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Case Studies by Brian Henry

44 case studies

by Publication Date
published: 30 Jan 2017

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Abstract:
Paris-based S.T.Dupont is engaged in the manufacture, marketing and sale of luxury goods for men and women, including lighters, pens, jewelry, leather goods, eyewear, watches, belts, fragrances and casual and formal attire. Founded in 1872 by an entrepreneurial French photographer and carriage-maker, the company began making luxury leather luggage for wealthy aristocrats. It was owned and managed by the same family until the 1970s, when it was sold to the American multinational Gillette. A decade later, it was sold to Hong Kong conglomerate Dickson Concepts. Having largely lost its brand identity, S.T.Dupont languished until 2006, when a new management team based in Paris successfully turned the company around with a unique branding and marketing strategy.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case teaches the critical role of brand management in the context of S.T.Dupont, a French luxury brand that was successfully revived by CEO Alain Crevet and his team. Faced with a daunting task on his arrival in 2006 – the company was hemorrhaging money, customers had lost sight of the brand personality, and its craftsmen were no longer producing innovative products – the case outlines Crevet’s journey to resurrect the firm from near bankruptcy. Students are invited to take a holistic view of branding: how a brand can be consistent during a turnaround, why it is essential to identify the key brand pillars across all channels, how to tap into a brand’s heritage and identity. The case offers experiential learning – from the mistakes of the past – as well as branding solutions for the future. Designed for marketing students, it can also be used in luxury management, strategy management and organizational behavior courses.

Keywords:
S.t. Dupont, Handbags, Pens, Cigar Accessories, Brand Equity, Brand Positioning, Brand Strategy, Lighters, Jewellery, Tissot-Dupont, Cricket, Alain Crevet, Brand Identity, Luxury Goods

published: 15 Dec 2016

  • Topic: Economics & Finance
  • Industry: Technology
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
On 30 August 2016, Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition, ordered Ireland to recover €13 billion in illegal state aid that the state had granted Apple over a decade from 2003. In allowing Apple to pay close to zero in taxes, she ruled, Ireland had given the foreign company a selective advantage over other businesses paying the regular corporate tax rate of 12.5%. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, and Enda Kenny, the Irish Prime Minister, appealed the ruling, a process that is still ongoing. The case explores this event from five analytical pillars: 1) the role of Ireland’s low corporate tax rate in attracting FDI; 2) Apple’s decision to allocate its earnings to a paper company in Ireland with no physical presence in the country; 3) the repatriation of foreign earnings to the United States; 4) the transfer payments that Apple makes to the US to pay for R&D; 5) the Commissioner’s decision to impose a retroactive tax penalty on a foreign company that acted in accordance with the tax arrangements granted by its host country.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case is designed to encourage students to think about the role of tax policy from the perspective of the company. With the rise of global companies such as Apple whose products are sold all over the world, the question of where they should be taxed becomes a particularly controversial issue. Students will be asked to reflect on tax policy around the following five points: 1) as a national competitive advantage in attracting FDI; 2) on shrewd corporate accounting that renders taxable income to nearly zero sums; 3) on powerful tax disincentives for the repatriation of earnings approaching two trillion dollars to the United States, 4) the political rational behind the current corporate tax principle that states taxes for innovative companies like Apple should be paid in the source country where R&D is carried out; 5) and that supranational entities such as the European Commission should take preventive measures and not corrective punitive measures in dealing with foreign countries who have created thousands of jobs in a particularly vulnerable host country such as Ireland.

Keywords:
Margrethe Vestager, Public Finance, Corporate Tax, Repatriation of Earnings, State Aid, Tax Haven, Ccctb, Apple, European Commission for Competition, Transfer Payments, Enda Kenny, Tax Minimization, United States, International Taxation

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published: 15 Dec 2016

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
This two-part case collection presents the profiles of 39 family-run firms that are 'Hénokiens', a French association whose members have survived for more than two centuries. The oldest member, a hostel in Japan named Hoshi Ryokan, has been in business for 1,300 years over 46 generations. The family business narrative is based on five analytical pillars: family assets, roadblocks, succession planning, professionalization and innovation. Instructors can take a single profile of a member firm and use it to illustrate one or more of the five themes. The cases highlight the key people and events that have marked economic history over the centuries, making for a fascinating read as well as offering an alternative business model of leadership and longevity.

