SAP wins the Thought Leadership Award 2021

  • SAP outperformed the field with the best communication and positioning across multiple topics: digitalisation, diversity, green sustainability, new work and future viability.
  • UNICEPTA examined the media positioning of Germany’s top 250 companies by revenue, on the five most important social debates of the past twelve months – from a total of 35 million articles and postings and 182 million user reactions in the digital space.

The software company SAP has been awarded the “Thought Leadership Award 2021” for the best communication in shaping major public debates in business and society, by UNICEPTA and the German Public Relations Association (DPRG) e.V.  SAP achieved the best positioning across the five most important social debates of the year: Digitalisation, Diversity, Green Sustainability, New Work and Future Viability.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to massive changes in the private, social and economic space and has had a significant impact on public discourse. “In these challenging times, it is no longer enough to position oneself as an economic actor only. Stakeholders and shareholders expect a clear and responsible stance on pressing issues, as well as credible, concrete measures to back these stances,” says Theres Essmann, Managing Partner at UNICEPTA. “SAP was the most convincing in this respect. The communications team did an excellent job of positioning the company on each of the five most important debates.”

“It comes down to the impact SAP is having on the world. We take that responsibility seriously. For years, SAP has been on the frontlines helping to solve some of society’s most pressing challenges. Delivering the solutions and innovations that help propel the world forward,” says Oliver Roll, Chief Communications Officer at SAP. “The Thought Leadership Award 2021 reflects our ambitions – for our customers, for our partners and for the industry broadly. We are grateful for this recognition.”

Also among the finalists were car manufacturers Audi and BMW, Bosch, Deutsche Bahn, Siemens and retail group Rewe. 


Strong communication with CEO as an ambassador

It may come as little surprise that the Walldorf-based software company comes out on top when it comes to digitalisation. It is visible in the media in the context of many digitalisation projects, including the development of a coronavirus warning app and a data platform for the automotive industry. But SAP also achieved excellence on the four other topics that were most important in driving overall thought leadership — diversity, green sustainability, new work and future viability — in terms of media visibility, generated user reactions, tonality, relevant content and use of its own channels. The company communicates clearly and consistently along these most important social topics, with 25 percent of all articles and postings on its own channels directly addressing these five conversations.

SAP achieved the best sentiment among the candidates on the shortlist in four out of five topics. For example, on the topic of diversity, which SAP is continually committed to and prioritises in many facets through its own communication channels. On the topic of sustainability, SAP successfully positioned itself as a pioneer, for instance, with CO2 software in the fight against the climate crisis.

The “Thought Leadership Award” will be presented at the DPRG International German PR Awards ceremony on 24 June 2021 in Frankfurt.


Multi-stage analysis of 35 million articles and postings

The basis for Thought Leadership award is a comprehensive, AI-supported analysis of editorial and social media using UNICEPTA’s pioneering media and data intelligence technologies. In total, UNICEPTA evaluated over 35 million articles and postings with a total of 182 million user reactions in a multi-stage process. Through this systematic approach, UNICEPTA’s analysts determined which of the 250 companies with the highest revenues in Germany had the strongest and most positive impact in the five thought leadership topics of digitalisation, diversity, green sustainability, new work and future viability in the period from April 2020 to March 2021. 



UNICEPTA is one of the leading providers of visionary, AI-powered media and marketing intelligence solutions, delivered with a human factor of analytics, insights, and advisory services.​ ​Our media and audience tracking provides you with the insights you need for more personalized and engaging customer and company interactions.​ Connecting media, digital & social, marketing and business analytics, our integrated digital platforms compile real-time information flows into reports, live dashboards and immersive corporate and brand newsrooms, supported by Analytics & Insights advisors to help your team spot issues and opportunities immediately. As a result, we deliver smart insights to drive faster, better decisions for strong performance. With over 450 colleagues from 44 nations across our offices in Berlin, Cologne, Krakow, London, Shanghai, Washington, and Zurich, UNICEPTA supports renowned cross-sector market leaders.