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The origins of Shell’s communications failures

I have posted on YouTube (follow link below) a video which students of Shell’s descent to a position where their management is now held in derision and contempt not just by activists but also by the business world and by the community at large will I hope find useful. It dates back to 1996/7 when the degree of internal confusion about the company’s role in the world was visible to all of us in the company – wherever we were working.

This video (which I think is self-explanatory) is not a parody – it is for real. Essentially what it reveals is that those at the top had no understanding of reputation management and that they felt that a series of slick public claims about Shell’s raison d’être could wipe away the stains of years of selfish neglect. Remember this is now well over ten years ago – and since then things have got immeasurably worse.

To persevere with the obscene remuneration policy for the top management in a time of global economic meltdown, defies belief. Shell’s arguments to support this were not just inadequate – they were an affront. The years of lies and obfuscations in Shell’s corporate advertising are temporally in a lull – budget cuts the cause not sudden reasoned thinking! But look hard at the video and you will see a dysfunctiobnal corporate culture that simmers dangerously below the surface still and will not doubt reappear in due course. Be warned – and be very, very afraid!

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