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Cincinnati Bell (CBB) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Cincinnati Bell (United States)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Cincinnati Bell is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – wage bills are increasing, supply chains are disrupted by pandemic , increasing energy prices, challanges to central banks by blockchain based private currencies, there is backlash against globalization, competitive advantages are harder to sustain because of technology dispersion, talent flight as more people leaving formal jobs, increasing transportation and logistics costs, digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Cincinnati Bell


SWOT stands for an organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats . At Oak Spring University, we believe that Cincinnati Bell can use SWOT analysis as a strategic management tool to assess the current internal strengths and weaknesses of the Cincinnati Bell, and to figure out the opportunities and threats in the macro environment – technological, environmental, political, economic, social, demographic, etc in which Cincinnati Bell operates in.

According to Harvard Business Review, 75% of the managers use SWOT analysis for various purposes such as – evaluating current scenario, strategic planning, new venture feasibility, personal growth goals, new market entry, Go To market strategies, portfolio management and strategic trade-off assessment, organizational restructuring, etc.




SWOT Objectives / Importance of SWOT Analysis and SWOT Matrix


SWOT analysis of Cincinnati Bell can be done for the following purposes –
1. Strategic planning of Cincinnati Bell
2. Improving business portfolio management of Cincinnati Bell
3. Assessing feasibility of the new initiative in United States
4. Making a Communications Services sector specific business decision
5. Set goals for the organization
6. Organizational restructuring of Cincinnati Bell




Strengths of Cincinnati Bell | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Strengths in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The strengths of Cincinnati Bell are -

Diverse revenue streams

– Cincinnati Bell is present in almost all the verticals within the Communications Services industry. This has provided Cincinnati Bell a diverse revenue stream that has helped it to survive disruptions such as global pandemic in Covid-19, financial disruption of 2008, and supply chain disruption of 2021.

Low bargaining power of suppliers

– Suppliers of Cincinnati Bell in the Services sector have low bargaining power. Cincinnati Bell has further diversified its suppliers portfolio by building a robust supply chain across various countries. This helps Cincinnati Bell to manage not only supply disruptions but also source products at highly competitive prices.

Organizational Resilience of Cincinnati Bell

– The covid-19 pandemic has put organizational resilience at the centre of everthing Cincinnati Bell does. Organizational resilience comprises - Financial Resilience, Operational Resilience, Technological Resilience, Organizational Resilience, Business Model Resilience, and Reputation Resilience.

Training and development

– Cincinnati Bell has one of the best training and development program in Services industry. The effectiveness of the training programs can be measured in – employees retention, in-house promotion, loyalty, new venture initiation, lack of conflict, and high level of both employees and customer engagement.

Sustainable margins compare to other players in Communications Services industry

– Cincinnati Bell has clearly differentiated products in the market place. This has enabled Cincinnati Bell to fetch slight price premium compare to the competitors in the Communications Services industry. The sustainable margins have also helped Cincinnati Bell to invest into research and development (R&D) and innovation.

Superior customer experience

– The customer experience strategy of Cincinnati Bell in Communications Services industry is based on four key concepts – personalization, simplification of complex needs, prompt response, and continuous engagement.

Effective Research and Development (R&D)

– Cincinnati Bell has innovation driven culture where significant part of the revenues are spent on the research and development activities. This has resulted in – Cincinnati Bell staying ahead in the Communications Services industry in terms of – new product launches, superior customer experience, highly competitive pricing strategies, and great returns to the shareholders.

Innovation driven organization

– Cincinnati Bell is one of the most innovative firm in Communications Services sector.

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of Cincinnati Bell comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Communications Services industry, building diversified operations across different geographies so that disruption in one part of the world doesn’t impact the overall performance of the firm, and integrating the various business operations and processes through its digital transformation drive.

Successful track record of launching new products

– Cincinnati Bell has launched numerous new products in last few years, keeping in mind evolving customer preferences and competitive pressures. Cincinnati Bell has effective processes in place that helps in exploring new product needs, doing quick pilot testing, and then launching the products quickly using its extensive distribution network.

