7 Favorite Business Case Studies to Teach—and Why

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FEATURED CASE STUDIES

The Army Crew Team . Emily Michelle David of CEIBS

ATH Technologies . Devin Shanthikumar of Paul Merage School of Business

Fabritek 1992 . Rob Austin of Ivey Business School

Lincoln Electric Co . Karin Schnarr of Wilfrid Laurier University

Pal’s Sudden Service—Scaling an Organizational Model to Drive Growth . Gary Pisano of Harvard Business School

The United States Air Force: ‘Chaos’ in the 99th Reconnaissance Squadron . Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School

Warren E. Buffett, 2015 . Robert F. Bruner of Darden School of Business

To dig into what makes a compelling case study, we asked seven experienced educators who teach with—and many who write—business case studies: “What is your favorite case to teach and why?”

The resulting list of case study favorites ranges in topics from operations management and organizational structure to rebel leaders and whodunnit dramas.

1. The Army Crew Team

Emily Michelle David, Assistant Professor of Management, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)

case studies of famous companies

“I love teaching  The Army Crew Team  case because it beautifully demonstrates how a team can be so much less than the sum of its parts.

I deliver the case to executives in a nearby state-of-the-art rowing facility that features rowing machines, professional coaches, and shiny red eight-person shells.

After going through the case, they hear testimonies from former members of Chinese national crew teams before carrying their own boat to the river for a test race.

The rich learning environment helps to vividly underscore one of the case’s core messages: competition can be a double-edged sword if not properly managed.

case studies of famous companies

Executives in Emily Michelle David’s organizational behavior class participate in rowing activities at a nearby facility as part of her case delivery.

Despite working for an elite headhunting firm, the executives in my most recent class were surprised to realize how much they’ve allowed their own team-building responsibilities to lapse. In the MBA pre-course, this case often leads to a rich discussion about common traps that newcomers fall into (for example, trying to do too much, too soon), which helps to poise them to both stand out in the MBA as well as prepare them for the lateral team building they will soon engage in.

Finally, I love that the post-script always gets a good laugh and serves as an early lesson that organizational behavior courses will seldom give you foolproof solutions for specific problems but will, instead, arm you with the ability to think through issues more critically.”

2. ATH Technologies

Devin Shanthikumar, Associate Professor of Accounting, Paul Merage School of Business

case studies of famous companies

“As a professor at UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business, and before that at Harvard Business School, I have probably taught over 100 cases. I would like to say that my favorite case is my own,   Compass Box Whisky Company . But as fun as that case is, one case beats it:  ATH Technologies  by Robert Simons and Jennifer Packard.

ATH presents a young entrepreneurial company that is bought by a much larger company. As part of the merger, ATH gets an ‘earn-out’ deal—common among high-tech industries. The company, and the class, must decide what to do to achieve the stretch earn-out goals.

ATH captures a scenario we all want to be in at some point in our careers—being part of a young, exciting, growing organization. And a scenario we all will likely face—having stretch goals that seem almost unreachable.

It forces us, as a class, to really struggle with what to do at each stage.

After we read and discuss the A case, we find out what happens next, and discuss the B case, then the C, then D, and even E. At every stage, we can:

see how our decisions play out,

figure out how to build on our successes, and

address our failures.

The case is exciting, the class discussion is dynamic and energetic, and in the end, we all go home with a memorable ‘ah-ha!’ moment.

I have taught many great cases over my career, but none are quite as fun, memorable, and effective as ATH .”

3. Fabritek 1992

Rob Austin, Professor of Information Systems, Ivey Business School

case studies of famous companies

“This might seem like an odd choice, but my favorite case to teach is an old operations case called  Fabritek 1992 .

The latest version of Fabritek 1992 is dated 2009, but it is my understanding that this is a rewrite of a case that is older (probably much older). There is a Fabritek 1969 in the HBP catalog—same basic case, older dates, and numbers. That 1969 version lists no authors, so I suspect the case goes even further back; the 1969 version is, I’m guessing, a rewrite of an even older version.

There are many things I appreciate about the case. Here are a few:

It operates as a learning opportunity at many levels. At first it looks like a not-very-glamorous production job scheduling case. By the end of the case discussion, though, we’re into (operations) strategy and more. It starts out technical, then explodes into much broader relevance. As I tell participants when I’m teaching HBP's Teaching with Cases seminars —where I often use Fabritek as an example—when people first encounter this case, they almost always underestimate it.

It has great characters—especially Arthur Moreno, who looks like a troublemaker, but who, discussion reveals, might just be the smartest guy in the factory. Alums of the Harvard MBA program have told me that they remember Arthur Moreno many years later.

Almost every word in the case is important. It’s only four and a half pages of text and three pages of exhibits. This economy of words and sparsity of style have always seemed like poetry to me. I should note that this super concise, every-word-matters approach is not the ideal we usually aspire to when we write cases. Often, we include extra or superfluous information because part of our teaching objective is to provide practice in separating what matters from what doesn’t in a case. Fabritek takes a different approach, though, which fits it well.

It has a dramatic structure. It unfolds like a detective story, a sort of whodunnit. Something is wrong. There is a quality problem, and we’re not sure who or what is responsible. One person, Arthur Moreno, looks very guilty (probably too obviously guilty), but as we dig into the situation, there are many more possibilities. We spend in-class time analyzing the data (there’s a bit of math, so it covers that base, too) to determine which hypotheses are best supported by the data. And, realistically, the data doesn’t support any of the hypotheses perfectly, just some of them more than others. Also, there’s a plot twist at the end (I won’t reveal it, but here’s a hint: Arthur Moreno isn’t nearly the biggest problem in the final analysis). I have had students tell me the surprising realization at the end of the discussion gives them ‘goosebumps.’

Finally, through the unexpected plot twist, it imparts what I call a ‘wisdom lesson’ to young managers: not to be too sure of themselves and to regard the experiences of others, especially experts out on the factory floor, with great seriousness.”

4. Lincoln Electric Co.

Karin Schnarr, Assistant Professor of Policy, Wilfrid Laurier University

case studies of famous companies

“As a strategy professor, my favorite case to teach is the classic 1975 Harvard case  Lincoln Electric Co.  by Norman Berg.

I use it to demonstrate to students the theory linkage between strategy and organizational structure, management processes, and leadership behavior.

This case may be an odd choice for a favorite. It occurs decades before my students were born. It is pages longer than we are told students are now willing to read. It is about manufacturing arc welding equipment in Cleveland, Ohio—a hard sell for a Canadian business classroom.

Yet, I have never come across a case that so perfectly illustrates what I want students to learn about how a company can be designed from an organizational perspective to successfully implement its strategy.

And in a time where so much focus continues to be on how to maximize shareholder value, it is refreshing to be able to discuss a publicly-traded company that is successfully pursuing a strategy that provides a fair value to shareholders while distributing value to employees through a large bonus pool, as well as value to customers by continually lowering prices.

However, to make the case resonate with today’s students, I work to make it relevant to the contemporary business environment. I link the case to multimedia clips about Lincoln Electric’s current manufacturing practices, processes, and leadership practices. My students can then see that a model that has been in place for generations is still viable and highly successful, even in our very different competitive situation.”

5. Pal’s Sudden Service—Scaling an Organizational Model to Drive Growth

Gary Pisano, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

case studies of famous companies

“My favorite case to teach these days is  Pal’s Sudden Service—Scaling an Organizational Model to Drive Growth .

I love teaching this case for three reasons:

1. It demonstrates how a company in a super-tough, highly competitive business can do very well by focusing on creating unique operating capabilities. In theory, Pal’s should have no chance against behemoths like McDonalds or Wendy’s—but it thrives because it has built a unique operating system. It’s a great example of a strategic approach to operations in action.

2. The case shows how a strategic approach to human resource and talent development at all levels really matters. This company competes in an industry not known for engaging its front-line workers. The case shows how engaging these workers can really pay off.

3. Finally, Pal’s is really unusual in its approach to growth. Most companies set growth goals (usually arbitrary ones) and then try to figure out how to ‘backfill’ the human resource and talent management gaps. They trust you can always find someone to do the job. Pal’s tackles the growth problem completely the other way around. They rigorously select and train their future managers. Only when they have a manager ready to take on their own store do they open a new one. They pace their growth off their capacity to develop talent. I find this really fascinating and so do the students I teach this case to.”

6. The United States Air Force: ‘Chaos’ in the 99th Reconnaissance Squadron

Francesca Gino, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

case studies of famous companies

“My favorite case to teach is  The United States Air Force: ‘Chaos’ in the 99th Reconnaissance Squadron .

The case surprises students because it is about a leader, known in the unit by the nickname Chaos , who inspired his squadron to be innovative and to change in a culture that is all about not rocking the boat, and where there is a deep sense that rules should simply be followed.

For years, I studied ‘rebels,’ people who do not accept the status quo; rather, they approach work with curiosity and produce positive change in their organizations. Chaos is a rebel leader who got the level of cultural change right. Many of the leaders I’ve met over the years complain about the ‘corporate culture,’ or at least point to clear weaknesses of it; but then they throw their hands up in the air and forget about changing what they can.

Chaos is different—he didn’t go after the ‘Air Force’ culture. That would be like boiling the ocean.

Instead, he focused on his unit of control and command: The 99th squadron. He focused on enabling that group to do what it needed to do within the confines of the bigger Air Force culture. In the process, he inspired everyone on his team to be the best they can be at work.

The case leaves the classroom buzzing and inspired to take action.”

7. Warren E. Buffett, 2015

Robert F. Bruner, Professor of Business Administration, Darden School of Business

case studies of famous companies

“I love teaching   Warren E. Buffett, 2015  because it energizes, exercises, and surprises students.

Buffett looms large in the business firmament and therefore attracts anyone who is eager to learn his secrets for successful investing. This generates the kind of energy that helps to break the ice among students and instructors early in a course and to lay the groundwork for good case discussion practices.

Studying Buffett’s approach to investing helps to introduce and exercise important themes that will resonate throughout a course. The case challenges students to define for themselves what it means to create value. The case discussion can easily be tailored for novices or for more advanced students.

Either way, this is not hero worship: The case affords a critical examination of the financial performance of Buffett’s firm, Berkshire Hathaway, and reveals both triumphs and stumbles. Most importantly, students can critique the purported benefits of Buffett’s conglomeration strategy and the sustainability of his investment record as the size of the firm grows very large.

By the end of the class session, students seem surprised with what they have discovered. They buzz over the paradoxes in Buffett’s philosophy and performance record. And they come away with sober respect for Buffett’s acumen and for the challenges of creating value for investors.

Surely, such sobriety is a meta-message for any mastery of finance.”

More Educator Favorites

CASE TEACHING

Emily Michelle David is an assistant professor of management at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS). Her current research focuses on discovering how to make workplaces more welcoming for people of all backgrounds and personality profiles to maximize performance and avoid employee burnout. David’s work has been published in a number of scholarly journals, and she has worked as an in-house researcher at both NASA and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

case studies of famous companies

Devin Shanthikumar  is an associate professor and the accounting area coordinator at UCI Paul Merage School of Business. She teaches undergraduate, MBA, and executive-level courses in managerial accounting. Shanthikumar previously served on the faculty at Harvard Business School, where she taught both financial accounting and managerial accounting for MBAs, and wrote cases that are used in accounting courses across the country.

case studies of famous companies

Robert D. Austin is a professor of information systems at Ivey Business School and an affiliated faculty member at Harvard Medical School. He has published widely, authoring nine books, more than 50 cases and notes, three Harvard online products, and two popular massive open online courses (MOOCs) running on the Coursera platform.

case studies of famous companies

Karin Schnarr is an assistant professor of policy and the director of the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program at the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada where she teaches strategic management at the undergraduate, graduate, and executive levels. Schnarr has published several award-winning and best-selling cases and regularly presents at international conferences on case writing and scholarship.

case studies of famous companies

Gary P. Pisano is the Harry E. Figgie, Jr. Professor of Business Administration and senior associate dean of faculty development at Harvard Business School, where he has been on the faculty since 1988. Pisano is an expert in the fields of technology and operations strategy, the management of innovation, and competitive strategy. His research and consulting experience span a range of industries including aerospace, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, specialty chemicals, health care, nutrition, computers, software, telecommunications, and semiconductors.

case studies of famous companies

Francesca Gino studies how people can have more productive, creative, and fulfilling lives. She is a professor at Harvard Business School and the author, most recently, of  Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life . Gino regularly gives keynote speeches, delivers corporate training programs, and serves in advisory roles for firms and not-for-profit organizations across the globe.

case studies of famous companies

Robert F. Bruner is a university professor at the University of Virginia, distinguished professor of business administration, and dean emeritus of the Darden School of Business. He has also held visiting appointments at Harvard and Columbia universities in the United States, at INSEAD in France, and at IESE in Spain. He is the author, co-author, or editor of more than 20 books on finance, management, and teaching. Currently, he teaches and writes in finance and management.

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case studies of famous companies

28 Case Study Examples Every Marketer Should See

Caroline Forsey

Published: March 08, 2023

Putting together a compelling case study is one of the most powerful strategies for showcasing your product and attracting future customers. But it's not easy to create case studies that your audience can’t wait to read.

marketer reviewing case study examples

In this post, we’ll go over the definition of a case study and the best examples to inspire you.

Download Now: 3 Free Case Study Templates

What is a case study?

A case study is a detailed story of something your company did. It includes a beginning — often discussing a conflict, an explanation of what happened next, and a resolution that explains how the company solved or improved on something.

A case study proves how your product has helped other companies by demonstrating real-life results. Not only that, but marketing case studies with solutions typically contain quotes from the customer. This means that they’re not just ads where you praise your own product. Rather, other companies are praising your company — and there’s no stronger marketing material than a verbal recommendation or testimonial. A great case study is also filled with research and stats to back up points made about a project's results.

There are myriad ways to use case studies in your marketing strategy . From featuring them on your website to including them in a sales presentation, a case study is a strong, persuasive tool that shows customers why they should work with you — straight from another customer. Writing one from scratch is hard, though, which is why we’ve created a collection of case study templates for you to get started.

Fill out the form below to access the free case study templates.

case studies of famous companies

Free Case Study Templates

Showcase your company's success using these three free case study templates.

  • Data-Driven Case Study Template
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There’s no better way to generate more leads than by writing case studies . But without case study examples to draw inspiration from, it can be difficult to write impactful studies that convince visitors to submit a form.

Marketing Case Study Examples

To help you create an attractive and high-converting case study, we've put together a list of some of our favorites. This list includes famous case studies in marketing, technology, and business.

These studies can show you how to frame your company offers in a way that is both meaningful and useful to your audience. So, take a look, and let these examples inspire your next brilliant case study design.

These marketing case studies with solutions show the value proposition of each product. They also show how each company benefited in both the short and long term using quantitative data. In other words, you don’t get just nice statements, like "This company helped us a lot." You see actual change within the firm through numbers and figures.

You can put your learnings into action with HubSpot's Free Case Study Templates . Available as custom designs and text-based documents, you can upload these templates to your CMS or send them to prospects as you see fit.

case study template

1. " How Handled Scaled from Zero to 121 Locations with the Help of HubSpot ," by HubSpot

Case study examples: Handled and HubSpot

What's interesting about this case study is the way it leads with the customer. That reflects a major HubSpot cornerstone, which is to always solve for the customer first. The copy leads with a brief description of why the CEO of Handled founded the company and why he thought Handled could benefit from adopting a CRM. The case study also opens up with one key data point about Handled’s success using HubSpot, namely that it grew to 121 locations.