Pedagogical Objectives:
i) To evaluate the role of such families in building multi-generational businesses. ii) To understand the assets that such families contribute to their firms, the various obstacles faced over the centuries and different ways that they have overcome them. iii) To learn about family succession and the dangers and opportunities presented by an ever-growing number of family members. iv) Why family firms bring in professionals to run them. v) The role of innovative leaders and entrepreneurs in family businesses.

Keywords:
Hénokiens, Family Business, Family Assets, Family Roadblocks, Family Succession, Family Innovation, Multigeneration, Next Generation, Strategy and General Management

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published: 15 Dec 2016

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations
  • Industry: Fashion
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
WGSN is the world’s largest fashion trend forecasting agency, supplying services to 95% of the Fortune 500 fashion brands. The case examines the global strategy of WGSN, which strives to enrich its robust online platform while adding more physical presence in the markets where it is growing, particularly in North America and Asia. The case examines the role of style in fashion by focusing of the content it provides to fashion designers, buyers, merchandizers and executives. The flagship market for WGSN, the fashion industry, is divided into 14 product categories each of which require a high level of expertise on the part of the firm’s trend analysts. WGSN covers all aspects of the fashion calendar from the collections to the catwalks, from ads to in-store displays. Clients use WGSN’s curated platform to design, buy and price products in line with market trends. The case also examines a gap in WGSN’s global presence, the French market, where local competitors defend their market share with a combination of trend books and online data. A pure player like WGSN faces strong headwinds in this key location.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case is designed to encourage students to think about the role of style in fashion. Trend forecasting agencies play an increasingly important role for global apparel companies like Inditex (Zara), Nike, Under Armour and many more. Students will examine the users of trend forecasting agencies, including fashion designers, buyer and merchandisers. Creative directors also rely on trend forecasting agencies to shape their strategic choices. With the arrival of big data and quantitative approaches that can better predict trends in the fast-fashion industry, students interested in fashion will find the case a refreshing look at an industry that has grown very quickly.

Keywords:
Wgsn, Trend Books, Trend Forecasting, Fashion House, Catwalks, Collections, Fashion Buyers, Style, Peclers Paris, Lifestyles, Fashion Agencies, Nellyrodi, Fashion Designers, Merchandiser

published: 22 Jul 2016

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Abstract:
The case investigates the role of creative directors in the luxury fashion industry. When in October 2015 Raf Simons quit Christian Dior, industry observers wondered why anyone would voluntarily walk away from such an esteemed fashion house, and who would replace him. Beneath the glamorous veneer, the luxury and fashion industry puts tremendous stress on creative directors. Some crack up (John Galliano), other commit suicide (Alexander McQueen), and many launch proprietary labels.

Pedagogical Objectives:
After reading and analysing the case, students will be able to (i) evaluate the role played by creative directors in a luxury fashion house; (ii) understand the economics of the business and how haute couture drives profitability down and across associated business lines such as ready-to-wear and accessories; (iii) learn about the growing influence of fast fashion and e-commerce on the fashion calendar that creative directors are expected to live

Keywords:
Raf Simons, John Galliano, Bernard Arnault, Alexander Mcqueen, Christian Dior, Haute Couture, Creative Director, Luxury Fashion

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published: 22 Jul 2016

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Industry: Plastics, Construction and Leather
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
The case charts the history of MöllerGroup, a longstanding family business in Germany, which designs, manufactures and markets components for the global automotive industry and construction parts for industrial applications. It makes functional parts for mechanical engineering, automotive technology and other sectors. The company sells moldings made of soft plastics, thermoplastics and elastomers; shock absorbers and damper elements; and lumbar support systems for truck seats and office chairs, to customers in Europe, North America and Asia.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case highlights the important role played by family businesses. In 2003, after 40 years as CEO, Peter von Möller, the majority shareholder (other family members being minority shareholders) asked Dr Axel Müller, the non-family CFE, to head the company, ending a 273-year tradition of family at the executive helm.

