High Concept
Strategic Communications

1989 - 2023


From 1989 until 2023, Roeder-Johnson Corporation provided strategic communications counsel to startups that were redefining markets.  With the death in September 2023 of its co-founder, Abigail Roeder Johnson, Roeder-Johnson has ended its strategic communications practice.  Our website remains active for historical and tutorial purposes.

From our base in the Silicon Valley, we served over 130 technology companies since our founding, including over 100 company launches, by challenging executive teams to truly understand their company’s value added, and to clearly articulate and make memorable their unique “High Concept”.

With such vast startup experience, we brought to the party a deep understanding of what young companies needed and how they should communicate – at the moment, and in the long term.

Leadership and the High Concept

Tactical communications – classical PR to most – is all about getting ink – or pixels. Strategic communications, by contrast, is all about being understood and remembered – for the right things and for the long term. When details fade – as the browser is dismissed, the magazine set aside, or the analyst hangs up the phone – you want to be remembered for two key concepts at a minimum: how you are changing the world, and why you are the undisputed leader in doing so.

Our talent was helping executive teams develop a view of communications as a core business strategy, and presenting their vision and leadership position in simple, clear, and memorable terms – what we called the “High Concept” – on an ongoing basis.

The Benefits of a Leadership Position

Your strategy of being remembered and perceived as a market and thought leader that is “changing the world” (and why) can have profound tangible and intangible benefits. Some of these include:

  • Achieving higher prices and better deals
  • Attracting better partners, sooner, with better terms
  • Attracting the most desired employees
  • Lowering the cost of capital
  • Increasing the velocity of information about you, your leadership position, and your products.
  • De-positioning competitors as “not leaders”

Having a communications strategy to make this happen – typically overlooked by most startups – can be the “unfair advantage” that takes you over the top.

Leveraging the High Concept

Once developed, as a key business strategy, the High Concept is then used as the essence of all company communications – from investor presentations to website content, to product marketing collateral, public relations, social media, and all other communications – internal and external. And, as many of our clients later stated, it can get your entire company – executives to rank-and-file – to talk about why you are important in simple and consistent terms, reinforcing your leadership position.