Notice that this case study uses mixed media. Yes, there is a short video, but it's elaborated upon in the other text on the page. So while your case studies can use one or the other, don't be afraid to combine written copy with visuals to emphasize the project's success.

Key Learnings from the HubSpot Case Study Example

  • Give the case study a personal touch by focusing on the CEO rather than the company itself.
  • Use multimedia to engage website visitors as they read the case study.

2. " The Whole Package ," by IDEO

Case study examples: IDEO and H&M

Here's a design company that knows how to lead with simplicity in its case studies. As soon as the visitor arrives at the page, they’re greeted with a big, bold photo and the title of the case study — which just so happens to summarize how IDEO helped its client. It summarizes the case study in three snippets: The challenge, the impact, and the outcome.

Immediately, IDEO communicates its impact — the company partnered with H&M to remove plastic from its packaging — but it doesn't stop there. As the user scrolls down, the challenge, impact, and progress are elaborated upon with comprehensive (but not overwhelming) copy that outlines what that process looked like, replete with quotes and intriguing visuals.

Key Learnings from the IDEO Case Study Example

  • Split up the takeaways of your case studies into bite-sized sections.
  • Always use visuals and images to enrich the case study experience, especially if it’s a comprehensive case study.

3. " Rozum Robotics intensifies its PR game with Awario ," by Awario

Case study example from Awario

In this case study, Awario greets the user with a summary straight away — so if you’re feeling up to reading the entire case study, you can scan the snapshot and understand how the company serves its customers. The case study then includes jump links to several sections, such as "Company Profile," "Rozum Robotics' Pains," "Challenge," "Solution," and "Results and Improvements."

The sparse copy and prominent headings show that you don’t need a lot of elaborate information to show the value of your products and services. Like the other case study examples on this list, it includes visuals and quotes to demonstrate the effectiveness of the company’s efforts. The case study ends with a bulleted list that shows the results.

Key Learnings from the Awario Robotics Case Study Example

  • Create a table of contents to make your case study easier to navigate.
  • Include a bulleted list of the results you achieved for your client.

4. " Chevrolet DTU ," by Carol H. Williams

Case study examples: Carol H. Williams and Chevrolet DTU

If you’ve worked with a company that’s well-known, use only the name in the title — like Carol H. Williams, one of the nation’s top advertising agencies, does here. The "DTU," stands for "Discover the Unexpected." It generates interest because you want to find out what the initials mean.

They keep your interest in this case study by using a mixture of headings, images, and videos to describe the challenges, objectives, and solutions of the project. The case study closes with a summary of the key achievements that Chevrolet’s DTU Journalism Fellows reached during the project.

Key Learnings from the Carol H. Williams Case Study Example

  • If you’ve worked with a big brand before, consider only using the name in the title — just enough to pique interest.
  • Use a mixture of headings and subheadings to guide users through the case study.

5. " How Fractl Earned Links from 931 Unique Domains for Porch.com in a Single Year ," by Fractl

Case study example from Fractl

Fractl uses both text and graphic design in their Porch.com case study to immerse the viewer in a more interesting user experience. For instance, as you scroll, you'll see the results are illustrated in an infographic-design form as well as the text itself.

Further down the page, they use icons like a heart and a circle to illustrate their pitch angles, and graphs to showcase their results. Rather than writing which publications have mentioned Porch.com during Fractl’s campaign, they incorporated the media outlets’ icons for further visual diversity.

Key Learnings from the Fractl Case Study Example

  • Let pictures speak for you by incorporating graphs, logos, and icons all throughout the case study.
  • Start the case study by right away stating the key results, like Fractl does, instead of putting the results all the way at the bottom.

6. " The Met ," by Fantasy

Case study example from Fantasy

What's the best way to showcase the responsiveness and user interface of a website? Probably by diving right into it with a series of simple showcases— which is exactly what Fantasy does on their case study page for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They keep the page simple and clean, inviting you to review their redesign of the Met’s website feature-by-feature.

Each section is simple, showing a single piece of the new website's interface so that users aren’t overwhelmed with information and can focus on what matters most.

If you're more interested in text, you can read the objective for each feature. Fantasy understands that, as a potential customer, this is all you need to know. Scrolling further, you're greeted with a simple "Contact Us" CTA.

Key Learnings from the Fantasy Case Study Example

  • You don’t have to write a ton of text to create a great case study. Focus on the solution you delivered itself.
  • Include a CTA at the bottom inviting visitors to contact you.

7. " Rovio: How Rovio Grew Into a Gaming Superpower ," by App Annie

Case study example from App Annie

If your client had a lot of positive things to say about you, take a note from App Annie’s Rovio case study and open up with a quote from your client. The case study also closes with a quote, so that the case study doesn’t seem like a promotion written by your marketing team but a story that’s taken straight from your client’s mouth. It includes a photo of a Rovio employee, too.

Another thing this example does well? It immediately includes a link to the product that Rovio used (namely, App Annie Intelligence) at the top of the case study. The case study closes with a call-to-action button prompting users to book a demo.

Key Learnings from the App Annie Case Study Example

  • Feature quotes from your client at the beginning and end of the case study.
  • Include a mention of the product right at the beginning and prompt users to learn more about the product.

8. " Embracing first-party data: 3 success stories from HubSpot ," by Think with Google

Case study examples: Think with Google and HubSpot

Google takes a different approach to text-focused case studies by choosing three different companies to highlight.

The case study is clean and easily scannable. It has sections for each company, with quotes and headers that clarify the way these three distinct stories connect. The simple format also uses colors and text that align with the Google brand.

Another differentiator is the focus on data. This case study is less than a thousand words, but it's packed with useful data points. Data-driven insights quickly and clearly show how the value of leveraging first-party data while prioritizing consumer privacy.

Case studies example: Data focus, Think with Google

Key Learnings from the Think with Google Case Study Example

  • A case study doesn’t need to be long or complex to be powerful.
  • Clear data points are a quick and effective way to prove value.

9. " In-Depth Performance Marketing Case Study ," by Switch

Case study example from Switch

Switch is an international marketing agency based in Malta that knocks it out of the park with this case study. Its biggest challenge is effectively communicating what it did for its client without ever revealing the client’s name. It also effectively keeps non-marketers in the loop by including a glossary of terms on page 4.

The PDF case study reads like a compelling research article, including titles like "In-Depth Performance Marketing Case Study," "Scenario," and "Approach," so that readers get a high-level overview of what the client needed and why they approached Switch. It also includes a different page for each strategy. For instance, if you’d only be interested in hiring Switch for optimizing your Facebook ads, you can skip to page 10 to see how they did it.

The PDF is fourteen pages long but features big fonts and plenty of white space, so viewers can easily skim it in only a few minutes.

Key Learnings from the Switch Case Study Example

  • If you want to go into specialized information, include a glossary of terms so that non-specialists can easily understand.
  • Close with a CTA page in your case study PDF and include contact information for prospective clients.

10. " Gila River ," by OH Partners

Case study example from OH Partners

Let pictures speak for you, like OH Partners did in this case study. While you’ll quickly come across a heading and some text when you land on this case study page, you’ll get the bulk of the case study through examples of actual work OH Partners did for its client. You will see OH Partners’ work in a billboard, magazine, and video. This communicates to website visitors that if they work with OH Partners, their business will be visible everywhere.

And like the other case studies here, it closes with a summary of what the firm achieved for its client in an eye-catching way.

Key Learnings from the OH Partners Case Study Example

  • Let the visuals speak by including examples of the actual work you did for your client — which is especially useful for branding and marketing agencies.
  • Always close out with your achievements and how they impacted your client.

11. " Facing a Hater ," by Digitas

Case study example from Digitas

Digitas' case study page for Sprite’s #ILOVEYOUHATER campaign keeps it brief while communicating the key facts of Digitas’ work for the popular soda brand. The page opens with an impactful image of a hundred people facing a single man. It turns out, that man is the biggest "bully" in Argentina, and the people facing him are those whom he’s bullied before.

Scrolling down, it's obvious that Digitas kept Sprite at the forefront of their strategy, but more than that, they used real people as their focal point. They leveraged the Twitter API to pull data from Tweets that people had actually tweeted to find the identity of the biggest "hater" in the country. That turned out to be @AguanteElCofler, a Twitter user who has since been suspended.

Key Learnings from the Digitas Case Study Example

  • If a video was part of your work for your client, be sure to include the most impactful screenshot as the heading.
  • Don’t be afraid to provide details on how you helped your client achieve their goals, including the tools you leveraged.

12. " Better Experiences for All ," by HermanMiller

Case study example from HermanMiller

HermanMiller sells sleek, utilitarian furniture with no frills and extreme functionality, and that ethos extends to its case study page for a hospital in Dubai.

What first attracted me to this case study was the beautiful video at the top and the clean user experience. User experience matters a lot in a case study. It determines whether users will keep reading or leave. Another notable aspect of this case study is that the video includes closed-captioning for greater accessibility, and users have the option of expanding the CC and searching through the text.

HermanMiller’s case study also offers an impressive amount of information packed in just a few short paragraphs for those wanting to understand the nuances of their strategy. It closes out with a quote from their client and, most importantly, the list of furniture products that the hospital purchased from the brand.

Key Learnings from the HermanMiller Case Study Example

  • Close out with a list of products that users can buy after reading the case study.
  • Include accessibility features such as closed captioning and night mode to make your case study more user-friendly.

13. " Capital One on AWS ," by Amazon

Case study example from Amazon AWS

Do you work continuously with your clients? Consider structuring your case study page like Amazon did in this stellar case study example. Instead of just featuring one article about Capital One and how it benefited from using AWS, Amazon features a series of articles that you can then access if you’re interested in reading more. It goes all the way back to 2016, all with different stories that feature Capital One’s achievements using AWS.

This may look unattainable for a small firm, but you don’t have to go to extreme measures and do it for every single one of your clients. You could choose the one you most wish to focus on and establish a contact both on your side and your client’s for coming up with the content. Check in every year and write a new piece. These don’t have to be long, either — five hundred to eight hundred words will do.

Key Learnings from the Amazon AWS Case Study Example

  • Write a new article each year featuring one of your clients, then include links to those articles in one big case study page.
  • Consider including external articles as well that emphasize your client’s success in their industry.

14. " HackReactor teaches the world to code #withAsana ," by Asana

Case study examples: Asana and HackReactor

While Asana's case study design looks text-heavy, there's a good reason. It reads like a creative story, told entirely from the customer's perspective.

For instance, Asana knows you won't trust its word alone on why this product is useful. So, they let Tony Phillips, HackReactor CEO, tell you instead: "We take in a lot of information. Our brains are awful at storage but very good at thinking; you really start to want some third party to store your information so you can do something with it."

Asana features frequent quotes from Phillips to break up the wall of text and humanize the case study. It reads like an in-depth interview and captivates the reader through creative storytelling. Even more, Asana includes in-depth detail about how HackReactor uses Asana. This includes how they build templates and workflows:

"There's a huge differentiator between Asana and other tools, and that’s the very easy API access. Even if Asana isn’t the perfect fit for a workflow, someone like me— a relatively mediocre software engineer—can add functionality via the API to build a custom solution that helps a team get more done."

Key Learnings from the Asana Example

  • Include quotes from your client throughout the case study.
  • Provide extensive detail on how your client worked with you or used your product.

15. " Rips Sewed, Brand Love Reaped ," by Amp Agency

Case study example from Amp Agency

Amp Agency's Patagonia marketing strategy aimed to appeal to a new audience through guerrilla marketing efforts and a coast-to-coast road trip. Their case study page effectively conveys a voyager theme, complete with real photos of Patagonia customers from across the U.S., and a map of the expedition. I liked Amp Agency's storytelling approach best. It captures viewers' attention from start to finish simply because it's an intriguing and unique approach to marketing.

Key Learnings from the Amp Agency Example

  • Open up with a summary that communicates who your client is and why they reached out to you.
  • Like in the other case study examples, you’ll want to close out with a quantitative list of your achievements.

16. " NetApp ," by Evisort

Case study examples: Evisort and NetApp

Evisort opens up its NetApp case study with an at-a-glance overview of the client. It’s imperative to always focus on the client in your case study — not on your amazing product and equally amazing team. By opening up with a snapshot of the client’s company, Evisort places the focus on the client.

This case study example checks all the boxes for a great case study that’s informative, thorough, and compelling. It includes quotes from the client and details about the challenges NetApp faced during the COVID pandemic. It closes out with a quote from the client and with a link to download the case study in PDF format, which is incredibly important if you want your case study to be accessible in a wider variety of formats.

Key Learnings from the Evisort Example

  • Place the focus immediately on your client by including a snapshot of their company.
  • Mention challenging eras, such as a pandemic or recession, to show how your company can help your client succeed even during difficult times.

17. " Copernicus Land Monitoring – CLC+ Core ," by Cloudflight

Case study example from Cloudflight

Including highly specialized information in your case study is an effective way to show prospects that you’re not just trying to get their business. You’re deep within their industry, too, and willing to learn everything you need to learn to create a solution that works specifically for them.

Cloudflight does a splendid job at that in its Copernicus Land Monitoring case study. While the information may be difficult to read at first glance, it will capture the interest of prospects who are in the environmental industry. It thus shows Cloudflight’s value as a partner much more effectively than a general case study would.

The page is comprehensive and ends with a compelling call-to-action — "Looking for a solution that automates, and enhances your Big Data system? Are you struggling with large datasets and accessibility? We would be happy to advise and support you!" The clean, whitespace-heavy page is an effective example of using a case study to capture future leads.

Key Learnings from the Cloudflight Case Study Example

  • Don’t be afraid to get technical in your explanation of what you did for your client.
  • Include a snapshot of the sales representative prospects should contact, especially if you have different sales reps for different industries, like Cloudflight does.

18. " Valvoline Increases Coupon Send Rate by 76% with Textel’s MMS Picture Texting ," by Textel

Case study example from Textel

If you’re targeting large enterprises with a long purchasing cycle, you’ll want to include a wealth of information in an easily transferable format. That’s what Textel does here in its PDF case study for Valvoline. It greets the user with an eye-catching headline that shows the value of using Textel. Valvoline saw a significant return on investment from using the platform.

Another smart decision in this case study is highlighting the client’s quote by putting it in green font and doing the same thing for the client’s results because it helps the reader quickly connect the two pieces of information. If you’re in a hurry, you can also take a look at the "At a Glance" column to get the key facts of the case study, starting with information about Valvoline.

Key Learnings from the Textel Case Study Example

  • Include your client’s ROI right in the title of the case study.
  • Add an "At a Glance" column to your case study PDF to make it easy to get insights without needing to read all the text.

19. " Hunt Club and Happeo — a tech-enabled love story ," by Happeo

Case study example from Happeo

In this blog-post-like case study, Happeo opens with a quote from the client, then dives into a compelling heading: "Technology at the forefront of Hunt Club's strategy." Say you’re investigating Happeo as a solution and consider your firm to be technology-driven. This approach would spark your curiosity about why the client chose to work with Happeo. It also effectively communicates the software’s value proposition without sounding like it’s coming from an in-house marketing team.

Every paragraph is a quote written from the customer’s perspective. Later down the page, the case study also dives into "the features that changed the game for Hunt Club," giving Happeo a chance to highlight some of the platform’s most salient features.

Key Learnings from the Happeo Case Study Example

  • Consider writing the entirety of the case study from the perspective of the customer.
  • Include a list of the features that convinced your client to go with you.

