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Case Studies by Jean Wee

25 case studies

by Publication Date
published: 29 Oct 2018

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Abstract:
For over 60 years, Bluebell, a major actor in the luxury B2B ecosystem, has been helping Western luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Davidoff, Moschino, Manolo Blahnik or Jimmy Choo enter key Asian markets. However, the luxury industry is experiencing digital disruption and increased competition fuelled by the rise of online e-commerce and international travel, along with increasingly connected consumers. While Bluebell’s role as a link between the brand and the local consumer is still vital, it needs to alter its business model to remain in the game. Its adaptability has been the reason for its success so far, but to add value in the future it needs to evolve from a predominantly transactional role centred around distribution to one with greater connectedness, integrating new channels such as social commerce, and anticipating evolving customer tastes.
Please visit the dedicated case website to access supplementary material.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case discusses the transformation of B2B intermediaries operating in the luxury, fashion and premium goods industry in response to novel challenges brought by digital gamechangers that have enabled brands to directly reach end-consumers (cutting out the middleman), put power in the consumer’s hands, reduce prices, and increase the number of brands while shortening their lifespan. In a sector characterized by (a) an increasing reliance on digital tools – both as ways to talk about and buy luxury products, and (b) emerging marketplaces (more brands, more tiers, more status products), the case articulates the threats and opportunities associated with these game-changers and the issues Bluebell must address to deliver long-term value to its partners, notably: • How digital disruption challenges B2B ecosystems and traditional business models • How incumbent B2B players respond to and integrate digital game-changers and re-legitimise themselves by redefining where and how they add value • How digital channels redefine the role of curator and require stakeholders to acquire new skills and develop digital capabilities • How to design a digital transformation (where to start and how to prioritize) • The role of digital disruption in shifting the dynamics between brands, retailers and consumers in B2C markets • The evolving role of B2B players between brands and consumers in luxury markets • How luxury brands implement successful strategies to attract the Asian consumer (today and tomorrow)

Keywords:
Luxury, Digital Disruption, Social Media, S-Commerce, Omni-Channel, Marketing, Distributor, Digital Transformation, Brands

published: 30 Jul 2018

  • Topic: Economics & Finance
  • Industry: Natural Gas Transmission
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
In April 2010, infrastructure fund Njord Gas Infrastructure AS bought ExxonMobil’s 9.428% stake in Norwegian gas pipelines Gassled. Njord was interested in Gassled’s steady returns and Norway’s regulatory/political consistency and transparency. Once built, pipelines were seen as a relatively safe investment as tariffs to transport natural gas were usually fixed for many years (whether prices rose or fell) and bookings were made years in advance. Others followed Njord’s lead in 2011 and 2012 to buy into Gassled – four infrastructure funds owned 44% of Gassled after the acquisitions. It came as a shock when a year after the transactions went through, the Norwegian government decided that returns were too high and decided to cut the tariffs charged by Gassled to transport gas by 90%.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case highlights the risks in long-lived assets like infrastructure assets, and the rising political risks even in supposedly stable environments (Western Europe) as governments face rising budget deficits, high energy prices and rising demand, which can lead to regulatory intervention. Political risk has always been associated with emerging markets where the rule of law is less stringently enforced. The case serves to point out that such assumptions will need to be scrutinised in the future and risk-weighted in asset valuations. It underscores the importance of due diligence in today’s increasingly fraught environment. Focusing on the valuation of infrastructure assets, it illustrates how changes in assumptions (e.g. tariffs) affect valuation.

Keywords:
Pipelines, Natural Gas, Infrastructure, Political Risk, Norway, Tariff, Infrastructure Fund

