Reputation can very quickly become a fleeting commodity. Above all, consumers, investors, media, regulators, politicians and many other stakeholders demand crystal-clear positions from companies – and punish them when such clarity is lacking. Long gone are the days when it was only the financial and product markets that decided on the future prospects and business results of companies; the licence to operate is also being accorded ever increasing importance: companies must earn the trust of society.

Here, the question no longer merely hinges on the right corporate positioning in terms of a communications strategy but also on the development of solutions that make a contribution towards resolving major social issues. The ability to engage in political dialogue has increased sharply in importance to become a key function of management – and a sine qua non for continued existence on the capital markets. In particular, the demands made on the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) have grown enormously in recent years since the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2008.