One Fine Stay

One Fine Stay (2015) Harvard Business School Case (Jill Avery, Anat Keinan, and Liz Kind)

Miranda Cresswell, marketing director, and Greg Marsh, founder and CEO of onefinestay, were grappling with branding and positioning dilemmas. onefinestay offered high-end home rentals to travelers who sought a more authentic and local experience than a typical upscale hotel might provide. onefinestay’s brand had been “hacked” together quickly during the company’s early years. After five years of rapid growth, Marsh brought Cresswell on board to do a comprehensive analysis of the company’s brand and its positioning in the marketplace. Cresswell had spent several months gathering data and insights, and was starting to experiment with use case scenarios that took a crack at segmenting the company’s customers. The preliminary results were interesting, but raised more questions than they answered, and Cresswell wondered if this was the best way to segment the market. While segmenting in this way was intriguing, it led to a branding challenge – as a start-up, it was difficult for onefinestay to have the resources to support multiple brand messages in the marketplace and different segments wanted different things from their travel experience. She pondered whether there were other ways to group customers that would allow for a more universal positioning for the brand or whether the company needed to focus on one or two segments to serve. Positioning the fledgling brand was a challenge. Who was the company competing against and how could it carve out a unique value proposition that would appeal to travelers and be differentiated from what was offered by other hospitality options? Was its current moniker “the unhotel” working for or against it?

The Tate’s Digital Transformation

The Tate’s Digital Transformation (2014) Harvard Business School Case (Jill Avery)

John Stack was the visionary Head of Digital Transformation at the Tate, a collection of four major art galleries in the UK, including Tate Modern, the most visited gallery devoted to modern and contemporary art in the world. Stack was the architect of the Tate’s “fifth gallery,” its online presence. Stack had guided the Tate through two digital strategy planning processes and his team had experienced much success in developing the Tate’s fifth gallery into a virtual place filled with immersive and engaging content, activities, experiences, and communities. Looking to the future, Stack was working to execute a new digital strategy, one that included digital as a dimension of everything the Tate did, both physically and virtually. This effort was raising important questions about organizational structure, marketing strategy, product and service design, and return on investment. What would it take to be a truly digital organization where digital was the norm?

The Park Hotels: Revitalizing an Iconic Indian Brand

The Park Hotels: Revitalizing an Iconic Indian Brand (2014) Harvard Business School Case (Jill Avery and Chekitan S. Dev)

Priya Paul, chairwoman of The Park Hotels, an award-winning portfolio of thirteen boutique hotels scattered across India, was in the midst of a brand revitalization program. Landor Associates, a leading brand consultancy had identified three areas of concern: the shrinking differentiation opportunity provided by the boutique hotel positioning, consumers’ negative perceptions of The Park’s properties, and a lack of consistency across the hotel properties in the brand portfolio. Competition was heating up and Paul had a goal to expand her hotel portfolio to twenty properties in the next ten years. Paul knew that she had to make some major changes to her brand, including changing her positioning, choosing a new logo, and selecting the right products and services that enhanced her revitalized brand. And, she had to decide where to site the new hotel properties to best compete against global behemoths, Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt and Intercontinental. How could she best revitalize her brand to stand out in a crowded marketplace, while preserving its rich heritage? Which changes would best propel The Park Hotels into the future?

Filene’s Basement

Filene’s Basement: Inside a Fired Customer’s Relationship (2014) Harvard Business School Case (Jill Avery and Susan Fournier)

How, in a business climate in which building relationships with customers has dominated both managerial thought and marketing budgets, could Filene’s Basement have fired a loyal customer, one who was formally and informally recognized as a best customer? This case allows students to reverse-engineer a fired customer’s relationship with discount retailer Filene’s Basement, from her perspective, to uncover the critical incidents and behaviors of each party that shaped their relationship trajectory. The company’s customer relationship management (CRM) programs are analyzed to show how they influenced and encouraged unprofitable customer behavior.

Relating to Peapod

Relating to Peapod (2014) Harvard Business School Case (Susan Fournier and Jill Avery)

Explores the relationships formed between consumers and the Peapod consumer-direct grocery delivery service, as revealed through an ethnographic study of Boston-area Peapod shoppers. Three representative case histories are brought to life using extensive quotes from these selected longitudinal interviews. Closes with short vignettes describing the experiences of additional service users so that students can offer relationship predictions using process insights derived from the detailed case studies. Together, the data-driven exercises are designed to deepen students’ understanding of the development processes characterizing consumer-firm/brand interactions over time, toward the goal of more informed relationship marketing strategies and sharper brand relationship executions.