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Abstract:
The case focuses on AccorHotels’ ambitious digital transformation, aiming to put the customer back at the center of its strategy and operations. Responding to a powerful wave of digital disruptions in the hospitality ecosystem, from the emergence of review websites, online travel agents and active forums to the rise of new competitors such as Airbnb, the transformation entailed: (1) designing and implementing an innovative content marketing strategy (including online content creation or co-creation, curation and dissemination) (2) incorporating e-reputation as a core business objective, and (3) creating and/or adapting organizational structures – from management to operations – to support this new dynamic and maximize value creation. The case starts in Fall 2015, when Olivier Arnoux, SVP Customer Satisfaction at AccorHotels, and his team, are asked to devise an ambitious plan to address the new challenges facing major players in the hotel industry brought about by digital disruptions. It follows the decision-making process step by step, from (1) understanding the nature and impact of online content in the customer journey, to (2) building a strategic plan to integrate online insights into AccorHotels’ core business objectives (in particular the importance of e-reputation), (3) redefining where and how value is created, and creating incentive structures aligned with the new objectives. Participants have multiple opportunities to put themselves in the shoes of the protagonists so as to understand the logic behind the decisions taken. What is novel is the systematic articulation of how digital and social media impact the customer journey, as well as the integration of online content into marketing strategy (i.e., content marketing) and organizational design (i.e., team structure, incentive system), underlining how embracing the digital revolution entails breaking traditional silos between functions such as marketing, strategy, finance and human resources. Detailed information on the consumer, the ecosystem, the firm, marketing and financial indicators is provided. Teaching notes and accompanying PowerPoint presentations suggest appropriate classroom exercises and include supplemental material and databases for group exercises. Videos provide insight on what drove the digital transformation and vividly illustrate its implementation and initial impressive results. They include interviews with Emilie Couton (Vice President Digital Marketing Asia Pacific), a video-recorded session of Olivier Arnoux on the digital transformation at AccorHotels, as well as examples of content created or co-created by AccorHotels. Please visit the dedicated case website to access supplementary material.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case offers a forum to discuss what it means for a company to engage its digital transformation in order to foster customer-centricity. A discussion of the nature and role of online content in shifting consumer behavior in the hoteling industry serves as a basis to explore how companies can create value at different points of the customer journey and what these steps entail. The case also touches on a variety of important strategic, organizational and operational decisions that the company must undertake to fully leverage online content and can be used to address the following broad questions (Specific questions are available in the teaching note): 1) How does online content stemming from digital and social media create value in the hoteling industry? 2) How can a company actively manage online content and implement a content strategy? and 3) What aspects of its organizational design a company need to remodel in order to maximize value creation through digital and social media.

Keywords:
Digital Transformation, Content Marketing, Customer Centricity, Hoteling & Tourism, Social Media Marketing, Customer Journey, Consumer Experiences, Digital Disruptions E-Reputation, Reputation Management, Accorhotels Booking Airbnb, Tripadvisor, Online Reviews, Social Media Listening, Digital Organizational Integration, Corporate Governance, Value Creation, Strategy and Implementation

Related:

published: 29 Jan 2018

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Financial Transactions Processing, Reserve and Clearing House Activities
  • Region: Middle-East

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Abstract:
In 2010, ACTIS embarked on an ambitious project to build a pan-Middle East and Africa (MEA) payments platform. It had purchased Mediterranean Smart Cards Company (MSCC), a bankcard issuer with operations across Africa, and had identified a follow-on target, Visa Jordan Card Services (VJCS) as part of its buy-and-build strategy, and another potential acquisition in South Africa. These could enable the ACTIS platform to capture the entire value chain in the payments business in the MEA region. However, not long after the purchase of MSCC, political turmoil engulfed the Arab world, prompting the ACTIS investment committee in London to question the viability of creating a payments platform in MEA.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case discusses the complexity and risks of investing in emerging markets, specifically “frontier markets”, which have the highest growth potential but involve the most uncertainty and risks. It enables students to understand the challenge of a goal-based investment thesis such as a buy-and-build within the context of emerging markets (i.e. Africa and the Middle East) and the options for mitigating risks.

Keywords:
Middle East, Payments Platform, Payments Processing, Roll Up, Buy and Build, Private Equity

published: 15 Dec 2017

  • Topic: Entrepreneurship
  • Industry: Local and Suburban Passenger Transportation
  • Region: Middle-East

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Abstract:
Careem, a Dubai-based ride-hailing company, was founded in 2012 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by two ex-McKinsey consultants who saw a gap in the transport market. Started as a web-based car booking service for corporate clients, Careem had evolved into a leading application-based booking service in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with a differentiated business model tailored to the tastes and preferences of Middle Eastern consumers. Fuelled by venture capital funding rounds in September 2013 and December 2014, Careem was again on the fundraising trail in 2015 for a Series C investment round to further scale its existing business and continue its roll-out across MENA. The Abraaj Group, a leading emerging markets private equity investor, was interested, but with Uber competing fiercely in the MENA region, it had to decide whether Careem could compete with its well-funded global competitor.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case helps students understand: • The evolution of a successful start-up, from concept to funding to scaling. • The challenges faced by operators of early-stage companies and the key questions and metrics considered by investors in early-stage companies. • The convergence of traditional venture capital and private equity roles in the late-stage venture capital market. • How private equity investors add value to their portfolio companies and differentiate themselves in the market. • How global business models in the “new economy” can be modified and refined to suit consumer preferences and provide a competitive advantage in emerging markets.

