Since 2005, we have periodically published brief essays about timely issues and best practices in business communications.

These pieces are organized under the thematic categories listed below. We hope they serve as a source of compelling and provocative ideas, and we welcome your thoughts and feedback.

The convergence of words and deeds

Building credibility and trust with clients, regulators, and the public requires clear communications that complement companies’ actions and results. In these essays, we reconsider the adage “Deeds not Words,” and maintain that words can be as powerful as deeds, especially in the digital society. As words move their audience to act, they epitomize deeds, so that “Deeds + Words” becomes a modern maxim.

Making a Lasting Impression: Live the Brand
Building identity through small, pervasive actions
Say As You Do: Credible Communications
Connecting with audiences by matching your message to your actions

Content is still king

Does substance, content, or voice matter in our digital realm? Throughout social media, where virtual image seems to define relevance, the medium often seems to overtake the message. But does it really? Can medium ever eclipse message?

In this series, we argue that the medium – be it as archaic as cave drawings, as old-world as PowerPoint slides, or as current as Twitter – should enhance, not become, the message. Even the most current, cool technology is only a tool and can never replace the power of strong, clear thinking – or cover up for the absence of such. Message and voice are more critical than ever.

Content and Medium
Meaningful messages in the age of Twitter
Blunt Instrument or Power Tool?
PowerPoint can support clear thinking but can't replace it
The Virtual Voice
The importance of message in an age of e-media

Using narrative elements to enhance clarity and resonance

 “Story.” “Storyline.” “Narrative.” Over time, these concepts have moved from the narrow spheres of policy making and finance into the general lexicon. In fact, the word “narrative” has become a near-ubiquitous cliché.

Since 2005, we have been evaluating the financial industry’s changing views of story – from negative connotations of fabrication to fascination with “narrative” as a means of control. In this collection of essays, we consider the discipline required to construct a logical story and provide precepts for using narrative elements to present complex information in a clear and compelling way.

Articulate Accounts
The narrative framework in financial communications
Evidence of Elegance
Powerful concepts in simple packages
Beyond Numbers and Bullet Points: Tell Your Story
Using narrative to communicate complex information

Making financial documents understandable

As regulators enact measures to enhance stability, restore confidence, and protect investors and consumers, Gargiulo + Partners issues a call for clarity. We urge lawmakers and firms to give as much attention to the clearness of information presented as they do to the types and amount of information disclosed.

In this series we propose basic principles for improving the clarity of financial communications.

Fear of Freshness
How to respond to market demand for crisper communications
Simplicity for Sophisticates
Making disclosure more readable will be vital in the post-reform era
Lost in Transparency
Disclosure is not enough - financial reform must also mandate clarity
Seeing Clearly
Transparency is no substitute for clarity

Advertising the product and the brand

In 2013, when the ban on advertising of hedge funds and other privately issued securities was lifted, alternative asset managers had an array of marketing approaches open up to them. But in a sector that traditionally made a virtue of limited disclosure, this deregulation raised questions about the benefits and risks of advertising.

Here we presented a historically informed view on appropriate ways for firms to seize this opportunity.

Hedge Fund Ads on the Super Bowl Blimp
Lessons learned from advertising deregulation

Recasting the proxy for optimal impact

The role of the proxy statement has evolved over several years, as regulators and shareholders have demanded from public companies more transparency and accountability on governance, pay, and social responsibility practices. Corporate directors and officers now view the annual proxy statement not only as a means to meet regulatory requirements, but also as an opportunity to clarify strategy and policies, explain how shareholder concerns are being met, and provide the transparency that investors expect. In this series, we propose basic principles that recast the proxy statement to encompass not only compliance, but communications that can enhance the image of the corporation in the eyes of the investment community.

Proxy Disclosure
Does transparency pay off?
Proxy Statements Revisited
The proxy as a tool for investor engagement