Keywords:
Henokiens, Peter Von Möller, Möllergroup, Möllertech, Kupferhammer, Felix Von Möller, Otto Sauer, Johannes Rudnitzki, Corporate Governance, Corporate Governance for Family Firms, Wicfe, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Succession, Next Generation

published: 24 Jun 2016

  • Topic: Marketing
  • Industry: Industry: Oil & Gas
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
The case highlights the role of innovation in the conservative oil and gas industry. A team of Italian engineers in the turbomachinery solutions unit in GE Oil & Gas division, based in Florence, build a centrifugal compressor that is half the weight and a third of the size of a traditional compressor. However, getting the industry to accept the innovation is not going to be easy since most customers will only buy compressors that have been tried and tested.

Pedagogical Objectives:
After reading and analysing the case, students should understand the barriers to innovation, how to overcome them, and why the customer should be involved in the R&D process from the very start of the process that leads to the commercialization of innovative products. The case offers a look at innovation diffusion from the inside.

Keywords:
Ge, Oil & Gas, Centrifugal Compressor, High Pressure Ratio Compressor, Nuovo Pignone, Turbomachinery, Lng, Natural Gas

published: 27 May 2016

  • Topic: Economics & Finance
  • Industry: Media: print and online
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, had been a source of wealth, pride and prestige for the Bancroft family for much of the 20th century. From 1928 to 2007, the family lived off company dividends and left the day-to-day management of the publishing business to senior journalists who had worked their way up through the ranks of the WSJ. But in 2007, when Rupert Murdoch – whose global media empire dwarfed that of the Bancrofts – offered to buy Dow Jones at a generous premium, the family was split down the middle. To sell or not to sell? The case explores the events that led up to the dynasty’s exit and the grandiose entrance of an Australian-American media mogul onto the US media scene.

Keywords:
Dow Jones, Media Acquisition, Wall Street Journal, Class B Shares, Rupert Murdoch, Bancroft, Family Business, Dual Shareholding

published: 24 Mar 2016

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Industry: Sale of food, beverages and tobacco via stalls and markets
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
The case highlights the infighting within a Thai family who own and operate a fresh-food market stall business in Bangkok. The case explores the depths to which the Thammawattana dynasty sank in order to keep control of a profitable cash-in-hand business that had made the matriarch, Suwapee Thammawattana, a billionaire by the time of her death at age 65.

Pedagogical Objectives:
After reading and analysing the case, students will be able to evaluate the importance for family businesses of having a long-term succession plan. Against the bloodstained backdrop of a family business in Thailand, students will learn about the challenges of succession in an emerging country. The case enables them to discuss the importance of cohesion among the members of a family business.

Keywords:
Thailand, Family Business, Thammawattana, Ying Charoen, Market Stalls, Linacre, Porntip, King Bhumibol, Corporate Governance, Corporate Governance for Family Firms, Wicfe, Succession, Next Generation, Fair Process, Communication, Psychology, Gender, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Women in Family Business, Gender

published: 25 Jan 2016

  • Topic: Economics & Finance
  • Industry: Automobile
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
In 2008-09, Toyota Motor Corp. became engulfed in a perfect storm: oil prices spiked, the global financial crisis brought car loans to a halt, the dollar tanked against the yen, and millions of Toyota vehicles in North America were recalled. Toyota posted its first ever loss since 1950. The case describes how Akio Toyoda, scion of the dynasty behind the Toyota empire, ascended to the top job in 2009, and turned the struggling carmaker around. It also tells the story of the Toyoda family, whose 8% ownership stake has enabled it to maintain control of one of the world’s most successful companies and steer it through one of the most difficult periods in its history.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case highlights the role of a powerful Japanese dynasty in managing a global multinational company for nearly 80 years, in particular how the heir single-handedly restored the company values and legacy at a crucial moment in its history. It offers an opportunity to discuss the role of professional managers who are vital for the sustainability of family-run enterprises. The case encourages students to view global companies such as Ford, Fiat and VW as more than industrial giants but as family-run businesses, each with a different approach to management.

Keywords:
Toyota Motor, Family Business, Akio Toyoda, Salaryman, Automobile Industry, Saylor Family, Japanese Carmaker, Recall Crisis, Corporate Governance, Value Creation, Strategy and Implementation, Wicfe,

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