"Own the future" - One GfK

GfK Group presents its new corporate strategy for a global and digital future

(PresseBox) ( Nuremberg, )
GfK, the fourth largest market research company in the world, will be operating under a new corporate strategy from January 1, 2012. This new strategy is designed to align with and take advantage of the transformations and innovations in the market research industry and the changing demands of clients in an increasingly global and digital world.

GfK's excellent performance has set the stage for a significant investment in the future. "We find ourselves in a very strong position, but from time to time it is necessary to take stock and assess the situation in order to be open to the new and unknown, and when appropriate, reinvent ourselves," explains Professor Dr. Klaus L. Wübbenhorst, CEO of GfK SE.

In autumn 2010 GfK launched the "Where to play and how to win" initiative which analyzed GfK's range of products and services. The results of this analysis formed the development of GfK's new corporate strategy, "Own the future", which follows on from the previous strategies "Fit for going public" (launched in 1995), "Triple Ten" (launched in 2000) and the "Five Star Initi-ative" (launched in 2005). The new strategy will lay the foundation for the company's development in the coming years.

GfK will now focus its businesses and consolidate its portfolio into two new sectors: Consumer Choices and Consumer Experiences. This will allow the company to cover the entire purchase cycle, from media usage and adver-tising exposure to consumer buying behavior.

"The new strategic direction is a vital evolution. It is the logical development and culmination of the initiatives we have undertaken that have led to GfK's success. And our profound knowledge of consumers all around the world remains at the heart of everything we do," says Professor Dr. Klaus L. Wübbenhorst.

New sector structure: Consumer Choices and Consumer Experiences

The Consumer Choices sector will focus on market sizing, market currencies and convergent media and sales channels. It will deliver highly detailed, accurate and timely data which reflect the choices and actions of consumers. The present Retail and Technology sector and the Media sector's TV, radio and print measurement businesses will be folded into the new Consumer Choices sector.

The Consumer Experiences sector will concentrate on consumers' attitudes and behavior. Both areas will be explored through highly creative, robust and flexible methodologies. The present Custom Research business, as well as ad hoc research in the Media sector will comprise this new sector.

One GfK

These two sectors will deploy new global and regional teams. Along with local offices, these teams will provide standardized, global market research solutions to the clients.

The overall objective of the new strategy is to drive growth and, accordingly, GfK has set ambitious new financial goals. By the end of 2015, the GfK Group aims to achieve sales of around EUR 2 billion. GfK's plans to significantly outperform the market research sector as a whole over the next five years, with 2% higher organic growth than the market level. The margin, based on the adjusted operating income, will reflect this strong development and is anticipated to reach a level of around 16% by the end of 2015.

The new strategy is fully supported by all Management Board and Supervi-sory Board members. For Petra Heinlein, member of the Management Board of GfK SE with responsibility for the Custom Research sector, "Own the future" represents a new milestone in GfK's history. In her view, GfK is now more prepared for the future than ever before and with this in mind, she has decided that she will not extend her contract when it expires on December 31, 2011. Having been with the GfK Group for the past 26 years, she was appointed to the Management Board in 2002 and will follow a lifelong ambition and move into politics in 2012. Dr. Arno Mahlert, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of GfK SE, and Professor Dr. Klaus L. Wübbenhorst regret but respect this very personal decision and would like to thank Petra Heinlein for her outstanding service to GfK, and in particular to the Custom Research sector.

The new structure will be effective from January 1, 2012. Between now and then GfK will be putting in place the teams and processes required for im-plementation of the "Own the future" strategy.

GfK has made an excellent start to the current financial year, achieving significant increases in sales and income. At the end of the first five months of 2011, the order book covered 73.2% of expected annual sales, up from the previous year's figure of 70.7%.
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