Ability to lead change in Communications Services

– Cincinnati Bell is one of the leading players in the Communications Services industry in United States. Over the years it has not only transformed the business landscape in the Communications Services industry in United States but also across the existing markets. The ability to lead change has enabled Cincinnati Bell in – penetrating new markets, reaching out to new customers, and providing different value propositions to different customers in the international markets.

Strong track record of project management in the Communications Services industry

– Cincinnati Bell is known for sticking to its project targets. This enables the firm to manage – time, project costs, and have sustainable margins on the projects.






Weaknesses of Cincinnati Bell | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The weaknesses of Cincinnati Bell are -

Low market penetration in new markets

– Outside its home market of United States, Cincinnati Bell needs to spend more promotional, marketing, and advertising efforts to penetrate international markets.

High operating costs

– Compare to the competitors, Cincinnati Bell has high operating costs in the Communications Services industry. This can be harder to sustain given the new emerging competition from nimble players who are using technology to attract Cincinnati Bell lucrative customers.

High cash cycle compare to competitors

Cincinnati Bell has a high cash cycle compare to other players in the Communications Services industry. It needs to shorten the cash cycle by 12% to be more competitive in the marketplace, reduce inventory costs, and be more profitable.

Slow to harness new channels of communication

– Even though competitors are using new communication channels such as Instagram, Tiktok, and Snap, Cincinnati Bell is slow explore the new channels of communication. These new channels of communication can help Cincinnati Bell to provide better information regarding Communications Services products and services. It can also build an online community to further reach out to potential customers.

No frontier risks strategy

– From the 10K / annual statement of Cincinnati Bell, it seems that company is thinking out the frontier risks that can impact Communications Services industry. But it has very little resources allocation to manage the risks emerging from events such as natural disasters, climate change, melting of permafrost, tacking the rise of artificial intelligence, opportunities and threats emerging from commercialization of space etc.

Skills based hiring in Communications Services industry

– The stress on hiring functional specialists at Cincinnati Bell has created an environment where the organization is dominated by functional specialists rather than management generalist. This has resulted into product oriented approach rather than marketing oriented approach or consumers oriented approach.

High bargaining power of channel partners in Communications Services industry

– because of the regulatory requirements in United States, Cincinnati Bell is facing high bargaining power of the channel partners. So far it has not able to streamline the operations to reduce the bargaining power of the value chain partners in the Communications Services industry.

Products dominated business model

– Even though Cincinnati Bell has some of the most successful models in the Communications Services industry, this business model has made each new product launch extremely critical for continuous financial growth of the organization. Cincinnati Bell should strive to include more intangible value offerings along with its core products and services.

High dependence on existing supply chain

– The disruption in the global supply chains because of the Covid-19 pandemic and blockage of the Suez Canal illustrated the fragile nature of Cincinnati Bell supply chain. Even after few cautionary changes, Cincinnati Bell is still heavily dependent upon the existing supply chain. The existing supply chain though brings in cost efficiencies but it has left Cincinnati Bell vulnerable to further global disruptions in South East Asia.

Employees’ less understanding of Cincinnati Bell strategy

– From the outside it seems that the employees of Cincinnati Bell don’t have comprehensive understanding of the firm’s strategy. This is reflected in number of promotional campaigns over the last few years that had mixed messaging and competing priorities. Some of the strategic activities and services promoted in the promotional campaigns were not consistent with the organization’s strategy.

High dependence on Cincinnati Bell ‘s star products

– The top 2 products and services of Cincinnati Bell still accounts for major business revenue. This dependence on star products in Communications Services industry has resulted into insufficient focus on developing new products, even though Cincinnati Bell has relatively successful track record of launching new products.




Cincinnati Bell Opportunities | External Strategic Factors
What are Opportunities in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The opportunities of Cincinnati Bell are -

Remote work and new talent hiring opportunities

– The widespread usage of remote working technologies during Covid-19 has opened opportunities for Cincinnati Bell to expand its talent hiring zone. According to McKinsey Global Institute, 20% of the high end workforce in fields such as finance, information technology, can continously work from remote local post Covid-19. This presents a really great opportunity for Cincinnati Bell to hire the very best people irrespective of their geographical location.

Learning at scale

– Online learning technologies has now opened space for Cincinnati Bell to conduct training and development for its employees across the world. This will result in not only reducing the cost of training but also help employees in different part of the world to integrate with the headquarter work culture, ethos, and standards.

