29 Mar 2012

Harvard Business School Faculty Members Win Big in Case-Writing Competition

Christopher Bartlett
John Deighton
Hanna Halaburda

BOSTON—Three members of the Harvard Business School faculty have won awards in the 2012 European Case Clearing House (ECCH) Case Awards Competition. First presented in 1991, these annual awards aim to recognize worldwide excellence in case writing and raise the profile of the case method of learning.

This year's HBS winners are Prof. Emeritus Christopher Bartlett for "United Cereal: Lora Brill's Eurobrand Challenge" (coauthored with Carole Carlson), which won in the Economics, Politics and Business Environment category; Prof. John Deighton for "Dove: Evolution of a Brand," which was recognized in the Marketing category; and Asst. Professor Hanna Halaburda for "One Game to Rule Them All: Lord of the Rings Online and the MMO Market" (co-written with Ivan Nausieda, Robert McKeon, and Willam Collis) in the Hot Topic competition, which this year focused on social media and change.

Bartlett's case, set within the European organization of a giant multinational breakfast foods company, describes a launch decision for a new cereal product. Should it become the company's first Eurobrand and be introduced in a coordinated manner Europewide? And should Eurobrand teams be created to implement the proposed Eurobrand concept?

Deighton examines the evolution of Dove from a functional brand to one with a point of view after Unilever expanded Dove's portfolio of products to cover entries into a number of sectors beyond the original bath soap category. Taking a fresh look at the clichés and conventions of the beauty industry, the company launched the "Real Beauty" campaign, where it learned to use the internet, and particularly social network media like YouTube, to manage controversy.

In "The Lord of the Rings Online," a company is releasing a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game based on the popular book and film trilogy. The firm's CEO needs to consider market conditions and game characteristics to determine which consumers to target – hardcore gamers or casual ones – and form the optimal pricing scheme. The case asks students to explore the nature of the competition in the MMO market and define the characteristics of a successful business model.

The largest single source of management case studies in the world, ecch, based both in Europe and the United States, is dedicated to supporting authors and users of case studies and promoting the case method of learning, first applied to management education more than 90 years ago at Harvard Business School.

All cases registered with ecch during the past five years are put forward for consideration. The winning case in each category is the one that has achieved the highest growth in popularity worldwide, based on sales to individual organizations during the last calendar year.

Harvard Business School also fared well in the 2011 Competition, where Prof. David Yoffie and Renee Kim won the overall award for "Apple Inc. in 2010," which looks at the company in the iPod, iPhone, and iPad era.

Other 2011 winners were Prof. Bartlett for "Philips versus Matsushita: The Competitive Battle Continues," which describes the development of the global strategies and organizations of two major competitors in the consumer electronics industry (Economics, Politics and Business Environment category); Assoc. Prof. Mikolaj Jan Piskorski and Prof. Thomas Eisenmann for "Facebook," (co-written with David Chen and Brian Feinstein) (Entrepreneurship category), which challenges students to find further monetization opportunities while dealing with competitors' challenges; and Asst. Prof. Benjamin Edelman and Prof. Eisenmann for Google Inc. (Strategy and General Management category), which describes the company's history, business model, governance structure, corporate culture, and processes for managing innovation. After reviewing Google's recent strategic initiatives and the threats they pose to Yahoo!, Microsoft, and others, the case asks students to plan the company's next steps.


Jim Aisner

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching, to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.