Communication Benchmarking Initiative

The Communication Benchmarking Initiative (CBI) is a successfully completed project of the Günter Thiele Foundation that was carried out from 2017 to 2022 with a total of 54 companies and Lautenbach Sass and the University of Leipzig (Prof. Ansgar Zerfaß).

The experience gained from the CBI will continue to be used in future research and in company- or industry-driven benchmarks. Interested parties are welcome to contact Prof. Dr. Ansgar Zerfaß at any time.


Budgets and human resources, structures and processes – there is no reliable comprehensive information on this in the German-speaking world to date. For the first time, the Communication Benchmarking Initiative collects data on the organization of corporate communication and makes it comparable.

Exclusive comparative data for corporate communications

Communicators are always competing for resources. Trends such as digitization are changing resource requirements and leading to new organizational challenges in corporate communications. The Communication Benchmarking Initiative therefore aims to create as much transparency as possible regarding budgets and human resources as well as structures in corporate communications. The results are valid and scientifically tested. With the comparative data, industry standards become visible for which there was previously no knowledge.

One’s own resources can be reliably classified against this background. In addition, changing financial and staffing needs can be better justified to management. In times of efficiency programs and restructuring measures, benchmarking creates a valuable basis for this.

Background of the initiative

The idea for a communication benchmarking initiative came from the circle of several companies. Initiated by Dr. Christoph Zemelka, then Head of Corporate Communications at Robert Bosch GmbH, a working group came together in 2016: Representatives from Bosch, BASF, and Siemens developed the concept for benchmarking with scientific support from Professor Dr. Ansgar Zerfaß. Christoph Lautenbach and Dr. Jan Sass played a key role in developing the concept as project partners and conducted the study for the first time in 2017


Communication Benchmarking collects quantitative data on budgets and human resources as well as corporate communication structures. Data collection is conducted via an online questionnaire with two main content areas: 

The research design developed draws on experience from other industries and countries and is based in part on the European Excellence Standard for Quality Management (EFQM).


A total of 54 companies participated in the three waves of the study in 2022, 2019 and 2017

Project partner

Lautenbach Sass

For the implementation, the Günter Thiele Foundation cooperated with Lautenbach Sass Unternehmensberater für Kommunikation PartG as project manager.

University of Leipzig

The Communication Benchmarking Initiative has been scientifically backed by the advice of Prof. Dr. Ansgar Zerfaß from the University of Leipzig, both in the development phase and throughout the implementation phase.