Saturday, June 13, 2015

Some of my Favorite B-school cases

It's summer time and a lot of folks think that profs and university instructors are resting in the sun. Well, that might be partly true, but we're also out there thinking about ideas and our upcoming courses we teach. A couple of days ago, one of my counterparts in Europe asked me what my go-to marketing cases are.  So, for the enjoyment of my educator colleagues, for my students who will likely be seeing some of these cases next term, and for my readers... here are some of my favorites (classics and new!)

#6  Apple Inc in 2015 (2015). Apple is mind-blowingly successful, we all know that.  This spanking brand new case provides a nice historical context on the brand but looks at the new realities for the brand.  What should the strategic new product plays be? There is a healthy debate to be had over where Tim Cook (and his different skills than Jobs) should take the brand.

#5  Land Rover North America, Inc. (1995). I've always liked Susan Fournier's work.  If you are a brand fan, then you'll probably know her work on brand relationships.  Here she writes an interesting case (with a lot of consumer behavior data) on Land Rover Discovery. There are super discussions to be had here on brand personality and managing brand equity across borders.

#4  Coca-Cola's New Vending Machine: Pricing to Capture Value or Not? (2000) Here's another oldie but a goodie. This 9 pager brings issues related to value, public relations and pricing through Coke's drink machine that changes price based on the temperature. You don't see many of these drink machines around- and this case lays out simple communication and pricing issues in an easy-to-digest format.

#3 Lufa Farms. (2013)  Lufa is a very interesting company founded by its CEO Mohammed Hage.
The company develops farms on commercial rooftops.  The case tackles how to scale and a capital intensive entrepreneurial company with a superior (fruit and vegetable) offering. I'm a little biased to this one too for a few reasons. 1) Lufa Farms is a Canadian company.  2) The CEO is a great guy (the team is nice too!).  3) Check the authors and you'll figure out bias #3.


#2  Disrupting the Meat Industry: Tissue Culture Beef. (2015) The subject matter of this case- meat grown in a lab- seems right out of a futuristic movie. But, readers of the case learn just how close the Sergey Brin backed company is making cultured beef a reality. I like this case so much because it gets such visceral reactions from so many case discussants.  The implications of the cultured beef are potentially majorly disruptive from  farming to supply chain to consumer but, the benefits  are numerous- from more environmentally friendly production to animal welfare. In addition to having great marketing debates, there are lots of "what does the future hold" discussions that also launch.   And how can you not love a case that starts off with this quote from Brin? "Some people think tissue culture meat is science fiction... I actually think that's a good thing. If what you're doing is not seen by some people as science fiction, then it's probably note transformative enough."


#1. Heineken NV: Global Branding and Advertising. (1995) This 13 page case (5 pages of actual case write up) by John Quelch is brilliant.  Although the case description is this:
"Heineken managers are evaluating the results of the research projects designed to identify the values of the Heineken brand and to translate these into effective advertising messages",
what I really like about the case is that it cuts to the heart of brand values- and what constitutes a "global brand", if there really is such a thing. The case being from 1995 isn't such a bad thing either.  Students can track the "values" via advertising in international markets over the last 20 years.


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