20. " Red Sox Season Campaign ," by CTP Boston

Case study example from CTP Boston

What's great about CTP's case study page for their Red Sox Season Campaign is their combination of video, images, and text. A video automatically begins playing when you visit the page, and as you scroll, you'll see more embedded videos of Red Sox players, a compilation of print ads, and social media images you can click to enlarge.

At the bottom, it says "Find out how we can do something similar for your brand." The page is clean, cohesive, and aesthetically pleasing. It invites viewers to appreciate the well-roundedness of CTP's campaign for Boston's beloved baseball team.

Key Learnings from the CTP Case Study Example

  • Include a video in the heading of the case study.
  • Close with a call-to-action that makes leads want to turn into prospects.

21. " Acoustic ," by Genuine

Case study example from Genuine

Sometimes, simple is key. Genuine's case study for Acoustic is straightforward and minimal, with just a few short paragraphs, including "Reimagining the B2B website experience," "Speaking to marketers 1:1," and "Inventing Together." After the core of the case study, we then see a quote from Acoustic’s CMO and the results Genuine achieved for the company.

The simplicity of the page allows the reader to focus on both the visual aspects and the copy. The page displays Genuine's brand personality while offering the viewer all the necessary information they need.

  • You don’t need to write a lot to create a great case study. Keep it simple.
  • Always include quantifiable data to illustrate the results you achieved for your client.

22. " Using Apptio Targetprocess Automated Rules in Wargaming ," by Apptio

Case study example from Apptio

Apptio’s case study for Wargaming summarizes three key pieces of information right at the beginning: The goals, the obstacles, and the results.

Readers then have the opportunity to continue reading — or they can walk away right then with the information they need. This case study also excels in keeping the human interest factor by formatting the information like an interview.

The piece is well-organized and uses compelling headers to keep the reader engaged. Despite its length, Apptio's case study is appealing enough to keep the viewer's attention. Every Apptio case study ends with a "recommendation for other companies" section, where the client can give advice for other companies that are looking for a similar solution but aren’t sure how to get started.

Key Learnings from the Apptio Case Study Example

  • Put your client in an advisory role by giving them the opportunity to give recommendations to other companies that are reading the case study.
  • Include the takeaways from the case study right at the beginning so prospects quickly get what they need.

23. " Airbnb + Zendesk: building a powerful solution together ," by Zendesk

Case study example from Zendesk

Zendesk's Airbnb case study reads like a blog post, and focuses equally on Zendesk and Airbnb, highlighting a true partnership between the companies. To captivate readers, it begins like this: "Halfway around the globe is a place to stay with your name on it. At least for a weekend."

The piece focuses on telling a good story and provides photographs of beautiful Airbnb locations. In a case study meant to highlight Zendesk's helpfulness, nothing could be more authentic than their decision to focus on Airbnb's service in such great detail.

Key Learnings from the Zendesk Case Study Example

  • Include images of your client’s offerings — not necessarily of the service or product you provided. Notice how Zendesk doesn’t include screenshots of its product.
  • Include a call-to-action right at the beginning of the case study. Zendesk gives you two options: to find a solution or start a trial.

24. " Biobot Customer Success Story: Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida ," by Biobot

Case study example from Biobot

Like some of the other top examples in this list, Biobot opens its case study with a quote from its client, which captures the value proposition of working with Biobot. It mentions the COVID pandemic and goes into detail about the challenges the client faced during this time.

This case study is structured more like a news article than a traditional case study. This format can work in more formal industries where decision-makers need to see in-depth information about the case. Be sure to test different methods and measure engagement .

Key Learnings from the Biobot Case Study Example

  • Mention environmental, public health, or economic emergencies and how you helped your client get past such difficult times.
  • Feel free to write the case study like a normal blog post, but be sure to test different methods to find the one that best works for you.

25. " Discovering Cost Savings With Efficient Decision Making ," by Gartner

Case study example from Gartner

You don't always need a ton of text or a video to convey your message — sometimes, you just need a few paragraphs and bullet points. Gartner does a fantastic job of quickly providing the fundamental statistics a potential customer would need to know, without boggling down their readers with dense paragraphs. The case study closes with a shaded box that summarizes the impact that Gartner had on its client. It includes a quote and a call-to-action to "Learn More."

Key Learnings from the Gartner Case Study Example

  • Feel free to keep the case study short.
  • Include a call-to-action at the bottom that takes the reader to a page that most relates to them.

26. " Bringing an Operator to the Game ," by Redapt

Case study example from Redapt

This case study example by Redapt is another great demonstration of the power of summarizing your case study’s takeaways right at the start of the study. Redapt includes three easy-to-scan columns: "The problem," "the solution," and "the outcome." But its most notable feature is a section titled "Moment of clarity," which shows why this particular project was difficult or challenging.

The section is shaded in green, making it impossible to miss. Redapt does the same thing for each case study. In the same way, you should highlight the "turning point" for both you and your client when you were working toward a solution.

Key Learnings from the Redapt Case Study Example

  • Highlight the turning point for both you and your client during the solution-seeking process.
  • Use the same structure (including the same headings) for your case studies to make them easy to scan and read.

27. " Virtual Call Center Sees 300% Boost In Contact Rate ," by Convoso

Case study example from Convoso

Convoso’s PDF case study for Digital Market Media immediately mentions the results that the client achieved and takes advantage of white space. On the second page, the case study presents more influential results. It’s colorful and engaging and closes with a spread that prompts readers to request a demo.

Key Learnings from the Convoso Case Study Example

  • List the results of your work right at the beginning of the case study.
  • Use color to differentiate your case study from others. Convoso’s example is one of the most colorful ones on this list.

28. " Ensuring quality of service during a pandemic ," by Ericsson

Case study example from Ericsson

Ericsson’s case study page for Orange Spain is an excellent example of using diverse written and visual media — such as videos, graphs, and quotes — to showcase the success a client experienced. Throughout the case study, Ericsson provides links to product and service pages users might find relevant as they’re reading the study.

For instance, under the heading "Preloaded with the power of automation," Ericsson mentions its Ericsson Operations Engine product, then links to that product page. It closes the case study with a link to another product page.

Key Learnings from the Ericsson Case Study Example

  • Link to product pages throughout the case study so that readers can learn more about the solution you offer.
  • Use multimedia to engage users as they read the case study.

Start creating your case study.

Now that you've got a great list of examples of case studies, think about a topic you'd like to write about that highlights your company or work you did with a customer.

A customer’s success story is the most persuasive marketing material you could ever create. With a strong portfolio of case studies, you can ensure prospects know why they should give you their business.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Here are the top 13 case studies every MBA student should know

  • MBA students should expect to read case studies, or real-world examples of why businesses succeed or fail. 
  • The case-reading practice in business school was originally pioneered at Harvard, where the MBA curriculum requires students to read up to 500 cases during their two-year program.
  • Other business schools eventually adopted the Harvard case method, preparing students for future leadership challenges. 
  • Business Insider has compiled a list of the most influential cases recommended by business school professors. 
  • One of the cases include how Apple's name change in 2007 allowed the company to redirect its focus from solely Macintosh computers to the iPod, iPhone, Apple Watch, and streaming services. Today, computer sales only account for a tenth of the company's $1 trillion market capitalization . 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .

If you attend business school , you can expect to read a lot of case studies. Professors love them because they offer real-world examples of why businesses succeed and fail. 

The case method teaching practice was originally pioneered at Harvard Business School (HBS), where the MBA curriculum requires that students read up to 500 cases during their two-year program. The Harvard case method soon spread across business schools as professors sought to prepare their students with leadership and decision-making challenges in the workplace.

There are some classic cases that every business student should know — like why Apple changed its name.

Business Insider has compiled the most influential cases here, with recommendations from business school professors across the nation and abroad.

Max Nisen contributed to an earlier version of this post. 

Why Apple changed its name

case studies of famous companies

Case: Apple Inc., 2008

Key takeaway: Sometimes you can't take a rival head on.

What happened? Three decades after its founding, Apple Computers changed its name and became Apple Inc. in 2007. That reflected the company's shifted focus from its iconic Mac computers toward other digital products like the iPod, iPhone, Apple Watch, and media streaming services. Apple's widened niche led to skyrocketing sales and spiked share prices, putting the Cupertino company on a trajectory to become the first US publicly traded company with a $1 trillion market capitalization in 2018, Business Insider reported . Now, the Macintosh computer only accounts for a tenth of the company's business. Rather than beating rival Windows for more shares in the computer market, Apple reinvented itself and redefined the realm of digital devices. 

Thanks to Dr. Aaron Chatterji , Professor at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, for his suggestions.  

How Lululemon kept its cult

case studies of famous companies

Case: Leadership, Culture, and Transition at lululemon

Key takeaway: Figure out how to bring the founders into a strategy rather than alienating them. 

What happened?  On December 11, Lululemon announced its third-quarter fiscal results . Between August to November, the retail company generated $33 million, increasing its net revenue to $916 million in 2019. Much of the 21-year-old brand's transformation is credited to former CEO Christine Day , who leveraged her experience in expanding the Starbucks brand worldwide to align with Lululemon's model. 

Day replaced founder Dennis "Chip" Wilson in 2008, and she stepped into her role facing many problems: Outperforming stores, hefty investments in low-demand locations, and poor workflow between teams. 

She convinced the founders to attend management programs at Harvard and Stanford so they could better understand how the company must change. Day nearly tripled her team from having 2,683 employees in 2008 to 6,383 in 2013, all while she redesigned the company's structure, according to Pitchbook data . In five years time, she turned Lululemon into an athleisure powerhouse. 

Day stepped down as CEO in 2013 after a series of quality control issues with the clothing, Business Insider reported . She is now the chief executive at Luvo , a frozen food company. 

Thanks to Dr. Jennifer Chatman , the Paul J. Cortese Distinguished Professor of Management  at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, for her suggestions.

How Cisco bounced back

case studies of famous companies

Case: Cisco Systems: Developing A Human Capital Strategy

Key takeaway: Invest in developing leaders in your team

What happened? Cisco is one of the most acquisitive companies in tech. It buys about 10 companies a year, including a $2.6 billion acquisition of Acacia and $380 million purchase of chip company Leaba in 2019, Business Insider reported . 

During the Dot Com Bubble in the 1990s, Cisco's first priority was to scale, bringing in up to 1,000 new employees each month by buying smaller firms. Between 1991 and 2011, Cisco bought more than 140 companies, Business Insider reported . 

But scaling a startup is much more than just increasing headcount. When the Dot Com Bubble burst, then-CEO John T. Chambers realized he had to redirect his focus by developing leaders within the team and build on his company rather than buying more teams through acquisitions.

The company introduced "Cisco University," a training program to promote a versatile workforce. Within three years, the company was listed as one of the top companies where employees are most likely to become leaders. Today, Cisco has a learning network that offers various kinds of classes, certifications, and webinar programs around the world. 

Thanks to Dr. Jennifer Chatman , the Paul J. Cortese Distinguished Professor of Management at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, for her suggestions.

How USA Today reinvented itself

case studies of famous companies

Case: USA Today: Pursuing The Network Strategy

Key takeaway: Sometimes the old guard can't handle a new reality.

What happened? Like many print publications in the early 2000s, USA Today was facing falling circulation of its business amid the rise of digital news. Tom Curley, the company's CEO at the time, saw the need to better integrate his company with internet and broadcasting platforms. His management team and staff were resistant, claiming insurmountable divides in culture and work style. Curley made the case that it was essential for the future of the business, and eventually replaced five of seven senior managers as part of the change. Nevertheless, this case emphasizes that what the company needed at the time wasn't a complete staff change: It needed a new business strategy and more integration as the company was transitioning into its electronic version. 

As of 2018, USA Today sites have nearly 97.4 million unique visitors and 1.2 billion page views, according to the company's website . It has become an award-winning digital news platform. 

Thanks to Dr. Jennifer Chatman , the Paul J. Cortese Distinguished Professor of Management at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, for her suggestions. 

How Dreyer's survived a disaster

case studies of famous companies

Case: Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream

Key takeaway: Don't try to spin bad news or mislead workers.

What happened? Before rising to become one of the most popular ice cream brands in the US, Dreyer's had to overcome a company restructure.

In the late 1990s, Ben & Jerry's signed a distribution agreement with Häagen-Dazs and ended its partnership with Dreyer's, The Wall Street Journal reported . Despite still having contracts with Healthy Choice and Nestlé, Dreyer's was dealing with a variety of problems including high input prices and collapsing sales of a low-fat product line.

The company's executives flew all over the country and met with every employee to discuss the restructuring plan. They wanted to preserve the company's culture of openness and accountability. Dreyer's continued to invest in leadership programs, and the company was able to bounce back within a couple of years through consistency and effective communication with its workers. 

Dreyer's continued to experience fluctuating sales in the 2000s, which led the company to merge with Nestlé through a $2.4 billion deal in 2002, The New York Times reported .  

How ethical decisions are different abroad

case studies of famous companies

Case: Merck Sharp & Dohme Argentina, Inc.

Key takeaway: Staying committed to the ethical precepts

What happened? 2019 was a good year for US drug giant Merck & Co. Since it debuted the cancer drug Keytruda, the company's stocks has jumped almost 40% in the past year, giving it a market value of nearly $220 billion, Business Insider reported. 

One way to ensure Merck's increasing sales is if it was on the government's healthcare roster, and when managing director Antonio Mosquera joined the company's Argentine subsidiary, he was faced with an ethical dilemma.

Mosquera was tasked with transforming Merck into a more modern and professional business organization. During the selection process of a highly competitive internship, he had to choose between two candidates, one of whom was the son of a high ranking official in the Argentine healthcare system. 

It was implied that hiring the student would ensure that Merck's drugs would be included on the government's list, which would increase sales. It was a conflict between Mosquera's desire to reform, and the realities of doing business in a changing country.

Mosquera ended up picking the student who wasn't of high government prestige. 

Thanks to Dr. Timothy Vogus , Brownlee O. Currey Jr. Professor of Management at Vanderbilt's Owen School of Management, for his suggestions. 

Why Cirque du Soleil moved outside its comfort zone

case studies of famous companies

Case: Cirque du Soleil - The High-Wire Act Of Building Sustainable Partnerships  

Key takeaway: Sometimes you have to move past an old partnership in order to grow.

What happened? Cirque du Soleil had a mutually beneficial and very profitable partnership with the MGM Mirage casinos. The casino made capital investments in theaters for the company's unique shows, and the shows brought in high-spending clients. Faced with opportunities in Asia and the Middle East, CEO Daniel Lamarre had to figure out how to create different partnerships.  

Thanks to Dr. Aaron Chatterji , Professor at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business for his suggestions. 

Why Airborne Express lost the delivery race

case studies of famous companies

Case: Airborne Express

Key takeaway: Specialization can compete with economies of scale, but only up to a certain point. 

What happened? Airborne Express, a smaller mailing competitor to giants like FedEx and UPS, managed to significantly grow revenues despite its size. Part of that came on the heels of a strike at UPS, and the company took advantage of that. Airborne found a way to specialize in order to stay in the market along with big corporations like FedEx and UPS. 

They targeted high volume business customers, shipped primarily to large metropolitan areas, aggressively cut costs, and adopted new technology after FedEx and UPS. Ultimately, that strategy wasn't sustainable, and the company was acquired by DHL in 2003. 

Thanks to Dr. Gautam Ahuja , Professor of Management and Organizations at Cornell University's Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, for his suggestions.

Why Nucor Steel took a company-sized gamble

case studies of famous companies

Case: Nucor at a Crossroads  

Key takeaway: Operations expertise has limits; new investment determines its scale. 

