New Research on the Region

  • May 2024
  • Case

LinkedIn Corporation, 2024

By: David B. Yoffie, George Gonzalez and Emily Grandjean

"By 2024, the LinkedIn profile was well established as the professional identity of record on the Internet. Following a multi-year effort to expand the platform’s user base, as well as a period of rapid growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, LinkedIn’s membership had ballooned to over 1 billion. The platform was widely used in the U.S. and Europe; its network and tools were often considered essential to recruiters across many industries; and it was one of the world’s largest B2B advertising platforms. LinkedIn's CEO Ryan Roslansky and his team were confident that they could accelerate the company’s momentum, despite a recent slowdown in the company's revenue growth. LinkedIn’s mission of “connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful,” seemed more relevant than ever. A key question that was top of mind for senior executives was how to measure performance to deliver the mission. The team intensely debated which metrics were best to measure progress against their strategy."

  • May–June 2024
  • Article
  • Harvard Business Review

What Makes a Successful Celebrity Brand?

Celebrities have shifted from endorsing established brands to being influencers for established brands to drawing on their influence to create brands themselves. The authors examine what it takes to make celebrity brands work.

  • March 2024 (Revised April 2024)
  • Case

Angel City Football Club: Scoring a New Model

By: Jeffrey F. Rayport, Jennifer Fonstad and Nicole Tempest Keller

In January 2024, Kara Nortman, Julie Uhrman, and Natalie Portman, the founders of Angel City Football Club (ACFC) were developing the club’s first three-year strategic plan. Founded in 2020, ACFC had a star-studded investor group, including Portman and celebrities such as Eva Longoria, Jennifer Garner, Billie Jean King, and 13 former players from the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT).  As outsiders to professional sports, the all-female founding team had rewritten the playbook for how to build a sports franchise by applying lessons from the tech and entertainment industries. They had harnessed digital platforms to establish and cultivate a global brand. Unlike typical sports franchises that built their teams and track records over many years before extending their brand beyond a local base, Angel City had inverted the model, generating as much global as local interest in the club within the first three years. ACFC’s success was reflected in its estimated private market valuation of $180 million, the highest in the league. But perhaps equally important to ACFC, the club had made a positive impact on its local community and had started to bend the curve toward greater pay equity in women’s sports—the club’s ultimate goal. The founders knew there was much more to do to capitalize on the club’s momentum. There were opportunities to build the brand further globally and to build out fan engagement and membership in the mobile app, but these would require investments in digital content and production, CRM systems, and e-commerce. There were also opportunities to build the “on-field product” (team and facilities) that would demand budget allocation to training facilities, the field, coaching staff, and medical rehabilitation facilities and staff. The founders weighed the most effective ways to build value for the franchise. Was it better to allocate the incremental budget dollar to investments in digital brand building or to investments in the on-field product? 

  • February 2024
  • Case

FIGS: Scrubbing the Status Quo

By: Jeffrey F. Rayport and Nicole Tempest Keller

In October 2023, FIGS had revolutionized the medical scrubs industry with its fashionable and functional designs, but the venture was at a critical juncture. The digitally native vertical brand (DNVB) had gone public in a successful IPO in 2021 and reached $500 million in revenue in 2022. Investors had dubbed FIGS the “Lululemon of healthcare apparel.” However, by 2023, FIGS was facing slowing growth, significant margin pressure, and a radical share price decline, exacerbated by macroeconomic headwinds and increasing competition. In response, CEO Catherine “Trina” Spear, who was also a co-founder, was contemplating three strategic growth initiatives to bolster FIGS’ competitive position: expanding international presence, targeting healthcare institutions (a move into B2B), and establishing retail stores. Each avenue of growth held potential. International was a large market opportunity, B2B could unlock a stable new revenue stream, and retail stores offered brand visibility and synergy with the online experience. Spear had to decide whether FIGS’s small team should pursue one or more of these opportunities, and, if so, whether to pursue them concurrently or with a phased approach.

  • December 2023 (Revised February 2024)
  • Case

Generative AI and the Future of Work

By: Christopher Stanton and Matt Higgins

Generative AI seemed poised to reshape the world of work, including the higher-wage, white-collar jobs typically pursued by MBA graduates. Informed by the latest research, this case explores generative AI's potential impacts on work, productivity, value creation, and the labor market.

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California Research Center Team

Allison Ciechanover
Executive Director
George Gonzalez
Senior Researcher
Matt Higgins
Senior Researcher
Jeffrey Huizinga
Assistant Director
Nicole Keller
Assistant Director
Don Maruyama
Research Associate