Aberdeen Strategies

February 2, 2016

No Time for “Going Dark”

By David Webster, Aberdeen Strategies.    This opinion piece appeared previously as an editorial for The Stream.


The headlines this week were stark, even fearful:  “Plunging prices could force a third of U.S. oil firms into bankruptcy” read the Wall Street Journal.  History seemed to be repeating itself as my thoughts returned to Houston in the 1980s when I was just getting started with my career and young family; I pondered the years-long effects extended low oil and gas prices can have on people, companies, other industries (like banking) and entire regions of the country.    

We know, of course, that the oil industry’s current circumstances will eventually improve.  That knowledge is not very comforting to anyone affected directly by this storm.

Those who have the previous oil price shocks seared into our minds learned a thing or two from the experience and want to do everything in our power to steer our companies and clients away from the pitfalls of operating in very lean times.   The companies who have those collective memories embedded in them will likely survive if they have protected themselves with fortress balance sheets and well-maintained corporate cultures.   The survivors – both people and companies – are also likely to have the trait of seeing opportunity where others see only doom.

January 9, 2015

Attitude Adjustment

By David Webster, Aberdeen Strategies

We all know that attitude makes a big difference in a person’s view toward work, other people, the future and opportunity.  Given that companies and organizations are made up of individuals, is it possible for companies to exhibit a prevailing attitude?  Anyone who has served in more than a few organizations knows the answer to that question is a resounding “yes.” 

While you have probably attributed the elements of a company’s prevailing attitude to corporate culture, I would encourage you to start seeing this feature distinctly.  Senior leaders would do well to ask the questions that lead them to better understand their company’s prevailing attitude, why it exists as it does and what can be done to have a prevailing attitude that supports the business strategy rather than impedes it.  

June 14, 2013

The Importance of the Inside Game in Crisis Communications

Guest Blogger Rick Swagler, EVP External Affairs, Regions Financial Corporation

Crisis communications is the corporate equivalent of combat experience. There’s no substitute for fighting in the trenches, dealing with the fog of war, and revising plans and tactics on the fly as the situation changes.

Everyone in communications knows a well-executed crisis plan when they see it: crisp, focused messages, public statements in sync with legal filings, ground support from third parties and friends, and an approach that makes it more likely that the news life of the event is short-lived rather than a death march. But there’s much more than the publicly executed facet of crisis communications. Just as important is the inside game: ensuring that the executive team and your employees have the information they need. 

May 31, 2013

No Time-Outs

By David Webster, Aberdeen Strategies

In today’s world, not moving forward with your communications initiatives while waiting for a chief communications officer to be recruited can put your company at a serious disadvantage.   Yet, that’s what many (ok, most) companies do.  They wait.   The CEO waits.  The staff waits.  The company waits.

A corporate communications function doesn’t have to call a time-out while waiting for the new CCO.  Here are some ideas to keep the wheels turning.

May 28, 2013

How Reinforcing a Corporate Culture Drives Reputation

Guest blogger Rick Swagler, EVP External Affairs, Regions Financial Corp.

“Great story!”

I got that two-word message from our CFO one Monday morning. He was commenting on an article in a national business magazine about one of our bank’s customers. This customer, a century-old manufacturer, became a victim of its parent company’s bankruptcy. That set of facts isn’t exactly a recipe for great media coverage. But this was a turnaround story, and at its heart is the story of how establishing and nurturing a strong corporate culture can drive positive media – without calling a single reporter. 

May 22, 2013

Keeping the Barbarians BEYOND the Gate

Guest blogger Matt Moyer, Investor Relations Advisor

With shareholder activism and failing say-on-pay votes increasing again this year, it is as important as ever for CFO’s to have a consistent investor relations strategy and an Investor Relations Officer (IRO) on the leading edge of surveillance, targeting and messaging.

May 20, 2013

The Simple Truth About Brands

Guest blogger Dick Mitchell, President, Dick Mitchell & Associates

 How can something so simple be so hard?

The simple truth is that a brand is a simple truth. Let me share something I learned from 36 years of brand development that may help illustrate that statement.