What happened? In 1986, Nucor's CEO Kenneth Iverson had to make a critical decision on whether or not to adopt a new steel casting technology that would allow the company to gain significant first-mover advantage and reduce costs in the long run. However, the company would have to make a huge investment, and technology back then was unproven.

In 1989, Nucor followed through with its ambition to build the world's first steel-making mill in Indiana. The company remains an industry giant, announcing a $250 million micromill set to be the first steel plant to run on wind energy in the US, CNBC reported . 

Thanks to Dr. Aaron Chatterji , Professor at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business for his suggestions.

How bad communication nearly ruined a manager

case studies of famous companies

Case: Erik Peterson (A)

Key takeaway: The importance of being proactive in defining one's role and engaging in managing up to get the support you need

What happened? The case follows a recent MBA graduate who became the general manager at a subsidiary of a large cell phone company in the late '80s. Erik Peterson's group was in the process of building up to offer cell phone service in parts of New Hampshire and Vermont. The project was behind schedule, and Peterson had offered a plan to meet a revised target reviewed by headquarters.

Peterson had trouble with his immediate superior. He did not know who he had to report to, which created problems on both ends while he was attempting to complete a significant reorganization and had problems with his chief engineer. Because of the lack of support, Peterson had to go it alone in many ways.

Eventually, the company was restructured and Peterson's role became more clear.

Thanks to Dr. Timothy Vogus , Brownlee O. Currey Jr. Professor of Management at Vanderbilt's Owen School of Management for his suggestions. 

When a West Point coach learned how to build a team

case studies of famous companies

Case: Army Crew Team

Key takeaway: There are many different factors to consider when putting together a team. 

What happened?: Colonel Stas Preczewski, the coach of the Army Crew Team for the US Military Academy at West Point, was managing two teams of junior and varsity rowers. He previously picked teams solely based on physical endurance and individual performance. Though the strongest players were all in varsity, the junior team was consistently beating varsity in races throughout an entire season. 

Preczewski eventually realized that the varsity team wasn't winning races because the players didn't know how to work well together. Despite being the strongest rowers, the team neglected a key element of the sport — rowing takes teamwork and a great amount of collaboration.  

Thanks to Dr. Emily Michelle David , assistant professor of management at China Europe International Business School for her suggestions for Harvard Business Publishing Education. 

When a Warren Buffet made his biggest deal

case studies of famous companies

Case: Warren E Buffett, 2015

Key takeaway: The art of investing 

What happened?: In 2015, Berkshire Hathaway's chairman and CEO Warren Buffett made a $37 billion acquisition of Precision Castparts Corporation (PCP), an aerospace-parts supplier company. This case is often viewed as an introductory course for business students to understand finance and capital markets. It also examines Buffett's approach to successful investing, as well as his strategy behind building sustainable growth for the company. 

Thanks to Dr. Robert F. Bruner , professor of business administration at Darden School of Business at University of Virginia, for his suggestions for Harvard Business Publishing Education. 

When a major manufacturing company kept costs low – and took care of its employees

case studies of famous companies

Case: Lincoln Electric Co., 1975

Key takeaway:  Businesses can offer value to customers while treating workers and shareholders generously.  

What happened?:  This case study covers the unique business strategy of Lincoln Electric, one of the biggest manufacturing and welding companies in the world. The company built its products at a lower cost than its competitors, but also rewarded employees well with high bonuses and job security. 

Though the case study is from several decades ago, it offers a glimpse into how a company's organizational strategy can lead to strategic success. 

Thanks to Karen Schnarr, assistant professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, for her suggestion for Harvard Business Publishing Education.

case studies of famous companies

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11 Corporate Turnaround Success Stories

11 Corporate Turnaround Success Stories | Brown & Joseph, LLC

Even the most successful businesses have failed at some point in time.

However, if handled correctly, rock bottom could serve as the first stepping stone a company needs to begin climbing back up to the top.

Here are 11 of the most inspiring stories of turnaround success by companies you’ve definitely heard of.

Apple

Probably the most well-known turnaround success story is the rise of tech company Apple.

Apple went into a decade-long downward spiral after CEO Steve Jobs left the company in 1985 and lower-priced products from competitors, like Microsoft Windows , took over the personal computer market.

For 12 years its innovation, popularity and sales continued to plummet, almost reaching bankruptcy until Jobs rejoined the company in 1997.

The company was able to turn itself around with a successful rebrand and new technology like the first iMac.

Now, Apple is one of the most well-known and valuable companies in the world, raking in almost $300 billion in revenue each year.

FedEx

FedEx was founded in 1971 by Frederick Smith with $4 million of inheritance money and $80 million in loans and investments.

Smith first proposed the idea behind FedEx in a writing assignment for one of his classes at Yale University, for which he earned a C.

During the first two years in business, the company accumulated enormous amounts of debt due to rising fuel prices and was at the edge of bankruptcy.

When funds dwindled down to just $5,000, Smith decided to fly to Las Vegas and gamble with the last of the money in an attempt to double it.

Incredibly, Smith managed to turn $5,000 into $27,000 and was able to save the company by raising another $11 million.

By 1976 FedEx had produced its first profit of $3.6 million.

Seven years later FedEx became the first U.S. company to reach revenues of $1 billion within 10 years of the startup with no merger or acquisition and has been thriving ever since.

Reddit

Reddit, a popular website for news and discussion, was founded in 2005 by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian .

When it first launched, it had zero visitors, leading the founders to create several fake accounts to hold fake discussions until visitors eventually started trickling in.

Eventually, Reddit became wildly popular and was bought by Condé Nast , the owner of 20 other brands and media like Vanity Fair , Vogue and The New Yorker .

As of February 2018, Reddit has almost 550 million active users and is ranked as the fourth most visited website in the U.S. and sixth in the world.

Sometimes you just have to fake it until you make it.

Airbnb

When Airbnb launched in 2008 it struggled to find investors, forcing founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia to create custom cereal boxes to raise funds.

With Barack Obama and John McCain as inspiration, they created “Obama-Os” and “Cap’n McCains.”

Within two months, they’d raised over $30,000 and got invited to a training session for a startup incubator, which provided them with training and $20,000 in funding.

The company was able to grow exponentially and by the next year, the Airbnb website had 10,000 users and 2,500 listings.

The company now has over 4 million listings around the world and rakes in over $2.5 billion in annual revenue.

5. Evernote

Evernote

Evernote, the app designed for taking notes, organizing and making lists, was founded in 2008 by Stepan Pachikov .

Within the same year, Pachikov made the decision to shut the company down because he believed it would never take off.

However, before he shut it down, an overseas investor pledged $500,000 to give Evernote a chance to succeed, and it did.

Despite the recent trouble, Evernote is a leader in note-taking and organization software and has raised hundreds of millions in funding, attracting over 20 million users.

6. General Motors

General Motors

Perhaps the most dramatic turnaround success story is that of General Motors (GM).

GM was founded by William C. Durant in 1908 and was initially a holding company.

Just two years later in 1910, Durant lost control of GM to a bankers’ trust due to massive amounts of debt and a collapse in car sales.

After a dramatic proxy war in 1915, he was able to regain control, only to lose it again for good in 1918 after the new vehicle market collapsed again.

Then, Alfred P. Sloan took over and led the company into global dominance, which lasted well into the 1980s.

On June 1, 2009, GM went bankrupt, stripping stockholders of almost all of their investment and closing down several brands like Saturn, Pontiac and Hummer.

A month later, the U.S. Treasury invested $50 billion in GM and recovered $39 billion when it sold its shares later that year.

The Treasury invested an additional $17.2 billion into GM’s former financing company, GMAC (now Ally ). The shares in Ally were sold on December 18, 2014, for $19.6 billion netting $2.4 billion.

A study by the Center for Automotive Research found that the GM bailout saved 1.2 million jobs and preserved $34.9 billion in tax revenue.

In 2010, the reorganized GM made an initial public offering that was one of the world’s top five largest IPOs to date and returned to profitability later that year.

Today, GM produces over 9 million vehicles annually, employs almost 200,000 people and brings in $150 billion in annual revenue.

Marvel

Marvel was founded in 1939 by Martin Goodman and saw instant success with its creation of the Human Torch, Sub-Mariner and Captain America.

Sales amounted to almost $1 million in the first two years of business and continued to rise for decades until the 1980s.

In 1986 Marvel made its first attempt at a film with the theatrical release of Howard the Duck , which was an astronomical flop (even though it was produced by George Lucas ).

The film cost $30 million to make and only grossed $15 million, earning a spot on the list for costliest box-office flops of all time.

Shortly after, Marvel began to lose ground to its rival, DC Comics , when DC began producing series like Watchmen , Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Superman .

Marvel’s financial success began to peak in the early 90s until it suffered a huge blow in 1992 when some its greatest writers left to form their own company.

A year later, the comic book market crashed and Marvel was forced to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1996.

With the new millennium, Marvel was able to bounce back from bankruptcy by a merger with Toy Biz and began producing successful film franchises like Spider-Man and X-Men .

Finally, in 2009 Marvel was bought by Disney for $4 billion and has since seen overwhelming success with movies like Iron Man , Guardians of the Galaxy , The Incredible Hulk and Black Panther .

Impressively, the Marvel Cinematic Universe now encompasses 18 films, 10 TV series and a slate of movies planned until 2020.

8. Starbucks

Starbucks

Starbucks is one of the greatest examples of the rewards of hearing the voice of the customer.

Launched in 1971 by Jerry Baldwin , Zev Siegl and Gordon Bowker , Starbucks first became profitable in Seattle during the early 1980s.

In 1987 the original founders sold Starbucks to Howard Schultz for $3.8 million.

However, in the late 1980s, the company experienced a brief economic downturn after attempting to expand to the Midwest and British Columbia but made a comeback in the 1990s when it entered California.

By 2002, there were almost 6,000 stores worldwide, showing a 300% growth rate in 15 years.

But, when the financial crisis hit in 2008, Starbucks was forced to close almost 1,000 stores and experienced a 28% profit loss over the next two years.

During this time Schultz took back control of the company and sent out a message to all employees on his first day back: “The company must shift its focus away from bureaucracy and back to its customers.”

Only two months later, the company implemented a new strategy based on technology, free thinking and community involvement.

“ My Starbucks Idea ” was rolled out in March 2008 to give customers a chance to have a say in the direction Starbucks went as a company. Over 90,000 ideas were shared via social media and raised page views per month to over 5 million.

Through this campaign, Starbucks implemented over 100 ideas and developed a community of like-minded baristas and coffee lovers.

Today, the company employs 250,000 people at 27,000 locations worldwide, owns several successful subsidiaries and continues to grow into new markets.

9. Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines

Delta began as a crop dusting operation in Macon, Georgia, in 1924.

In 1928 the company was purchased by Collett E. Woolman and began to expand rapidly in South until its service was terminated in 1930.

This led the company to suspend its passenger service until the Air Mail scandal in 1934 when Woolman secured a low-bid contract for airmail service and resumed passenger services.

Over the next few decades, Delta expanded rapidly through additions of routes and the acquisition of several other airlines until 2004.

In an effort to avoid bankruptcy, Delta began a company-wide restructure, which included numerous job cuts and an expansion of operations in Atlanta.

The next year in another desperate attempt to avoid bankruptcy, Delta sold Atlantic Southeast Airlines to SkyWest Airlines for half of what it was worth.

Finally, on Sept. 14, 2015, Delta filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy for its debts amounting to almost $30 billion.

Over the next few years, Delta cut costs by billions and was able to emerge from bankruptcy in 2007 stronger than ever.

The company established itself as an independent carrier, unveiled a new logo and eventually merged with Northwest Airlines to create the world’s largest airline.

10. Pabst Blue Ribbon

Pabst Blue Ribbon

Pabst Brewing Company was founded 174 years ago by Jacob Best in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Pabst Blue Ribbon, named after Frederick Pabst , saw steady sales in the 20th century and gained a reputation as the “blue ribbon” beer for the blue ribbon that was tied around each bottle from 1882 to 1916.

Sales peaked at 18 million barrels in 1977, then began to fall until 2001 when sales were below a million barrels.

That year, Brian Kovalchuk took over as CEO and began to make drastic changes.

Sales began to increase again shortly after due to increasing popularity among urban hipsters and the company’s sponsorship of indie music, local businesses, facial hair clubs, dive bars, radio shows and sports teams.

Now, Pabst Blue Ribbon is known as the official hipster beer and is frequently referenced in pop culture, proving a successful company turnaround.

11. Netflix

Netflix

Netflix was founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph to combat late fees for video rentals.

The company didn’t turn a profit until 2003, earning $6.5 million profit on revenues of $272 million.

By 2005 business was booming – Netflix was shipping out a million DVDs daily.

Netflix saw rapid growth until 2011 when CEO Hastings decided to split user subscriptions into two separate categories at a hiked price: DVD rentals and unlimited streaming services.

The company lost over 800,000 subscribers and its stock value dropped by 77% in only four months.

Although Hastings’ decision is now praised as a smart business move, at the time he and his company’s reputations suffered greatly.

“Whatever happened to Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year?” asked Wedbush research analyst Michael Pachter, referring to one of the many awards Hastings had received the year prior.

“Whatever happened to the guy who was invited to the boards at Facebook and Microsoft? What happened to that guy? Do you think Facebook would have invited him to their board now?”

Critics even nicknamed him “Greed” Hastings.

Then, on Sept. 1, 2011, Starz announced that it would pull its movies from Netflix, sending the company into further crisis.

To make matters even worse, Hastings decided to unveil Qwikster , a DVD-only service that only lasted three weeks, a month earlier than he’d originally planned.

The new service was introduced in a confusing, low-quality YouTube video that was later turned into a scathing Saturday Night Live skit .

Over the year, despite massive losses, Netflix was able to bounce back and improve its revenue by 47%.

One of the company’s smartest moves was introducing “ Netflix Original ” movies and TV shows, first launching House of Cards  in 2013 to much success.

As of January 2018, Netflix has 120 million subscribers worldwide and generates over $12 billion in annual revenue.

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The Secret Behind Successful Corporate Transformations

  • Paul A. Argenti,
  • Jenifer Berman,
  • Ryan Calsbeek,
  • Andrew Whitehouse

case studies of famous companies

New research finds that just 22% percent succeed — and how you treat your employees can make all the difference.

There have been surprisingly few studies that set out to quantify what makes for a successful corporate transformation. Using a meta-analysis that crunched data on financial performance as well as corporate reputation, the authors examined 128 global companies that had undergone transformation between 2016 and 2020 and found that: 1) Transformation is even harder than expected (only 22% of companies in their sample were successful), and 2) Successful companies shared a common focus on initiatives that prioritized employees, including DE&I programs and support for women managers’ careers, in addition to competitive pay and access to health care.

Successful enterprise transformation has long been considered the holy grail of the corporate world — continually sought after, but difficult to grasp. More than 25 years ago, John Kotter highlighted the challenge when he made his now-famous assertion that 70% of corporate transformation efforts are doomed to fail.

case studies of famous companies

  • PA Paul A. Argenti is Professor of Corporate Communication at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business in Hanover, New Hampshire. He is the author of Corporate Communication , 7th edition (McGraw Hill, 2016) and Corporate Responsibility (Sage, 2015).
  • JB Jenifer Berman is the former chief marketing officer of Insider Inc. and recently joined Goldman Sachs as the global head of content.
  • RC Ryan Calsbeek is an Associate Professor of Biology at Dartmouth College.
  • AW Andrew Whitehouse is the founder and managing partner of communications consulting firm Copperfield Advisory.