Keywords:
Ride-Hailing, Mena, Smart Devices, Digital Disruption, Smart Apps, Uber, Start-Up, Private Equity

published: 28 Aug 2017

  • Topic: Entrepreneurship
  • Industry: Private Equity
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
In May 2012, private equity firm KKR is considering the buyout of WMF group (WMF), a diversified kitchenware and professional coffee machine manufacturer headquartered in Geislingen, Germany. The deal seems a potentially compelling investment opportunity, with various options for value creation – expanding WMF’s well-established brand to other geographies as well as reducing costs. Priorities must be set, however, to generate an attractive return by the end of the investment period. The deal team has to decide which business segments are worth putting more resources into and which to divest, which brands should be kept and which to trim off, and how to take up any operational slack without affecting the overall strategy.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case emphasizes private equity firms’ focus on operational value creation in a large buyout, in particular the process of analysing the potential for returns by improving operations in the target company. This differs from classic studies on takeovers based purely on financial metrics. Presenting a concrete example of the potential for PE to improve the competitive positioning, operations and culture of a portfolio company, the case provides an inside view of the way deal teams evaluate potential acquisitions. It also shows the challenges posed by the target company’s capital structure that must be addressed, and how this affects the potential for value creation.

Keywords:
Private Equity, Buyout, Lbo, Operational Value Creation, Retail, E-Commerce, Growth Strategy, Europe, Germany

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Abstract:
The case focuses on AccorHotels’ ambitious digital transformation, aiming to put the customer back at the center of its strategy and operations. Responding to a powerful wave of digital disruptions in the hospitality ecosystem, from the emergence of review websites, online travel agents and active forums to the rise of new competitors such as Airbnb, the transformation entailed: (1) designing and implementing an innovative content marketing strategy (including online content creation or co-creation, curation and dissemination) (2) incorporating e-reputation as a core business objective, and (3) creating and/or adapting organizational structures – from management to operations – to support this new dynamic and maximize value creation. The case starts in Fall 2015, when Olivier Arnoux, SVP Customer Satisfaction at AccorHotels, and his team, are asked to devise an ambitious plan to address the new challenges facing major players in the hotel industry brought about by digital disruptions. It follows the decision-making process step by step, from (1) understanding the nature and impact of online content in the customer journey, to (2) building a strategic plan to integrate online insights into AccorHotels’ core business objectives (in particular the importance of e-reputation), (3) redefining where and how value is created, and creating incentive structures aligned with the new objectives. Participants have multiple opportunities to put themselves in the shoes of the protagonists so as to understand the logic behind the decisions taken. What is novel is the systematic articulation of how digital and social media impact the customer journey, as well as the integration of online content into marketing strategy (i.e., content marketing) and organizational design (i.e., team structure, incentive system), underlining how embracing the digital revolution entails breaking traditional silos between functions such as marketing, strategy, finance and human resources. Detailed information on the consumer, the ecosystem, the firm, marketing and financial indicators is provided. Teaching notes and accompanying PowerPoint presentations suggest appropriate classroom exercises and include supplemental material and databases for group exercises. Videos provide insight on what drove the digital transformation and vividly illustrate its implementation and initial impressive results. They include interviews with Emilie Couton (Vice President Digital Marketing Asia Pacific), a video-recorded session of Olivier Arnoux on the digital transformation at AccorHotels, as well as examples of content created or co-created by AccorHotels.
Please visit the dedicated case website to access supplementary material.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case offers a forum to discuss what it means for a company to engage its digital transformation in order to foster customer-centricity. A discussion of the nature and role of online content in shifting consumer behavior in the hoteling industry serves as a basis to explore how companies can create value at different points of the customer journey and what these steps entail. The case also touches on a variety of important strategic, organizational and operational decisions that the company must undertake to fully leverage online content and can be used to address the following broad questions (Specific questions are available in the teaching note): 1) How does online content stemming from digital and social media create value in the hoteling industry? 2) How can a company actively manage online content and implement a content strategy? and 3) What aspects of its organizational design a company need to remodel in order to maximize value creation through digital and social media. Read a related Knowledge article "Lessons in Digital Transformation from the Hotel Industry" by David Dubois.

Keywords:
Digital Transformation, Content Marketing, Customer Centricity, Hoteling & Tourism, Social Media Marketing, Customer Journey, Consumer Experiences, Digital Disruptions E-Reputation, Reputation Management, Accorhotels Booking Airbnb, Tripadvisor, Online Reviews, Social Media Listening, Digital Organizational Integration, Corporate Governance, Value Creation, Strategy and Implementation

Related:

published: 26 Aug 2016

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Abstract:
Read a related Knowledge article "Lessons in Digital Transformation from the Hotel Industry" by David Dubois.

