Cases

CASES

Ranked as a top 20 author with the Case Centre, I am always looking for opportunities for new worst, best or next-practice cases. Great cases address both the knowing and the doing in the knowing-doing gap. They engage participants to interactively apply theory and experience to a specific context. Below, is a selection of some case studies I authored. 

Unilever, the world's leading ice cream maker, faced a decline in market share, sales volumes, and relevance among consumers. The team had to decide on a brand strategy that would reconnect with customers, ignite growth and solidify the company's leadership of the industry. The practical challenge was if and how to consolidate the brand portfolio; how individual brands should be positioned or re-positioned as part of this strategy; and how this strategy could be implemented. Find it here.

Central to Red Bull's success was the use of word-of-mouth or 'buzz' marketing. As it grew globally, Red Bull found itself at a crossroads, challenged with defending its market share. It faced a maturing market and an onslaught of competitive brands, some of them promoted by beverage industry giants and private labels by mass retailers. Red Bull needed to determine whether it was outgrowing its anti-establishment status and whether the time had come to transition to a more traditional marketing approach. Would this destroy Red Bull's mystique? Find it here

More and more competitors were lining up to launch Nespresso-compatible capsules, and lower-cost alternatives had become well established. In addition, Nespresso was facing high-end competition with the launch of sophisticated coffee machines that included grinders. At the same time, Nestlé is about to launch Nescafé Dolce Gusto, a mid-market single-serve coffee brand. Find it here.

Peter Noll, a pharmaceutical company division chief, ponders the varying business models of two units that have just merged. Both have for years employed flexible, inventive strategies to good effect, but Noll is inclined to impose a single model on the combined entity. The two unit heads, however, make compelling arguments for being left to do their business as usual. What choice should Noll make?  Read this fictionalized case here.

Companies tend to think of pricing only in terms of how they capture value, at worst as cost+. Ironman found out the hard way, that pricing has to be consistent with the brand promise. And offering customers to buy into an event - even though it was to solve a real pain point - was entirely incongruent with their brand that is all about offering something you have to 'earn' and cannot simply buy. Read a short version of the case in the Financial Times here

This case illustrates how the new merged brand was conveyed to its employees internally, via employee branding. It highlights the associated opportunities and challenges of aligning external customer-facing branding efforts led by marketing with internal branding efforts led by Human Resources, which have traditionally focused on employer branding rather than employee branding. Employer branding is aimed at attracting and retaining employees in the proverbial war for talent, whereas employee branding is aimed at engaging and enabling employees to deliver the brand positioning to customers. Find it here

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