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Business Chronicler

Top Business Case Studies Of All Time: Pros and Cons

Running a business is not easy. Entrepreneurs go through a lot of challenges. This way, business owners can never be fully prepared to face the challenges lying ahead. But does this mean they should bury their heads in the sand and hope for the best? Hope is not a good strategy, and some degree of preparedness will always come in handy.

Luckily, your business is not the first and won’t be the last. Millions of entrepreneurs have set up businesses over the years, and you can learn from some of the challenges they went through to cut your journey by half.

Most of these challenges were when huge decisions had to be made, and the implications are either rewarding or wrecking. If you run a business, you will come across tough times as it is a matter of when and not if.

This article will look at some of the top business case studies and help you learn a thing or two about the problematic situations your predecessors went through and the decisions they made. The idea here is not to copy-paste the conclusions but double click into the logic behind them to help you understand what is good for your business.

We could highlight a million case studies here, but we will break the chosen few into how they affect the different business units vital for success.

Human Resources Case Study; How Atlassian Used Data to Attract More Qualified And Diverse Graduate Candidates

case studies of famous companies

Atlassian is a global company that produces a suite of online collaboration tools, most notably Stride, Trello , and Jira . The company ’s mission is to unleash the potential in every team, which from the onset outlines the massive focus on the people working there.

Diversity and Inclusion are becoming massive issues in the human resources world, as companies strive to achieve this to improve their products and services.

Why Diversity and Inclusion?

Evidence shows that diverse teams perform better. The products and services rolled out by any company are often a reflection of the employees. Well, they are the ones that think through the user journeys, customer experience, and features, and it is in the best interest of any company to have a workforce that relates to their customer base.

What Did they Do?

Atlassian identified critical problems behind their lack of diversity. They include a male-centric employer branding, a limited number of female candidates for advertised positions, and possible bias during the recruiting process.

Atlassian decided to take a bold and data-heavy approach to hire more diverse and qualified candidates into their teams. They rolled out solutions that directly affect the issues highlighted above.

The first one was to tackle the Atlassian employer branding. There was a need to change the employer perception to make it more diverse, initiated by putting images on the career pages that represented a more diverse team of employees.

They also emphasized that Atlassian gives people across all walks of life opportunities to take their careers to the next level. This resulted in more people visiting the career page to feel more comfortable applying for the positions since they believed that Atlassian is a diverse employer. The key headline was “Atlassian is for everyone.”

On the issue of a limited number of female applicants, the campus recruiting team implemented changes to their campus campaigns to encourage interested applicants to apply. They ensured that these campaigns had strong female representatives, which is vital to inspire ladies to rise and apply for the positions.

Additional measures included sponsoring the Women in Engineering Scholarship on top of the existing ones and engaging with women tech societies in Australia through events and mentoring sessions.

The last issue, unconscious bias, was addressed by moving away from interviewing for the best cultural fit. It was established to be an ambiguous term that encouraged groupthink, exclusions and team blind spots.

The solution was to interview based on how values were aligned. In the new interview format, candidates were assessed using questions that signal behaviors that are successful in the company—this standardized the process and eliminated bias based on personal style and preference.

As a result, the best candidates showed they could work openly, had greater empathy and embraced positive change.

Key Takeouts

The changes were successful, as seen from the representation of women and other minorities improvement in their graduate hiring. 57% of the global Gradlassian class were women, and 33% of US technical interns identified as colored.

The limitation was on the persons with disabilities.

Companies can learn a few things from this case study to experiment with their new Diversity and Inclusion initiatives. Progress is better than perfection, and it is a journey that takes time to reap the rewards. Always be comfortable starting small as it allows you to expand what works and change what does not.

Marketing – The Coca Cola Marketing Case Study

The Coca Cola Marketing Case Study

Coca Cola is one of the leading global brands, and a lot can be learned from its strategy and how it has evolved over the years to meet customer needs while still staying true to its promise and identity.

A Brief History of Coca-Cola

Coca Cola was first started in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1886 by Dr John Pemberton at Jacob’s pharmacy. In that year, he only sold nine drinks. Today, it has affiliations with 500 brands selling 17 billion drinks in over 200 countries every day.

When the product first got to market, it was a syrup at 5 cents a glass. It was changed to a carbonated drink that was seen to be refreshing and delicious.

Dr Pemberton brought on board a partner Frank Robinson who helped change the name to Coca Cola. Dr Pemberton did not realize the potential of his business and kept on selling portions of it to partners, most notable Mr. Chandler, who later moved to acquire complete control of the company.

What Audience Segment Does Coca-Cola Target?

It is safe to say Coca-Cola has a product for every segment. Its brands range from sparkling soft drinks to beverages. The customers are everyday people with varying tastes and preferences. Flagship products like Diet Coke are popular among other youth, while those above 35 still relate to them since they know the brand from their childhood days.

The different beverages have a minimum target of 12 years, as the company is reducing advertising that targets children younger than that. Geographical segmentation is huge as the company aims to market the right products for the people living in a specific geographical region.

What is the Coca-Cola Marketing Strategy?

Coca Cola Marketing Strategy

The whole Coca Cola marketing strategy is based on “happiness.” The terms Coca Cola in mandarin translate to “Delicious Happiness.” This is the brand promise the entire company revolves all the marketing campaigns on. It strives to bring people together and create happy moments in their lives.

This is the global strategy that is curated to fit the different countries Coca Cola is sold across the globe. Over the years, Coca Cola expanded its global reach by acquiring some brands locally. For instance, it took over Parle Foods and other smaller brands like Thumbs Up, Limca and Mazaa.

Coke was marketed as a temperance drink in the early days due to the laws against alcoholic drinks in Atlanta. It was a refreshing drink that cured anxiety, headaches, indigestion with addiction. Cocaine was removed from Coke in 1903.

Chandler, who later acquired the full rights, was a marketer by profession and took things a notch higher. While distributing Coke, he also moved complimentary coupons, souvenir calendars, and books to depict the trademark logo and increase its visibility in various spaces.

The idea of the bottle was a milestone since initially; Chandler only sold Coke on soda fountains. Two innovative minds, Benjamin Thomas and Joseph B. Whitehead, secured rights at $1 to sell Coca Cola in bottles.

By that time, it was so famous in the United States that imitations quickly found their way into the market. Initial campaigns like “Accept no Substitutes” and “Demand the genuine” seemed generic, and there was a need to differentiate.

In 1916, the first unique bottle was made by the Root Glass Company in Indiana. This design has undergone very minimal changes to date.

In 1919 the company was sold to Robert Woodruff, who had a global outlook and planned to make Coca Cola available to anyone anywhere while differentiating it as a premium brand.

Some of the critical aspects of the Coca Cola marketing strategy include;

The shape of the bottle has remained consistent over time. Everyone across the globe relates to the same coke bottle, which is the same since 1915.

The font and logo used to type the names Coca Cola has not changed for a long time. The logo was first designed in 1923 when the company leveraged the Spenserian script, used by accountants only.

Pemberton’s accountant, Frank Robinson, designed this logo using his writing, and it has stuck to date. This was not common with other brands, and their logo stood out from the competition.

Branding for Coca Cola was done in a way that it did not directly compete with other beverages. It was positioned as an experience of joy and happiness, which intrigues more customers and drives brand affinity globally.

The Marketing Mistake by Coke

One notable date in Coke’s marketing history is 23rd April 1985. All the years of brand building and connection to customers showed this day as Coca Cola made a grave marketing mistake. At this time, the number one competitor, Pepsi, was eating into Coke’s market share, which tempted the leaders to shake a few things.

The public shifted their preference to soft drinks and non-cola beverages, which made Coca Cola’s core product drop. Quickly, the people responsible did some blind taste tests and figured out that customers preferred the sweeter Pepsi. They promptly changed their recipe, and after doing a few tests, the new recipe beat the old one pants down.

Similar tests were done with Pepsi, and more people preferred the new Coke. Feedback was collected from focus groups, and a few people were angry at the change and said they would no longer buy anything else from Coca Cola.

The data was there, and all the tests were done, so Coca Cola did the logical thing and launched the new Coke in New York. Sales rose in the first few weeks, and the leaders pat each other’s backs at the impressive job they had done. And then things started going South.

Analysis showed that the new Coke would save the company and help regain market share, but two things were overlooked; emotion and branding. The few members who expressed anger appeared to be a minority statistically, but the power of opinion from like-minded individuals and voice of dissent was too loud to ignore.

The headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, received almost 1500 calls a day, up from an average of 400. It became messy, and the leaders realized that customers had an emotional attachment to the Coke brand that led to this anger besides taste.

They were forced to quickly revert to the old recipe, calling it Coke Classic. The company’s 100 plus years of brand building on stadiums, coolers, sweatshirts made people love Coke to the extent where changing it was a grave mistake.

Business and Revenue Model – A Case Study of Facebook

Business and Revenue Model-A Case Study of Facebook

Facebook is one of the leading tech companies globally, and honestly, not many people thought it would rise to the levels it is operating in today. In this case study, we look at the Facebook business model and how it has evolved over the years to create the giant that it is today.

Social networks are not new, but the bad of digitization change this space significantly. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Myspace, and Wechat did not really introduce any concept to the world, but they took the social aspect of human interaction on digital platforms and expanded connections globally.

Our thoughts, ideas, opinions, gossip, and videos were no longer viewed by close friends and family members but by people living in different corners of the world. These companies took a step further and transformed a regular human interaction into a sustainable business model that drives some of today’s top tech companies.

A Brief History of Facebook

Facebook was developed in 2003 by Mark Zuckerberg. He was still in college, and he created it as a game to compare photos of cute girls and allow people to comment on the hotter ones. This story was brought to life by the famous movie The Social Network .

After this reasonably controversial introduction, Facebook was launched as an internal social network for Harvard students in 2004. It was only opened for the public two years later after a series of large investments and lawsuits that threatened to hinder its ability to accept users from the public.

One of the most notable lawsuits was another Harvard-based social networking site called Harvardconnection that later changed to Connectu. It was alleged that mark Zuckerberg used their code to develop Facebook while working on a contract he had been offered to help build that site.

When it was officially launched in 2004, users could do three basic things, which are still the core functionality of the social network. They are;

  • Create a profile with a picture and personal information
  • Check out other people’s profiles
  • Add people as friends

Today the consumer benefits outlined by Facebook are;

  • Connect and share with your friends
  • Discover and learn
  • Express yourself
  • Stay connected everywhere

Value Proposition for Businesses

Facebook Businesses

Very few people understood how Facebook would make money, but the owner clearly had a long-term vision. It is incredible since Facebook operated for at least nine years before finally rolling out a revenue model.

The revenues generated by Facebook are huge, and it can be argued that they’ve made up for the years they took to build the company and ensure operations what right to support their revenue model.

The first notable instance where Facebook monetized its operations was when it held its initial public offering on 18th May 2012 . This was the biggest IPO for an Internet company, with the marketing capitalization hitting highs of 104 billion dollars.

In a statement rolled out by Facebook, the value proposition to businesses was,’ marketers can engage with over 1 billion monthly active users on Facebook or subsets of our users based on information people have chosen to share with us, for instance, age location, gender or interests.

We offer marketers a unique blend of relevant social context and engagement to improve the value of the advertisements.’

Facebook Revenue Model

Facebook makes its money from an advertisement-based revenue model. Marketers can leverage the number of users on Facebook based on age, gender, location and interests to ensure that the messages get across to the most relevant audiences.

It also offers alternative payment methods such as cost per click and cost per impression while allowing trusted referrals to boost credibility.

During its launch, Facebook promised to remain the same for users. It vowed to stay clean and clutter-free, not send users information, retain control over their customer experience, and not overloading users with ads.

Part of the strategy was to expand the global community by venturing into less penetrated but large markets, such as Brazil, India, and Japan. It also improved its mobile platform as part of a plan to make this social network more engaging and readily available to your users.

It created a Facebook platform which is an open system where developers can come up with plugins and API’s to improve operations.

Facebook takes pride interest as a cornerstone of its business. As a result, it’s dedicated significant resources to improve user trust by placing policies to protect privacy, enhance the user experience and safeguard the users’ data.

It’s previously learned from its early mistakes, notably on 14th December 2005, two MIT students accessed over 70,000 Facebook profiles from four schools.

In September 2006, when new user feeds were launched, users gave a lot of feedback about how their everyday experience with the feed had been interrupted as it was cluttered and overwhelming. Facebook quickly moved to reverse this change and reverted to the old feed.

Many upcoming tech companies can learn a lot from Facebook’s business model. Its path to the top has not been easy, and it has been involved in multiple lawsuits that have threatened its existence, but it came out stronger, and the leadership learned a lot from those pitfalls. Facebook’s success can be broken down into essential factors, one of which being a defined growth strategy from day one.

By initially opening to Harvard students, then to other university students, and eventually to the public, the network sold itself, and Zuckerberg had a clear plan to increase the number of users.

Facebook offers a value proposition centered on improving personal and professional relationships. Facilitating the connection between friends encourages users to create a relationship network, which has been a critical enabler behind Facebook’s advertising over the years.

By collecting user preference data on the network, Facebook enabled marketers to target key demographics based on their preferences.

This way, marketing didn’t feel enforced as users related to the products and services shown on their feed. Lastly, we cannot underestimate the significance of their leader Mark Zuckerberg who has been an ever-present figure throughout Facebook’s journey.

He has demonstrated his strategic leadership skills or on several occasions, and he’s a good representation of what Facebook is today.

Benefits and Downsides of Case Studies

No matter how small or big it is, your business can employ this method to analyze some of the success stories and get more insight into the methods used while learning for the future. They are a valuable form of research for all industries and fields. Today, we will list some of the benefits and downsides of the case study method for businesses.

Advantages of Case Studies

Extensive study.

A case study is simply an intensive study of the subject matter. It involves investigation and exploration of an event thoroughly and deeply unearth the insights behind it. A well-done case study will give you an in-depth analysis of an event or situation, especially for subjects that cannot be recreated physically.

Businesses face problems where they come out stronger or worse depending on their approach. While it is easy for the people involved in such processes to reflect on what they did or what they did not do, others in the business might not have the privilege of knowing the internal processes that led to those decisions.

Here a case study can help unearth the defining moments in those processes and serve as an excellent lesson to others within the business and around the world.

Stimulates New Research

Case studies are good ways to trigger new research. In most cases, research is never conclusive, resulting in more questions than answers. A new case study can be completed, and if the findings are valuable, it can lead to more advanced research in that field. Today we credit most of the achievements across the globe to research built on to previous ones.

With every new solution comes a different problem, and the people taking up the challenges are better placed to do better research if the previous one was deep and full of insights.

Challenging Established Ideas

Most success stories today are founded on our predecessors’ theories and ideas. However, we should not be comfortable with those ideas and shut down our creative minds since the possibilities are endless. Case studies are an excellent way to question established ideas or theories by giving divergent ones or poking holes into the existing ones to pave the way for better and improved ideas.

Businesses can particularly leverage this advantage as they strive to increase their competitive advantage and improve the value proposition. Innovation as we know it is mainly credited to bold people that went on the extra step to challenge established ideas.

Provide New Insight

Case studies are the ideal tool to offer new insight. It is not easy to take a large group of people through the entire process used to develop something or arrive at a specific decision. A case study can help circulate this insight to the relevant parties and pass the learnings quickly to help handle similar situations better in future.

Businesspeople face so many problems that seem challenging and impossible. However, most of those challenges are conquered thanks to the blend of great people, tools, resources, and environments. Insights from such case studies can help highlight the importance of certain things in such business processes and then the elements required to improve the chances of success.

