It’s the year 1961: the Berlin Wall is erected, cementing Germany’s division. In Bonn, Konrad Adenauer is forming his third government. ZDF, a public service broadcaster in Germany, is founded. And the Federal Press Office is redoubling its efforts to repair Germany’s badly damaged reputation in the world – marking the start of our organisation. This is because the Federal Press Office commissions the Frankfurter Societät media company to bring out a multilingual magazine for international multipliers: “Scala. A periodical from the Federal Republic of Germany”.
At the time, terms like corporate or institutional publishing were not in widespread use. Things are different today, and the former magazine has evolved to become a multimedia and multilingual communication platform for the strategic international communication of the Federal Foreign Office.
Let us take a look back: the Frankfurter Societät was established back in 1860 by the bankers Leopold Sonnemann and Heinrich Bernhard Rosenthal. Until 1943, it produced the renowned “Frankfurter Zeitung”. Famous people who wrote for it included everyone from Theodor W. Adorno to Stefan Zweig. After the Second World War, former editors of the “Frankfurter Zeitung” founded the “Allgemeine Zeitung” in Mainz, which in 1949 was absorbed into the newly launched “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”.
Furthermore, from 1913 to 1942, as well as after the Second World War, the Frankfurter Societät also published “Das Illustrierte Blatt”, which was later renamed the “Frankfurter Illustrierte”. This merged with the “Bunte Illustrierte” in 1963 and was published until 1972 under the name “Bunte Münchner Frankfurter Illustrierte”. This is of particular interest because the visual imagery and cover design of this magazine had a strong stylistic influence on “Scala” and thereby on the foreign communication of the Federal Press Office.
Today, the Frankfurter Societät and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (F.A.Z.) operate under one umbrella, more than 90 percent of both belonging to the assets of the FAZIT Foundation. The foundation was established in 1959 as a non-profit publishing house in order to guarantee the independence of the F.A.Z., and in 1989 also took over shares in the Frankfurter Societät.
The work of our predecessors at the Frankfurter Societät was always shaped and dictated by the complexity of multilingual communication – in terms of both content and sales. And also by an openness to innovation: the internet for example is a welcome tool for reaching international target groups more quickly than the cumbersome business of distributing magazines. Our predecessors therefore began launching their first websites in the 1990s. Over the years of digitisation, our portfolio of services has changed just as quickly as the way people’s media habits have. New platforms have emerged, and with them new professions.
In 2017, various departments of the publishing companies gave rise to our current organisation, Fazit Communication GmbH. As a wholly owned subsidiary of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung GmbH, we likewise operate under the umbrella of the FAZIT Foundation.
In 2020 we acquired a majority share in the Mainz-based agency 3st, a leader in the areas of design and digital technology. This acquisition is testimony to our desire to continue offering contemporary and innovative communication solutions in the future. Together with 3st, we advise and support numerous clients from all kinds of different fields and sectors.