Lowering marketing communication costs

– 5G expansion will open new opportunities for Cincinnati Bell in the field of marketing communication. It will bring down the cost of doing business, provide technology platform to build new products in the Communications Services industry, and it will provide faster access to the consumers.

Identify volunteer opportunities

– Covid-19 has impacted working population in two ways – it has led to people soul searching about their professional choices, resulting in mass resignation. Secondly it has encouraged people to do things that they are passionate about. This has opened opportunities for businesses to build volunteer oriented socially driven projects. Cincinnati Bell can explore opportunities that can attract volunteers and are consistent with its mission and vision.

Changes in consumer behavior post Covid-19

– consumer behavior has changed in the Communications Services industry because of Covid-19 restrictions. Some of this behavior will stay once things get back to normal. Cincinnati Bell can take advantage of these changes in consumer behavior to build a far more efficient business model. For example consumer regular ordering of products can reduce both last mile delivery costs and market penetration costs. Cincinnati Bell can further use this consumer data to build better customer loyalty, provide better products and service collection, and improve the value proposition in inflationary times.

Loyalty marketing

– Cincinnati Bell has focused on building a highly responsive customer relationship management platform. This platform is built on in-house data and driven by analytics and artificial intelligence. The customer analytics can help the organization to fine tune its loyalty marketing efforts, increase the wallet share of the organization, reduce wastage on mainstream advertising spending, build better pricing strategies using personalization, etc.

Increase in government spending

– As the United States and other governments are increasing social spending and infrastructure spending to build economies post Covid-19, Cincinnati Bell can use these opportunities to build new business models that can help the communities that Cincinnati Bell operates in. Secondly it can use opportunities from government spending in Communications Services sector.

Reconfiguring business model

– The expansion of digital payment system, the bringing down of international transactions costs using Bitcoin and other blockchain based currencies, etc can help Cincinnati Bell to reconfigure its entire business model. For example it can used blockchain based technologies to reduce piracy of its products in the big markets such as China. Secondly it can use the popularity of e-commerce in various developing markets to build a Direct to Customer business model rather than the current Channel Heavy distribution network.

Harnessing reconfiguration of the global supply chains

– As the trade war between US and China heats up in the coming years, Cincinnati Bell can build a diversified supply chain model across various countries in - South East Asia, India, and other parts of the world. This reconfiguration of global supply chain can help Cincinnati Bell to buy more products closer to the markets, and it can leverage its size and influence to get better deal from the local markets.

Leveraging digital technologies

– Cincinnati Bell can leverage digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate the production process, customer analytics to get better insights into consumer behavior, realtime digital dashboards to get better sales tracking, logistics and transportation, product tracking, etc.

Building a culture of innovation

– managers at Cincinnati Bell can make experimentation a productive activity and build a culture of innovation using approaches such as – mining transaction data, A/B testing of websites and selling platforms, engaging potential customers over various needs, and building on small ideas in the Communications Services industry.

Low interest rates

– Even though inflation is raising its head in most developed economies, Cincinnati Bell can still utilize the low interest rates to borrow money for capital investment. Secondly it can also use the increase of government spending in infrastructure projects to get new business.

Use of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies for transactions in Communications Services industry

– The popularity of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies as asset class and medium of transaction has opened new opportunities for Cincinnati Bell in the Communications Services industry. Now Cincinnati Bell can target international markets with far fewer capital restrictions requirements than the existing system.




Threats Cincinnati Bell External Strategic Factors
What are Threats in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The threats of Cincinnati Bell are -

Aging population

– As the populations of most advanced economies are aging, it will lead to high social security costs, higher savings among population, and lower demand for goods and services in the economy. The household savings in US, France, UK, Germany, and Japan are growing faster than predicted because of uncertainty caused by pandemic.

Regulatory challenges

– Cincinnati Bell needs to prepare for regulatory challenges as consumer protection groups and other pressure groups are vigorously advocating for more regulations on big business - to reduce inequality, to create a level playing field, to product data privacy and consumer privacy, to reduce the influence of big money on democratic institutions, etc. This can lead to significant changes in the Communications Services industry regulations.