J.C. Penney’s Fair and Square Pricing Strategy

J.C. Penney’s Fair and Square Pricing Strategy (2012) Harvard Business School Case (Elie Ofek and Jill Avery)

It was August 2012 and the release of second quarter earnings was looming for CEO Ron Johnson. Johnson had intimated to Wall Street that the retailer’s second quarter results were likely to miss expectations again, following dismal first quarter results. These results were particularly disheartening given the company’s radical repositioning of its business model and its brand in February 2012. The heart of the repositioning strategy was a switch from J.C. Penney’s traditional high-low pricing strategy, in which the retailer ran frequent sales to offer customers discounted pricing off of its higher day-to-day list prices, to a new pricing strategy the company dubbed “Fair and Square” pricing. “Fair and Square” pricing attempted to simplify J.C. Penney’s pricing structure and make it more straightforward for customers, offering them great prices every day, with less frequent price promotions. But by mid-summer 2012, customers and shareholders appeared to be voting with their feet, leaving the retailer in droves as it struggled to implement its innovative redesign. Was his new pricing strategy misguided or was it just a matter of time before customers fully embraced it? Johnson was under enormous pressure to turn things around quickly as the all-important back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons were imminent.

EILEEN FISHER: Repositioning the Brand

EILEEN FISHER: Repositioning the Brand (2012) Harvard Business School Case (Keinan, Avery, Wilson, and Norton)

Well-established fashion brand Eileen Fisher has traditionally appealed to older women. However, to drive growth, Eileen Fisher’s management team wants to target a younger demographic and has revamped its Fall product line to offer more fashionable styles to appeal to younger women. But, repositioning the brand has proven to be harder than expected. This case explores the challenges of appealing to new target markets, without alienating existing consumers. The case follows Eileen Fisher’s initial forays into social media as they chase a younger demographic and demonstrates the opportunities and pitfalls that await big brands when they enter the world of Web 2.0.

The Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta (2012) Harvard Business School Case (Deighton and Kornfeld)

Executives at Ford wondered if social media could be the marketing solution for the launch of the youth-oriented 2010 Fiesta. But with social media came a ceding of control. Some at the company believed that if Ford was going to move beyond its conservative brand image for the launch of the new subcompact chances had to be taken. Others erred on the side of caution. Chantel Lenard, Ford’s Group Marketing Manager for Global Small Car and Midsize Vehicles and Connie Fontaine, Manager of Brand Content and Alliances championed a new approach for the new vehicle and set into motion a comprehensive 6-month social media initiative targeting a younger, ethnically diverse, and urban-based market, called “The Fiesta Movement”. In doing so, a large portion of the marketing campaign was handed over to 20 and 30-somethings across America, and Ford had to acclimate to a new way of doing marketing. To what extent should the company guide the activities and messages of their army of bloggers? The case is set two months into the Movement, as the team evaluates the metrics from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and their website, and wonder if they’re doing everything they need to do in order to make the Fiesta a success with a new target market.

Coca-Cola on Facebook

Coca-Cola on Facebook (2012) Harvard Business School Case (Deighton and Kornfeld)

In late 2008, executives at Coca-Cola had to decide what to do with a fan-created page on Facebook that had amassed over one million followers in three months. From a legal point of view the fan-created page was in violation of Facebook’s terms of service, because a non-copyright holder was using the imagery and logo associated with a known brand. Facebook contacted Michael Donnelly, Group Director, Worldwide Interactive Marketing for The Coca-Cola Company, to let him know that he was in the position to take down the hugely popular fan-created site or, conversely, he could take it over and make it an official marketing channel for the company. Coke was already revisiting its social media policies, with the Diet Coke and Mentos user-generated video incident fresh in its memory. Those videos, which featured elaborate geysers with Diet Coke as their main ingredient, were among the most viewed online videos at the time but were not initially sanctioned by the company. Donnelly knew that opening up the brand to creative consumers was necessary, but he and his team had to figure out how and to what extent they should do so while still protecting one of the world’s most valuable brands.

Acquiring Zipcar: Brand Building in the Share Economy

Acquiring Zipcar: Brand Building in the Share Economy (2012) Boston University School of Management Case (Fournier, Eckhardt and Bardhi)

Griffith knew that the counter-cultural success of his car sharing model could be upset if Zipcar were to be acquired by a Avis, a staple of the auto industry. This said, perhaps Zipcar’s purchase by the “big guys” would signal the greatest success that car sharing could imagine? According to Clayton Lane, COO of EMBARQ, the WRI Center for Sustainable Transport, and co-founder of PhillyCarShare in Philadelphia, an acquisition by Avis “might just spawn innovation and allow Zipcar to think big again.” The Avis deal could offer improved convenience to Zipcar members, who would gain access to Avis’s massive fleet on weekends, when Zipcar was usually short of cars and Avis was short on customers. Zipcar should enjoy significant savings on insurance and fleet purchases, promising better financial sustainability as well. It was hard to know, but a decision was needed fast. Thinking about growth and sustainability going forward, what was the best thing for the business? What was the best thing for the brand? Could Griffith reconcile these two goals? How? What should Griffith do?