The case focuses on AccorHotels’ ambitious digital transformation, aiming to put the customer back at the center of its strategy and operations. Responding to a powerful wave of digital disruptions in the hospitality ecosystem, from the emergence of review websites, online travel agents and active forums to the rise of new competitors such as Airbnb, the transformation entailed: (1) designing and implementing an innovative content marketing strategy (including online content creation or co-creation, curation and dissemination) (2) incorporating e-reputation as a core business objective, and (3) creating and/or adapting organizational structures – from management to operations – to support this new dynamic and maximize value creation.
The case starts in Fall 2015, when Olivier Arnoux, SVP Customer Satisfaction at AccorHotels, and his team, are asked to devise an ambitious plan to address the new challenges facing major players in the hotel industry brought about by digital disruptions. It follows the decision-making process step by step, from (1) understanding the nature and impact of online content in the customer journey, to (2) building a strategic plan to integrate online insights into AccorHotels’ core business objectives (in particular the importance of e-reputation), (3) redefining where and how value is created, and creating incentive structures aligned with the new objectives. Participants have multiple opportunities to put themselves in the shoes of the protagonists so as to understand the logic behind the decisions taken.
What is novel is the systematic articulation of how digital and social media impact the customer journey, as well as the integration of online content into marketing strategy (i.e., content marketing) and organizational design (i.e., team structure, incentive system), underlining how embracing the digital revolution entails breaking traditional silos between functions such as marketing, strategy, finance and human resources.
Detailed information on the consumer, the ecosystem, the firm, marketing and financial indicators is provided. Teaching notes and accompanying PowerPoint presentations suggest appropriate classroom exercises and include supplemental material and databases for group exercises. Videos provide insight on what drove the digital transformation and vividly illustrate its implementation and initial impressive results. They include interviews with Emilie Couton (Vice President Digital Marketing Asia Pacific), a video-recorded session of Olivier Arnoux on the digital transformation at AccorHotels, as well as examples of content created or co-created by AccorHotels.
Please visit the dedicated case website to access supplementary material.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case offers a forum to discuss what it means for a company to engage its digital transformation in order to foster customer-centricity. A discussion of the nature and role of online content in shifting consumer behavior in the hoteling industry serves as a basis to explore how companies can create value at different points of the customer journey and what these steps entail. The case also touches on a variety of important strategic, organizational and operational decisions that the company must undertake to fully leverage online content and can be used to address the following broad questions (Specific questions are available in the teaching note): 1) How does online content stemming from digital and social media create value in the hoteling industry? 2) How can a company actively manage online content and implement a content strategy? and 3) What aspects of its organizational design a company need to remodel in order to maximize value creation through digital and social media.

Keywords:
Digital Transformation, Content Marketing, Customer Centricity, Hoteling & Tourism, Social Media Marketing, Customer Journey, Consumer Experiences, Digital Disruptions e-Reputation, Reputation Management, Accorhotels Booking Airbnb, Tripadvisor, Online Reviews, Social Media Listening, Digital Organizational Integration, Corporate Governance, Value Creation, Strategy and Implementation

Prizes won:
- 2018 Case Awards Winner, Marketing Category, Case Centre
- 2017 Case Centre Best-selling Case in Marketing
- 2017 AFM-CCMP Award for the Best case study in Marketing, Finalist

Related:

published: 27 May 2016

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

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Abstract:
In September 2014, the Indiana Toll Road (ITR) in the US Mid-west, privatized as a 75-year concession at an impressive price of US$3.8 billion only nine years earlier, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy , having chalked up US$6.3 billion of debt. In the subsequent sell-off the ITR managed to attract an even bigger bid than before - of US$5.72 billion.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The valuation of infrastructure assets; determining the right discount rate; pros and cons of public-private partnerships; the "winner's curse".

Keywords:
Toll Road, Infrastructure, Public-Private Partnership (ppp), Project Finance, Privatization, Step-Up Swap, Inner's Curse, Corporate Governance, Auditing, Risk Control and Performance

Related:

published: 24 Mar 2016

  • Topic: Operations
  • Industry: Conglomerate
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
The case describes the problem faced by Jebsen & Jessen, South East Asia (J&J SEA), when a long-time supplier from Europe decides to take back the distribution rights for the region and distribute their products directly to their customers. J&J therefore needs to look for other suppliers of forklift trucks. It can either revert to potential European clients or move with the times and leverage on cheaper Chinese suppliers coming into the market.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The objective of the case is to help students understand the challenges of a distribution business, particularly in a diverse market like ASEAN, and the lessons learnt about picking the right type of supplier to represent. The case highlights the uneasy balance of having a well-known name to represent that is easier to sell to end-customers, and the lower bargaining power that the distributor has. It points out how an enterprising company can move up the value chain from doing purely distribution alone, to manufacturing and engineering. It also shows how it is possible to turn a problem – like the entry of cheaper Chinese competitors – into an advantage.

Keywords:
Distribution, Family Enterprise, Asean, China, Operations, Material Handling

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