Learning curve for new practices

– As the technology based on artificial intelligence and machine learning platform is getting complex, Cincinnati Bell may face longer learning curve for training and development of existing employees. This can open space for more nimble competitors in the field of Communications Services sector.

Easy access to finance

– Easy access to finance in Communications Services industry will also reduce the barriers to entry in the industry, thus putting downward pressure on the prices because of increasing competition. Cincinnati Bell can utilize it by borrowing at lower rates and invest it into research and development, capital expenditure to fortify its core competitive advantage.

Consumer confidence and its impact on Cincinnati Bell demand

– There is a high probability of declining consumer confidence, given – high inflammation rate, rise of gig economy, lower job stability, increasing cost of living, higher interest rates, and aging demography. All the factors contribute to people saving higher rate of their income, resulting in lower consumer demand in Communications Services industry and other sectors.

Instability in the European markets

– European Union markets are facing three big challenges post Covid – expanded balance sheets, Brexit related business disruption, and aggressive Russia looking to distract the existing security mechanism. Cincinnati Bell will face different problems in different parts of Europe. For example it will face inflationary pressures in UK, France, and Germany, balance sheet expansion and demand challenges in Southern European countries, and geopolitical instability in the Eastern Europe.

Barriers of entry lowering

– As technology is more democratized, the barriers to entry to Communications Services industry are lowering. It can presents Cincinnati Bell with greater competitive threats in the near to medium future. Secondly it will also put downward pressure on pricing throughout the Communications Services sector.

Stagnating economy with rate increase

– Cincinnati Bell can face lack of demand in the market place because of Fed actions to reduce inflation. This can lead to sluggish growth in the economy, lower demands, lower investments, higher borrowing costs, and consolidation in the Communications Services industry.

High level of anxiety and lack of motivation

– the Great Resignation in United States is the sign of broader dissatisfaction among the workforce in United States. Cincinnati Bell needs to understand the core reasons impacting the Communications Services industry. This will help it in building a better workplace.

New competition

– After the dotcom bust of 2001, financial crisis of 2008-09, the business formation in US economy had declined. But in 2020 alone, there are more than 1.5 million new business applications in United States. This can lead to greater competition for Cincinnati Bell in the Communications Services sector and impact the bottomline of the organization.

High dependence on third party suppliers

– Cincinnati Bell high dependence on third party suppliers can disrupt its processes and delivery mechanism. For example -the current troubles of car makers because of chip shortage is because the chip companies started producing chips for electronic companies rather than car manufacturers.

Shortening product life cycle

– it is one of the major threat that Cincinnati Bell is facing in Communications Services sector. It can lead to higher research and development costs, higher marketing expenses, lower customer loyalty, etc.

Capital market disruption

– During the Covid-19, Dow Jones has touched record high. The valuations of a number of companies are way beyond their existing business model potential. This can lead to capital market correction which can put a number of suppliers, collaborators, value chain partners in great financial difficulty. It will directly impact the business of Cincinnati Bell.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Cincinnati Bell Template, Example


Not all factors mentioned under the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants in the SWOT Analysis are equal. Managers at Cincinnati Bell needs to zero down on the relative importance of each factor mentioned in the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants. We can provide the relative importance to each factor by assigning relative weights. Weighted SWOT analysis process is a three stage process –

First stage for doing weighted SWOT analysis of Cincinnati Bell is to rank the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. This will help you to assess the most important strengths and weaknesses of the firm and which one of the strengths and weaknesses mentioned in the initial lists are marginal and can be left out.

Second stage for conducting weighted SWOT analysis of Cincinnati Bell is to give probabilities to the external strategic factors thus better understanding the opportunities and threats arising out of macro environment changes and developments.

Third stage of constructing weighted SWOT analysis of Cincinnati Bell to provide strategic recommendations includes – joining likelihood of external strategic factors such as opportunities and threats to the internal strategic factors – strengths and weaknesses. You should start with external factors as they will provide the direction of the overall industry. Secondly by joining probabilities with internal strategic factors can help the company not only strategic fit but also the most probably strategic trade-off that Cincinnati Bell needs to make to build a sustainable competitive advantage.



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