Implementing digital strategy

Case Study: GfK

The vision of market research company GfK was to transform its business model to offer prescriptive market analytics and advice to executive decision-makers with clients. To achieve this, the entire company needed to transform. We helped take the people and leaders along and to focus on culture as a strategic driver of change.

Becoming the Bloomberg of market research

After a private equity player had taken co-ownership, the goal was to quickly transform the company and the products it offered. The vision was to become the “Bloomberg of market research” – being able to offer marketers live analytics from various data points. This meant a radical and holistic change program impacting the whole organization. 

Working closely with our client, we concentrated first on assessing cultural change readiness and needs. Together with a cross-functional and cross-geographical client team, we ran interviews across the company. We jointly distilled some core challenges as well as strengths that were intensely reviewed by the managing board. 

This process allowed us to precisely target implementation measures for maximum impact: together with the culture team, we supported the creation of a new leadership model, kicked off at a high-energy top-leadership event, upskilled leaders, and offered e-learnings on digital readiness.

What we achieved together

Our approach – co-creating with a mixed client team (including a member of the works council) – ensured that all voices were heard. This built excitement across the organization including all its global subsidiaries and it reduced resistance. It also helped mirror back the current realities so that everyone, from mid-level leaders to the executive board, could target their efforts. Our success also hinged on a strong C-suite mandate and having a culture focus embedded in the company’s transformation program.

Our key insights:

  • Co-creation creates ownership of reality and change
  • A clear digital vision can excite even critics
  • A strong mandate for cultural change as part of the strategy works wonders

Throughout the implementation we kept involving stakeholder groups and co-created results in teams – for example, the new leadership model – thus creating broad ownership. We also deployed unconventional and playful measures to make the new culture of entrepreneurship and collaboration come to life.

We are proud to have been a part of kick-starting the transformation with GfK. The transformation was a complete success, and as a result GfK was able to join forces with the American market research company NielsenIQ, forming an even stronger leader in the industry.


participants at the initial fully gamified leadership summit


weeks to co-create a new leadership model spotlighting needed leadership for the transformation


powerful behavioral skill-building experiences for senior leadership

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