Disadvantages of Case Studies

Hard to replicate.

Case studies are suitable for the lessons, but they cannot be replicated. So many factors dictate the way things go, and some of them are outside your business control.

This way, the lessons applied from those case studies might not even be helpful to your current situation. People reading case studies need to be careful and understand this as it is easy to pick up things that will only derail you and not help you.

Possible Researcher Bias

Like any other research, some case studies are highly biased. All researchers have an objective when making a case study, and some do it to drive a certain point. A good case study should be done objectively by an independent party, but this it’s not always the case.

Bias can come in during the objective setting, data collection or data analysis. Regardless of where the best comes in, it will always make the case study lean towards a conclusion which can mislead the people reading it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: what does a great business case study include.

Answer: An excellent case study should pull readers to try and engage with it, and it includes; The who, i.e. the company in question The why, i.e. the reason why the case study is being written The when, i.e. the period the case study was done The products and services involved The challenge at hand The solution or lack thereof The conclusion and lessons to be learnt

Question: Why should I Read a Business Case Study?

Answer: The main reason to read a case study is to learn and understand how businesses approach different situations. Think of it as a learning session, where you widen your exposure and get more insight on how to approach your journey. Do not read case studies and try to replicate what other businesses do but be wise to borrow the good and avoid the bad for your benefit.

Look into the credibility of a case study if you wish to avoid some of the downsides, such as researcher bias and flawed data analysis.

Question: How is a Case Study Different from a Survey?

Answer: Both methods are used to collect information and derive meaningful conclusions. The key difference between the two is that case studies provide rich descriptive data and are often more comprehensive than surveys.

On the other hand, surveys are more statistically significant than case studies. The two can be used together as a case study can include results from a survey.

Some of the top case studies today have been listed above, and numerous others are available depending on the specific business area you need insight. Companies such as Coca Cola have different case studies highlighting how they overcame challenges and some of the mistakes they made over the years.

When looking for case studies, try to narrow it down to a topic that you think you need more insight on and find out the top ones there. As you run your business, case studies can be a great way to document some of your success stories and highlight the lessons for future reference.

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Archived Case Studies

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Below are the Top 30 most viewed case studies on Creativebrief.com during January 2024.

case studies of famous companies

IKEA 'The Wonderful Everyday'

By Mother London

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Vodafone • Elf and Seek

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Uber Eats 'The Art of Doing Less'

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KFC 'The World’s Least Appropriate Slogan'

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Activision | Call of Duty | Soap Codes

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When Pepsi Refreshed Christmas

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Women's Aid: He's Coming Home

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Royal Salute x Richard Quinn

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CALM - The Last Photo

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Lovers x Nike: a social campaign getting Gen Z to chat about sustainability

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A Decade of Busting the Myths About Cruising

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Three: Live Your Best Phone Life

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Very Gay Raptor

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Must Be World Land Trust

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Stonewall - #FIFAKISS

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The Pringles NPC

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W+K London x Lurpak

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Bringing the joy back to the home kitchen - AIA’s Content Strategy

By Curious Crab Productions

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Starbucks #WhatsYourName

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From financial experts to LinkedIn gurus overnight.

By Present Works

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BMW: The world's undisputed leader in luxury automotive.

By Critical Mass

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Vodafone • Elf and Seek

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Moving Bupa from Illness to Wellness

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Toyota x Undercover

case studies of famous companies

Socialising the power of an Invisalign smile

By Team Eleven

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Marmite - You Either Love it or Hate it

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Toronto Raptors - We The North

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How six companies are using technology and data to transform themselves

case studies of famous companies

The next normal: The recovery will be digital

A study referenced in the popular magazine Psychology Today concluded that it takes an average of 66 days for a behavior to become automatic. If that’s true, that’s good news for business leaders who have spent the past five months running their companies in ways they never could have imagined. The COVID-19 pandemic is a full-stop on business as usual and a launching pad for organizations to become virtual, digital-centric, and agile—and to do it all at lightning-fast speed.

Now, as leaders look ahead to the next year and beyond, they’re asking: How do we keep this momentum going? How do we take the best of what we’ve learned and put into practice throughout the pandemic, and make sure it’s woven into everything we do going forward? “Business leaders are saying that they’ve accomplished in 10 days what used to take them 10 months,” says Kate Smaje, a senior partner and global co-leader of McKinsey Digital . “That kind of speed is what’s unleashing a wave of innovation unlike anything we’ve ever seen.”

“The crisis has forced every company into a massive experiment in how to be more nimble, flexible, and fast.” Kate Smaje, senior partner, McKinsey & Company

That realization is coming not a moment too soon. Even before the global health crisis hit, 92 percent of company leaders surveyed by McKinsey thought that their business model would not remain viable at the rates of digitization at that time. The pandemic just put that whole scenario on steroids. The companies that are leading the way out of this crisis, the ones that will grab market share and set the tone and tempo for others, are the ones first out of the gate. “The fundamental reality is that the accelerating speed of digital means that we are increasingly living in a winner-take-all world,” Smaje says. “But simply going faster isn’t the answer. Rather, winning companies are investing in the tech, data, processes, and people to enable speed through better decisions and faster course corrections based on what they learn.”

Large incumbents who are winning the digital transformation battle get lots of things right. But McKinsey research has highlighted a few elements that really stand out:

  • Digital speed. Leading companies just operate faster, from reviewing strategies to allocating resources. For example, they reallocate talent and capital four times more quickly than their peers.
  • Ready to reinvent. While businesses need to maintain the profitable elements of their business, business as usual is a dangerous posture. Leading businesses are investing as much in upgrading the core of their business as they are in innovation, often by harnessing technology.
  • All in. These companies aren’t just making decisions faster; the decisions themselves are bolder. Two of the most important areas where this kind of commitment shines through are major acquisitions (leaders spend three times more than their peers) and capital bets (leaders spend two times what their peers do).
  • Data-driven decisions. “The road to recovery is paved with data,” Smaje says. Data is providing the fuel to power better and faster decisions. High-performing organizations are three times more likely than others to say their data and analytics initiatives have contributed at least 20 percent to EBIT (from 2016–19).
  • Customer followers. Being “customer centric” is well established. But competing pressures and priorities mean that the customer can often be sidelined. Top companies that sustain a comprehensive focus on the customer (in addition to operational and IT improvements) can generate economic gains ranging from 20 to 50 percent of the cost base.

The companies you’re going to meet here are adopting and deploying these digital strategies and approaches at warp speed. Aside from moving thousands of employees from the office, call center, and factory floor to home overnight, they’re using these technologies to rejigger supply chains, stand up entirely new e-commerce channels, and leverage AI and predictive analytics to unearth smarter and more sustainable ways to operate.

I have clients saying that they’ve accomplished in 10 days what used to take them 10 months. Kate Smaje, senior partner, McKinsey & Company

Speed of digital

Most people don’t think of real estate as a particularly tech-savvy sector, but RXR Realty is proving that assumption wrong. Even before the pandemic hit, the New York City–based commercial and residential real estate developer began investing in the digital capabilities that would set it apart from competitors. “Historically, real estate has been a very transactional business,” explains Scott Rechler, CEO of RXR. “We felt that by leveraging our digital skills, we could create a unique and personalized experience for our customers similar to what they’re used to in other aspects of their lives.”

Prior to the global health crisis, RXR had established a digital lab . The company now has more than 100 data scientists, designers, and engineers across the organization working on digital initiatives. The investment in those capabilities—an app that enables move scheduling, deliveries, dog walking, and rent payments on the residential side, and real-time analytics on heating, cooling, and floor space optimization for tenants on the commercial side—allowed RXR to pivot quickly once the pandemic hit. Suddenly, physical distancing and the need for contactless interactions became paramount for RXR’s tenants.

Today, this team is working around the clock to put in place the health and safety protocols that allow tenants to feel safe as they return to the office. Its platform—RxWell—includes a new mobile app that provides information about air quality and occupancy levels of a building, cleaning status, food delivery options, and shift times for worker arrivals. Employees have their temperatures taken via thermal scanners when they enter a building, and heat maps are available online that show how full a restroom or conference room is at any given time. “The investments we made in our digital capabilities before the pandemic are why we’re able to give people peace of mind now as they begin to return to work,” Rechler says.

Reinventing yourself

The exponential growth in digitization coupled with consumer dissatisfaction with traditional brick-and-mortar banking has been driving the launch of fintechs with amazing speed over the past decade. That fact wasn’t lost on investment banking giant Goldman Sachs, which launched Marcus by Goldman Sachs in 2016. Marcus, the firm’s digital consumer business is, as global head Harit Talwar likes to describe it, “a 150-year-old startup that allows people to take control of their financial lives from their phone.” Over the past four years, this digital-first business has grown deposits to $92 billion and $7 billion in lending balances through a combination of organic growth, acquisitions, and partnerships with the likes of Apple and Amazon. Marcus has millions of customers in the United States and United Kingdom.

Harwit Talwar, CEO, Marcus by Goldman Sachs

A digital-first philosophy, Talwar says, means that decisions on new products and services happen quickly. For instance, when the pandemic hit, Marcus realized that some of its customers were going to need assistance. The team decided to allow folks to defer payments on loans and credit cards for several months, without accruing interest. “The real news is not that we did this, but that we took just 72 hours from the time we realized customers needed help to when we rolled it out,” Talwar says. “We were able to do this because of our agile digital technology model.”

For Indonesian mining company Petrosea, the stakes involved in digital transformation were nothing less than survival. Industry changes, increased regulatory requirements, and society’s pushback on mining’s environmental footprint had culminated in what President Director Hanifa Indradjaya calls “an existential threat” for the company. “We’re not the biggest player in the industry, so that left us quite vulnerable,” he says. “If we were to survive, the status quo was not an option.”

In 2018, the company embarked on a three-pronged approach that addressed diversification away from coal, digitization, and decarbonization of its operations. At its Tabang project site, located in a remote area of East Kalimantan, Indonesia, the company employed a suite of advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) , smart sensors, and machine learning. The sensors enable predictive maintenance of its fleets of trucks, allowing the company to use fewer trucks and address breakdowns before they happen.

To move away from coal and toward copper, nickel, gold, and lithium—the minerals that are required as electrification of developing countries continues—the company is developing a suite of AI-enabled digital technologies to find these metals faster and more efficiently. Addressing its considerable reskilling needs—the majority of Tabang’s workers have no more than a high school education—resulted in the development of a mobile app with popular gamification elements, ensuring that employees would stay engaged and complete their training. The upshot: within six months, Tabang became one of the company’s most profitable operations by reducing costs and increasing production. “Technology enabled us to innovate our business model and remain relevant,” Indradjaya says. “A digital mindset now percolates through every aspect of the company.”

Data-driven decisions

Freeport-McMoRan is combining the power of AI and the institutional knowledge  of its veteran engineers and metallurgists to take its operations to another level. Harry “Red” Conger, chief operating officer of the Phoenix-based company, says real-time data is allowing Freeport to lower operating costs, stand more resilient in tough economic climates (and when commodity prices are falling) and make faster decisions. “A learn-fast culture means we put things into action,” he says. “We don’t sit around thinking about it.”

Harry “Red” Conger, COO, Freeport-McMoRan

Case in point: in 2018, Freeport was looking to add capacity at one of its more efficient copper mines—the sprawling complex in Bagdad, Arizona. A $200 million expansion plan, it figured, would enable the company to extract more copper from the site. But a few months later, copper prices dropped—and so, too, was the expensive expansion plan.

Quickly, the company figured out another way. Rather than a huge capital outlay, Freeport began building out an AI model that would allow it to wring more productivity out of the Bagdad site. Decades of mining data—what Conger calls “recipes”—had always dictated the mining process, including how machines and other equipment were run. Data scientists were now being brought in to challenge those long-standing processes.

“Our engineers thought that it was blasphemy that data scientists, who don’t know anything about metallurgy, were proposing that they knew how to run the plant better than they did,” Conger says. But what the AI data showed was that some of the historical recipes were limiting what Freeport was getting out of the Bagdad plant. “The AI model was telling us how much faster the equipment could be run and its maximum capacity,” he adds. By analyzing every aspect of the mining process, the AI models were showing what was possible.

The engineers and metallurgists worked hand in hand with the data scientists. Over the next few months, they began to trust more of the AI recommendations on how to optimize the Bagdad plant. Today, the mine’s processing rate is 10 percent higher than it’s ever been, Conger says, and this same agile AI model is being used at eight of the company’s other mines, including one in Peru that has five times the capacity of Bagdad. Says Conger: “I have people tell me this is the only way they want to work.”

A follow-the-customer mindset

One of the biggest transformations that’s occurred throughout the pandemic is how customers shop. Store closings pushed millions of consumers online, many for the first time. Adapting to this shift quickly and seamlessly became the order of the day for so many retailers the world over. Among them: Levi Strauss and Majid Al Futtaim Retail.

As a company that’s been around for more than 100 years, Levi Strauss knows how to pace itself. But the pandemic threw into overdrive initiatives that were planned out for later this year and beyond. Chief Financial Officer Harmit Singh says the San Francisco–based apparel company was ready. Investments in digital technologies, including AI and predictive analytics, before the pandemic hit allowed Levi’s to react quickly and decisively as consumers switched to e-commerce channels in droves.

To meet demand, the company began fulfilling online orders not just with merchandise in fulfillment centers but from its stores. Prior to the health crisis, Singh says it would have taken weeks or months to work out the logistics of such a move, but as the pandemic rolled across the country, Levi’s was able to accomplish the shift in a matter of days. It quickly launched curbside pickup at about 80 percent of its roughly 200 US-based stores. And while it launched its mobile app before the appearance of COVID-19, the company has leveraged it in creative ways to connect with consumers during the pandemic. “It was important for us to enhance our engagement and stay connected with customers who were at home,” he says.

Even before the global health crisis hit, 92 percent of company leaders surveyed by McKinsey thought that their business model would not remain viable at the rates of digitization at that time.

Last year, Levi’s began making investments in AI and data in order to get a better handle on when and how to run promotions. A campaign that ran in May throughout Europe was launched using information gleaned from an AI model and wound up driving sales that were five times higher than in 2019. “AI gives us the ability to quickly transform data and facts into action,” Singh says. “We’re using this intelligence alongside our own consumer expertise and judgment to drive better results.”

Majid Al Futtaim, the Dubai-based conglomerate that operates the Carrefour grocery chain in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, was building its digital muscle long before COVID-19. It decided back in 2015 that it needed to be as prominent online as it is in its 315 brick-and-mortar stores across 16 countries, says Hani Weiss, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Retail. The company was making progress, but Weiss says there was little urgency to move any faster.

Then the pandemic hit. Online grocery orders for the company exploded, and they are now 400 percent higher than what they were in 2019. “The pandemic pushed us to accelerate our digital transformation,” Weiss says. “We are implementing in the coming 18 months things we originally said we wanted to achieve in five years.”

To accommodate increased online shopping demand, the company quickly converted some physical stores to fulfillment centers. When data showed that more capacity was needed, logistics managers quickly arranged to have a 54,000-square-foot online fulfillment center tent erected and operational in five weeks. Complete with rooms for frozen and chilled food, the facility stocks more than 8,000 items and is now handling 3,000 online orders a day, making it the latest and largest of 75 fulfillment centers launched this year.

Weiss says the company expanded delivery services through initiatives such as Click and Collect, redesigned its app to make it easier for customers to use, and launched contactless payment options such as Mobile Scan and Go in its stores, which allow customers to scan items on, and pay with, their smartphones. It also launched an online marketplace with 420,000 new products from other retailers whose stores were closed during the lockdown, enabling them to continue to sell their products online.

