildfire, unable to be controlled. Pörksen used numerous examples of how companies have successfully managed to maintain their good reputation in the digital age.

The economy of experience

The second talk focused on emotions. Alexandra Stein, Head of Brand and Customer Experience at GfK SE, dedicated her speech to the requirements and wishes of today’s consumers. Her theory: “In the world of today, successful brand communication must be akin to an emotional experience and encourage interaction.” The GfK marketing strategist recommends expanding cross-media communications by integrating social networks. These channels would provide a platform for authentic and inclusive storytelling. However, according to Alexandra Stein, it is not only companies which should take heed of the news rules of play in brand communication. Market research should also increasingly make use of interactive elements and emotively express connections on social networks.

Where consumers meet products

In addition to television, radio and print media, digital contact points have become established too: consumers now often first become aware of a product, brand or service on social networks. “Online brand presence is therefore more important than ever,” Stephan Knäble, Head of Consumer Panels Germany at GfK SE, summarizes. A study conducted by the GfK Verein, linked to the GfK Crossmedia Link household panel which measures purchase and media habits, provided the basis for the findings of the Consumer Journey. Knäble used data to illustrate just how important the online presence of brands has become. Even consumers who purchase a product in a department store or supermarket are researching the product online to begin with. An efficient internet strategy is therefore of utmost importance today. Moreover, Stephan Knäble recommends that manufacturers cooperate with retailers and publishers.

Consumers as dialog partners

Florian Haller, CEO of the Serviceplan Group, explained how growing consumer power is influencing the communications industry. Under the motto “Big consumer is watching us”, Haller outlined three developments: advertising communication is only feasible with the integration of social media, mobile end devices are driving forces and a two-way communication has arrived. He provided some suggestions as to how companies can react to the “big consumer” era. It is imperative for brands to define the right target groups and corresponding social media channels, integrate relevant content and analyze user behavior. Florian Haller also broached the subject of crises; he stipulated golden rules for crisis communication, advocating among other things reacting as quickly and calmly as possible in crisis situations. Effective crisis management requires a face too – in an ideal world, this would be a management-level issue. Haller also recommends training for all employees involved in addition to regular simulations.