“No matter how our customers want to shop, we can be there for them,” Weiss says. “We developed this agility through the pandemic, and I want to keep it as we go forward.”

The road ahead will certainly have challenges, these leaders acknowledge. But there’s also a tremendous amount of hope because of the doors that a digital-first strategy can open. “The companies that are winning aren’t making incremental improvements,” Smaje says. “They’re harnessing technology to reimagine how business runs and committing resources at sufficient scale to make sure the change sticks.”

Go behind the scenes and get more insights with “ Kate Smaje: Why businesses must act faster than ever on digitization ” from our New at McKinsey blog.

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12 Case Studies of Companies that Revised How They Compensate Employees

A person is handing a check to another person.

S HRM has partnered with ChiefExecutive.net to bring you relevant articles on key HR topics and strategies.

Higher compensation is part of the ransom for dealing with the pandemic for most American companies and industries. So salaries, wages, benefits and perks will cost them more—perhaps a lot more—in the year ahead.

The way CEOs and CHROs can make sure the Great Raise works to their companies' advantage is to be proactive, creative and equitable about it. Yet they also must weigh strategically the demands of the moment with their long-term compensation strategy.

"This is a time for real balance when it comes to how you deal with retention and attraction," said Paul Knopp, chair and CEO of KPMG US. "We all have to make sure we meet the market when it comes to base compensation, but the market has changed in a way that you also have to look at those benefits that are most attractive to employees for their careers."

While median full-time earnings of $1,001 per week in the third quarter of 2021 were nearly 9% higher than two years earlier, according to the Labor Department, expectations for 2022 remain frothy given the tight market for talent, the free-agent ethos encouraged by remote work, the geographic reshuffling of workers and decades-high inflation. U.S. wages will increase by 3.9 percent in 2022, according to the Conference Board, the highest rate since 2008.

The compensation surge is occurring at the high end, at a low end that's getting higher and everywhere in between. Goldman Sachs, for example, is offering paid leave for pregnancy loss and expanding the amount of time employees can take for bereavement leave while also boosting its retirement-fund matching contributions for U.S. employees to 6% of total compensation, or 8% for those making $125,000 a year or less.

Meanwhile, at Tyson Foods' chicken-processing plant in New Holland, Pa., the company has started offering a three-day workweek, plus pay for a fourth day that retains employees' status as full-time workers. Just for good measure, Tyson has created a $3,000 sign-on bonus for new hires.

"We're in a bidding war for talent that will go on for a long time," said Alan Beaulieu, president of ITR Economics.

For CEOs and CHROs, several new factors demand their attention along with the overall spike in compensation. They include:

  • The end of retention. The "idea of a long-term commitment to one employer has been dead for a while, but it's really dead now," said Dave Roberson, CEO of the RoseRyan financial consulting firm. "You must have a stream of people. Assume you're going to be replacing people. So how do you keep the people you have, if you can, but also bring the next group in?"
  • High-balling. A deal to recruit someone may not really be a deal these days. "You've made an offer and you think you've got a hire, and then they're asking for $5,000 or $10,000 more," said David Lewis, CEO of OperationsInc, an HR consulting firm. "Now you have to ask yourself what makes more sense strategically: say no and hold the line and lose the candidate and restart the process, not knowing how that will work out? Blow up your compensation structure? Or as a Band-Aid, give that person a sign-on bonus in hopes that the package will get them in the door?"
  • Need for equalization. Recruiting with higher compensation also requires boosting pay and benefits for retention. "You need to be mindful of what you're paying others in the organization and understand the detrimental impact it will have when you bring someone in alongside a tenured employee," Lewis said. "Operate on the idea that everyone's salary is basically posted on the pantry door in your office."
  • A focus on mental health. The pandemic, anti-contagion measures and the takeover of remote work has left many Americans isolated, confused, lonely—or at least disjointed. And they expect their employers to help them cope and adjust.

"Mental health is a real thing, regardless of how [a previous generation of leaders] feel and what we did," said Jeffrey Immelt, former CEO of General Electric. "Particularly post-Covid, it's something worth your time to try to understand."

Many Fortune 500 companies already offered mental-health benefits, but by now "mental health is just a place setter: You've got to have it in place to be competitive in the market today, across the board," said Richard Chaifetz, founder and CEO of ComPsych, a large provider of employee-assistance programs. "Companies understand the importance of keeping their people functioning at the highest level."

Codility, for example, has begun supplying all employees with 27 days of paid time off per year plus four mental-health days, which don't have to be approved. "We're offering these days in addition to personal-time-off days to recognize and bring to light the importance of mental health," said Natalia Panowicz, CEO of the platform that evaluates the skills of software engineers, with its U.S. hub in San Francisco.

CHRO360.com asked a dozen CEOs, CHROs and other top executives about their compensation strategies and practices for 2022. Here are some of their ideas:

Let Them Name Their Salary

Chris kovalik, ceo, rushdown revolt, a video-game maker in new york city.

We started as 12 part-timers, mostly people who were giving me their moonlight hours. That's not a lot different from now, except now we have 75 people. The magic of what we do is that we don't recruit anybody. We're just a magnet. We let people come to us.

When it comes to compensation, some say they wanted to volunteer, that they weren't expecting compensation. But we never, ever allow people to volunteer their time for us. So we say our company minimum wage is $15 an hour, and if you insist, we can pay you that per hour.

But generally people come to us with an expectation of compensation because they see that we're making money. When compensation came up, we'd say, "I don't know what your skill set is. I've never hired you before. How much do you think you're worth, and how much do you need?"

If every hour we're compensating them for the amount of money they want and need, if someone is part-time and only giving me 10 hours a week, I'd argue that they're giving me their best 10 hours. Because they're getting paid what they want and doing things that they want to be attached to and be part of.

There's no pattern to the compensation requests. If their number is too low, we'll say, "Are you sure? Are you just giving me a low-ball number I'll say yes to?" If it's high, I don't talk them down, but I ask them to justify it, and if the justification isn't adequate, what I say is, "How long do you think you'll need to prove that justification? Two to three weeks? Then let's pay you two-third to three-quarters of what you asked, and if you prove it, we'll go up to whatever you said."

Tailor Package for Youth Appeal

Ronald hall jr., ceo, bridgewater interiors, an auto-seat maker in detroit.

We enjoyed very low turnover pre-Covid, but during the last two years we have had to replace probably one-third of our workforce at our largest facility, about the same number from termination as voluntary. So we've had to work harder than ever to recruit.

Our most-tenured employees, who are the most highly trained, have had to pick up the slack, working record amounts of overtime and less-predictable production schedules.

In our upcoming negotiations with the United Auto Workers, we're trying to emphasize short-term bonuses rather than wage increases that get baked into our costs. But we have continued health insurance through the pandemic as well as our tuition-reimbursement program, and many employees have thanked me for that.

What I am hearing from new employees is that they're not as interested in benefits but rather in higher cash wages. We've long touted benefits like our generous 401(k) matching and better medical coverage versus our peers, but we're finding that doesn't resonate as readily now as it did a decade ago. So I've asked my team: Should we be looking at some kind of hybrid model of offering higher wages to people who want those and move those dollars from the benefits side to the wages side?

We've also looked at providing childcare in a partnering arrangement where there could be a center developed near our facilities, and we would arrange for some sort of company subsidy or guarantee some level of attendance. The challenge with that is the auto industry runs around the clock, and you'd need a daycare provider who'd be committed to opening around the clock and provide legal, regulated, benchmark-standard levels of care to all those children in the off hours.

Equalize as You Acquire

Diane dooley, chro, world insurance, a business and personal insurer in tinton falls, n.j..

We onboarded about 800 employees in 2021 through acquisitions of small agencies and organic growth, but there had been no compensation modeling. Now we're building out our compensation philosophy with commission plans, incentives and bonuses, centralizing components and ensuring we have the right framework.

When we do an acquisition, we might retain their compensation model for a year or two years then slowly migrate, but make sure employees aren't taking a cut in pay. We are also capitalizing commissions into base compensation—identifying what commissions would have been and what they will be, and recognizing roles that are moving away from a commission base.

Some agencies we acquire are smaller and may be below-market for total compensation. Now we're addressing those concerns. They need to be more front and center. We must do everything to retain our employee population. If they're woefully underpaid, or not at market, we risk losing people, and we don't want to do that.

Educating the owners of some of the agencies [we acquire] is a piece of this. As we partner with them, we are evaluating them and asking, "Did you give people an increase this year?" We're not telling them what to do but providing guidance about what to do.

We're also modifying and increasing our benefits, such as giving employees pet insurance. And making counteroffers is a critical piece today, usually for high-end employees. They work better than they used to because not a lot of people really want to make a move in this environment.

Innovate for the New World

Jason medley, chief people officer, codility, a provider of skill-evaluation software in london.

We really have to step back and be innovative and force ourselves to change. The companies that are going to win are going to be more progressive early and not fighting what's happening.

One thing we've done is change our outdated compensation models that give higher pay to employees living in tech hubs like San Francisco and New York and lower compensation for areas inside the coasts. Now, we've created a United States-wide salary band, so no matter where you live, the compensation is based on the role, not the location. You can go live and work wherever you want to.

We decided to approach compensation through a very human lens. People have seasonality in life, and maybe they are caregivers at different moments and want to live in different places. We want to be as flexible as possible, and this country band gives us that flexibility.

We are starting to see the same thing in Europe, where we have our headquarters in London and offices in Berlin and Warsaw, and employees all over, especially in Poland. People are wanting to live in the countryside of Spain but demanding a London salary. So we are transitioning to one European Union band and saying, "Here is your rate—live where you want to."

We are also seeing that with global warming, it's harder to get work done for people on the west coast of the U.S. and in Europe, because they didn't build homes with air conditioning. If you're sitting in a house at 90 degrees with no air conditioning, there's no way your performance is the same as someone with AC. Supplementing air conditioning isn't something we thought about before, but now we're very much having to look at those things.

Stay Ahead of Expectations

Traci tapani, ceo, wyoming machine, a sheet-metal fabricator in stacy, minn..

Our wages have gone up by about 20% for the typical worker. When I found people I could hire, I knew they were being brought in at an hourly rate that was too high for what I was paying my incumbent workers.

My strategy has been to be proactive about that and not wait for [existing] employees to say something about it or give them a reason to look for another job. We're proactively making wage adjustments to make sure our incumbent workers are in line.

Employees will leave for more money, so they're very appreciative of it. But in my shop, I also know that people like working here, and I know they don't want to leave. I don't want to give them a reason. If they can get an increase in pay that's substantial, I know that I can cut them off at the pass. Retaining my workforce is my No. 1 strategy. They're already here, and I'm going to do everything I can to keep them.

For that reason, we've also been more generous as time has gone on with paid time off, offering it sooner than we once would have, especially for new workers. We recognize that it's healthy for people to be away from work and also, in the pandemic, people need to be away from work. Knowing they have some paid time off makes it easier for them.

Leverage Benefits for DE&I

Mark newman, ceo, chemours, a chemical manufacturer in wilmington, del..

In general our company hasn't seen the Great Resignation. And in fact, we continue to believe our focus on being a great place to work is serving us well, along with appropriate benchmarking on compensation issues.

Chemours  is  a great place to work. We survey our employees every year, to improve our working environment from a compensation and benefits perspective. Also, from the [diversity, equity and inclusion] perspective, we're trying to make sure we tap into the full breadth of talent in our industry.

That means, for instance, we are helping people more with college loans. We are offering same-sex [marriage] benefits. We are providing more family leave for people who have kids. There is clearly an aspect of our benefits package that is evolving to be consistent with our strategy of making Chemours a great place to work.

Overall, we view compensation as something where we want to be either in the median or upper quartile. It's something we're very focused on from both a wage as well as benefit level. From Covid, there's been no fundamental change as it relates to us wanting to be in the median to top quartile.

We've had to make some local adjustments where the labor market is more super-charged. For example, we see a lot of that in the Gulf Coast region, especially with oil prices coming back, and petrochemicals and refining. But it's very much a regional factor. So if industries are moving to a certain region, like the South, you have to make sure you stay current with local benchmarks.

Offer Skin in the Game

Cesar herrera, ceo, yuvo health, a healthcare administrator in new york city.

We're a year-old company that provides tech-enabled administrative solutions for community health centers across the U.S. that are specifically focused on providing primary-care services for low-income individuals. We have a team of about 10 people right now, and we have a number of open roles and positions where we're likely going to be tripling the size of our team in 2022.

Google can compensate well above the market rate. We don't have that since we're an early-stage organization. What we do have as levers aren't up-front financial compensation but equity, support in your role and a relatively flat organization where you can have significant autonomy.

A lot of individuals are going to be driven by the mission; that's the case with the entire founding team. We've made sacrifices to create this organization. So you can come in at a meaningful position with a lot of decision-making.

But one of the biggest carrots we can give is, if you accept the lower pay and the risk that comes with an early-stage organization, you can have meaningful equity in the company. We have an options pool which is not to exceed 10% ownership of the organization, and as we grow and scale, we increase that options pool. For senior-level leaders, we do expect to be able to distribute up to 10% of the company to them.

Pay Extra for Continuity

Corey stowell, vice president of human resources, webasto americas, a maker of automotive sunroofs in auburn hills, mich..

We had to recruit for several hundred new openings at a brand-new facility right at the beginning of the pandemic. So we instituted an attendance bonus. For those who worked all their hours in a week, we paid an additional $3 an hour. We really had to keep it short-term, so we paid it weekly. If you wanted to pay it every month, you couldn't do it, because people needed that instant gratification.

Otherwise they could get it on unemployment. With our pay rate, they could earn more to stay at home and collect unemployment, a significant amount more than they could earn than working for us. So we also had to increase our wages, and we increased them by more than 20% in some classifications [in the summer of 2020].

We've filled all of our positions, but it's still a challenging market. We've had to increase all our wages, with the lowest for a position being $17 an hour, on up to $30 an hour.

We also have offered stay bonuses of $500 a month for three consecutive months, up to $1,500. And for hourly employees we've instituted a different attendance policy, where they can earn two hours of paid personal time for so many hours that they work consecutively with no attendance issues.

The key is the schedule—we can prepare and get someone to cover. That's easier to do than just managing whoever's going to come in today. In this environment, that really has changed with our workforce, and it's tough to rely on our current workforce.

Give Them the Keys

Elliott rodgers, chief people officer, project44, a freight-tracking software provider in chicago.

We have equipped and subsidized a van that we call Romeo, which employees can use to combine work with personal uses like family road trips. We cover the cost of the rental. It's a luxury van that comes equipped with a bed, a toilet and shower, Wi-Fi, device charging and a desktop workspace. And it's pet friendly.

We started it as a pilot project and reservations were full within 10 minutes of when we posted it internally. Then we extended it into 2022. By the end of 2021, more than 20 unique team members completed or nearly completed reservations. They've ventured out to places spanning Mount Rushmore and the Badlands; Rocky Mountain National Park; Salem, Mass.; and Pennsylvania. A pretty broad number of places.

It's something we're really proud of. It allows our team members the opportunity to work in a lot of different places while still being connected to us. And they've appreciated the opportunities to stay connected, but also be connected in other ways with nature and other places in the world. They can maintain their perspective while also continuing to contribute to their role in a productive way.

When you place a team member at the center of what they'd want in an experience like that, the value of it answers itself. It creates a comfort level where it provides the necessities for you to be able to continue to work, and you can work from anywhere. It's the best of both worlds. It's one thing to find that on your own but another to have that accessible to you via work, but done in a way that caters to you.

Help Them Come, Go—and Stay

Aamir paul, country president - u.s., schneider electric, a maker of electrical distribution and control products in andover, mass..

With our knowledge workforce, it's been about intentional flexibility. So, for instance, we launched a "returnship" program for women who'd left the workforce but might want to come back even at reduced hours. That means 20, 30, up to 40 hours a week, and we're finding some incredibly talented people who haven't been in the workforce.

This program is available to men as well. If there's a field engineer who's been in the electrical industry for 35 years and he's now retiring, but he's five years from getting his medical benefits, we say: Don't retire. Go on the program. Work 20 hours a week. Work from home. We'll reduce your pay proportionally, but we will couple you with three university hires, and they will call you on Microsoft Teams and show you what's happening on the job site, and you're going to walk them through it. Work just three days a week. We'll cover your benefits.

We've also expanded the parental leave policy, which already was one of the best in the industrial sector. And we created a way for people to buy more time off without having to leave their positions. They apply for more unpaid time off and we allow them to retain their position and seniority and allow them to work through whatever life event it is.

We landed on six weeks for the maximum. In the most intense industries—such as a fighter pilot or a surgeon—they've found that six weeks of being out of the rotation allows them to re-set. So that's what we did. Before, the limit was two weeks.

Give Sway to Local Management

Tom salmon, ceo, berry global, a maker of plastic packaging in evansville, ind..

We've got to be competitive in all the geographies we serve. We have 295 sites around the world and manage our employees in those sites geographically. Every geography will be a different labor environment. There are different criteria that employees are looking for. It's not just about wages but taking everything into consideration.

We let local management handle things with their insight about wages and competition. They're hearing directly from employees about what they like and don't like, what they want more of and less of. It's a site-by-site discussion.

For example, at some sites, it may be important for employees to be able to access the internet at lunch; at other sites, they may not value that as much. Some want a more advanced locker facility, with different shower facilities. That includes the southwestern United States, where the temperatures are warmer; but in New England, some might not want that.

In any event, if you treat these things locally, you're going to be able to affect that local population and address the need of that geography. If you blanket something across our entire plant population, you may provide something that's not desired or needed.

We depend on our local management to respond to the different demands in terms of compensation and benefits at their sites. The better the front-line leadership is, and the more satisfied their team is, the higher our retention rate and productivity and safety performance. So these leaders participate in profit-sharing plans for those respective sites, because they have a great influence on the success of a given facility.

Focus Benefits on Flexibility

Paul knopp, chair and ceo, kpmg us, a financial consulting firm in new york.

We announced a new package of enhancements to our benefits and compensation, tied to mental, physical, social and financial well-being. These increases are the biggest in the history of the company. You have to make sure your base compensation meets the market, but you also must have attractive benefits.

For example, we cut healthcare premiums by 10% for 2022 with no change in benefit levels, and we introduced healthcare advocacy services. We are replacing our current 401(k) match and pension programs with a single, automatic company-funded contribution within the plan that's equal to 6% to 8% of eligible pay.

As part of this, we're focusing on the crucial element of ensuring that employees know you're watching out for them. They also are looking for flexibility—you don't want to under-index on how important that is. So we also are providing up to three weeks additional caregiver leave, separate and apart from PTO. And all parents will receive 12 weeks of paid parental leave, in addition to disability leave for employees who give birth, allowing some up to 22 weeks of paid leave. We also have expanded our holiday calendar to now include Juneteenth.

Dale Buss is a long-time contributor to Chief Executive, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and other business publications. He lives in Michigan.

This article is adapted from www.ChiefExecutive.net with permission from Chief Executive. C 2022. All rights reserved.

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Top 40 Most Popular Case Studies of 2019

In the 2019 top 40 list, cases centered around food dominated the top 10, with the 2016 Coffee case retaining the top spot.

According to the Yale School of Management Case Research and Development Team (SOM CRDT) 2019 top 40 list, cases centered around food dominated the top 10, with the 2016 Coffee case retaining the top spot, a case on Cadbury taking second, and a case about Shake Shack taking third. A 2018 case about the Volkswagen emissions scandal made the Top 40 this year, shooting up to number four. Cases about Aadhaar , India’s universal ID project, the Nathan Cummings Foundation’s move to all-impact investing , business efforts to bridge the divide between Israel and Palestine , and New Haven’s own 360 State Street development all joined the list this year. Other popular topics in the top 10 include the marketing of financial services, organizational structure, and entrepreneurship.

SOM CRDT compiled its third annual Top 40 list by combining data from publishers, Google Analytics, direct sales, and other measures of interest and adoption. Other year-end data for 2019 showed:

  • Over 30K users from 161 countries viewed 133 “raw” cases online.
  • Just over a third of raw case users were from the U.S.
  • Customers purchased 127 different case titles from the online store.
  • Twenty-five percent of this year’s cases in the top 40 featured women protagonists.
  • Traffic to the SOM CRDT case directory increased by 30% over 2018, with almost 150K page views.
  • Sixty percent of those who perused the SOM case directory were from outside the U.S.
  • The top 40 cases were supervised by 33 different Yale SOM faculty members.

All cases listed here are available for purchase through our online store . 

The top 10 cases of 2019 included:

#1 - Coffee 2016

Faculty Supervision: Todd Cort

Coffee 2016 asks students to consider the coffee supply chain and generate ideas for what can be done to equalize returns across various stakeholders. The case draws a parallel between coffee and wine. Both beverages encourage connoisseurship, but only wine growers reap a premium for their efforts to ensure quality, while coffee farmers barely eke out an existence. The case describes the history of coffee production across the world, the rise of the “third wave” of coffee consumption in the developed world, the efforts of the Illy Company to help coffee growers, and the differences between “fair” trade and direct trade. Faculty have found the case provides a wide canvas to discuss supply chain issues, examine marketing practices, and encourage creative solutions to business problems.

#2 - Cadbury: An Ethical Company Struggles to Insure the Integrity of Its Supply Chain

Faculty Supervision: Ira Millstein

The case describes revelations that the production of cocoa in the Côte d’Ivoire involved child slave labor. These stories hit Cadbury especially hard. Cadbury's culture had been deeply rooted in the religious traditions of the company's founders, and the organization had paid close attention to the welfare of its workers and its sourcing practices. The US Congress was considering legislation that would allow chocolate grown on certified plantations to be labeled “slave labor free,” painting the rest of the industry in a bad light. Chocolate producers had asked for time to rectify the situation, but the extension they negotiated was running out. Students are asked whether Cadbury should join with the industry to lobby for more time?  What else could Cadbury do to ensure its supply chain was ethically managed?

#3 - Shake Shack IPO

Faculty Supervision: Jake Thomas and Geert Rouwenhorst

From an art project in a New York City park, Shake Shack developed a devoted fan base that greeted new Shake Shack locations with cheers and long lines. When Shake Shack went public on January 30, 2015, investors displayed a similar enthusiasm. Opening day investors bid up the $21 per share offering price by 118% to reach $45.90 at closing bell. By the end of May, investors were paying $92.86 per share. Students are asked if this price represented a realistic valuation of the enterprise and if not, what was Shake Shack truly worth? The case provides extensive information on Shake Shack’s marketing, competitors, operations and financials, allowing instructors to weave a wide variety of factors into a valuation of the company.

#4 - Volkswagen: Engineering a Disaster

Faculty Supervision: David Bach

In September 2015, Volkswagen admitted to installing defeat switches in their diesel cars to fool environmental regulators. The fraud could cost the company billions in fines and lost revenues, leaving all to wonder, "How could this have happened?" The case considers the company’s history and culture, as well as looking at how regulatory environments in Europe and the U.S. differed. What combination of these factors led to this wide-spread ethical disaster?

#5 - Netflix

Faculty Supervision: Arthur Swersey

The case describes how Netflix optimized the rental of DVDs by mail to become a major media company. In 2007, the company faced two challenges. The first was increased competition in the DVD-by-mail business. The second was challenges from various streaming services. For all its operational savvy, had Netflix’s time passed?

#6 - Ant Financial

Faculty Supervision: K. Sudhir in cooperation with Renmin University of China School of Business

In 2015, Ant Financial’s MYbank (an offshoot of Jack Ma’s Alibaba company) was looking to extend services to rural areas in China by providing small loans to farmers. Microloans have always been costly for financial institutions to offer to the unbanked (though important in development) but MYbank believed that fintech innovations such as using the internet to communicate with loan applicants and judge their creditworthiness would make the program sustainable. Students are asked whether MYbank could operate the program at scale? Would its big data and technical analysis provide an accurate measure of credit risk for loans to small customers? Could MYbank rely on its new credit-scoring system to reduce operating costs to make the program sustainable? What are the social costs of introducing credit scoring to China?

#7 - Mastercard

Faculty Supervision: Ravi Dhar, Vineet Kumar, and Amy Wrzesniewski

When Raja Rajamannar became Mastercard's CMO in 2013, the company had already created one of the most successful brand-building campaigns in history. Yet he decided to substantially change the marketing strategy – and transform his department. The case examines the premises behind “experience marketing” and considers the dynamics of a department where traditional marketers must work with new internet marketers who bring new skills and sensibilities.

#8 - Golden Agri Resources and Sustainability

Golden Agri, a major Indonesian palm oil producer and exporter, and Greenpeace reached an unprecedented agreement to limit deforestation in Indonesia in 2012. But would the agreement survive and increase sustainability standards in the palm oil industry?

#9 - AgBiome

Faculty Supervision: James Baron

Can a company grow while eschewing hierarchy in favor of commitment? From its founding, AgBiome has adopted a flat structure, where committees of employees make the key decisions. The case describes the structures and principles that make this agricultural R&D firm run. With a few successful innovations under its belt, can the company grow while maintaining its commitment model?

#10 - Bovard and Majid

Faculty Supervision: AJ Wasserstein

Lia Majid had spent nearly a year and a half searching for a business to acquire and thought she’d finally found a deal worth pursuing. She spent months negotiating with the firm’s sellers and believed she was on the verge of a purchase. However, at the last minute, her backers and mentors at the Search Fund Accelerator (SFA) wanted her to completely restructure the deal. Faced with their concerns, Majid had to decide whether to re-engage the target firm or move on to investigate other prospects.

Complete list of the 40 Most Popular Case Studies of 2019

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Click on the case title to learn more about the dilemma. A selection of our most popular cases are available for purchase via our online store .

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The 7 Best Business Strategy Examples I've Ever Seen

Download our free 56 Strategies Ebook Download this ebook

Most entrepreneurs dream of an innovative product or service that surprises their rivals and takes new markets by storm. What they tend to forget is that there needs to be an excellent business strategy accompanying the product. 

I get it - it’s not nearly as interesting to fantasize about a competitive strategy. Yet without it, even genius products can quickly drown in the harsh business sea. Most strategies fail. A sobering 9 out of 10 organizations fail to execute their strategy.

Free Download Download our 56 Strategies Ebook Download this ebook

I’ve already written about the 5 worst business strategy examples of all time and why many strategies fail . But today, we’ll flip the script and take a look at products and strategies that delighted their target customers and wildly exceeded initial business goals.

From Tesla, Airbnb, and Toyota to Hubspot, Apple, and Paypal - let’s dive into their business strategies and see why these 7 are the best ones I’ve ever seen:

  • Tesla - Playing the long game
  • Airbnb - Forgetting all about scalability
  • Toyota - Humility can be the best business strategy
  • HubSpot - Creating an industry then dominating it
  • Apple - iPhone launch shows tremendous restraint
  • PayPal - Daring to challenge the status quo
  • Spotify - Changing the rules of the music industry

But before we get into these business strategy examples, let's briefly go over some of the basics...

What is a business strategy?

A business strategy , also known as a company strategy, is a crucial aspect of running a successful business. It is a defined plan of action that outlines the direction a business wants to take and defines how the plan will cascade through the organization by the allocation of resources. The importance of a business strategy cannot be overstated as it sets the direction for the entire organization and helps to align all employees towards a common goal . Overall, a business strategy serves as a roadmap for a company, guiding its actions and decisions to achieve its goals and stay competitive in the marketplace. 

👉 If you have any unanswered questions about business strategies, check our FAQs at the end of this article! 

🎁 Struggling to build your Business Strategy? Use our free customizable  Business Strategy Template to easily develop and execute it!

Best business strategies #1: Tesla Playing the long game

Conventional business logic is that when you're starting something new, you create a 'Minimal Viable Product' or MVP.

Essentially that means that you make a version of your product that is very light in terms of functionality and focuses mostly on showcasing your main competitive advantage.

It also means that the first version of your product usually has to be sold at a reasonably low starting price to compensate for its lack of features and generate interest.

Some organizations (including many tech startups) take this concept even further and base their growth strategy around a freemium pricing model . In this business model, the most basic version of the product or service is free, but any new or upgraded features cost money. 

Tesla, on the other hand, did things the other way around. It's been known for a long time that Tesla's long-term goal is to be the biggest car company in the world. They know that in order to become the biggest by volume, they're going to have to succeed in the lower-end consumer car space (price tag US$30,000 or less).

But Tesla did not focus on this market first. It did not create a cheap low-featured version of their electric car (and therefore benefit from economies of scale ).

Instead, Tesla created the most luxurious, expensive, fully-featured sports car they could afford. That car was the Tesla Roadster, and for context, the newest generation of the Roadster will retail from upwards of US$200,000 for the base model. 

This was the first car they ever produced - knowing that they couldn't achieve the necessary scale or efficiency to turn a profit (even at such a high price). However, such a car was in-line with Tesla’s vision statement where they aim “to create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.”

Fast-forward to today, and Tesla dwarfs the competition as the most valuable car company in the world. So their differentiation strategy certainly seems to be working, but why?

most valuable brands within the automotive sector worldwide as of 2022, by brand value(in billion U.S. dollars) source statista

What can we learn from Tesla?

The first thing to note is that Tesla has made incredible progress towards its business objective of mass-produced, affordable electric cars. They've even made a genuine annual profit for the first time in their history. 

Secondly, much of Tesla's business strategy was actually forced upon it. There was no way they could have created a cost-effective mass-market electric car.

As a startup, they didn’t have the resources or capabilities to reap the benefits of economies of scale. Because they were creating such a unique car, they couldn't rely on outsourcing or suppliers to gain mass-production benefits.

Fortunately, Tesla's supply chain strategy is one of the most brilliant moves they've made. They knew early on that batteries would present the biggest technological hurdle to their cars and the biggest bottleneck to production.

Rather than let this derail them, they took complete control of their supply chain by investing in battery manufacturers. This has the additional benefit of simplifying diversification as Tesla can use those same batteries in parallel business ventures such as their Powerwall.

Of course, Tesla’s business strategy required vast capital and fundraising (Elon is rich but not quite rich enough to fund it all himself). That's where the marketing genius of Tesla kicks in. 

For the most part, their marketing efforts are only partially about their cars. Tesla is seen as Elon Musk's personal brand, and that had an enormous impact on whether or not they got the investment they needed.

He's smart, divisive, wild, and ambitious. But whatever you think about Elon Musk, you'd be hard-pressed to traverse more than a couple of consecutive news cycles without seeing him on the front page. And that's a fantastic recipe for getting the attention of investors.

Tesla studied and adapted to the industry and business environment they would operate in. They knew their strengths, understood their market position, and built their strategy around their own findings instead of following conventional wisdom.

👉 Use the Tesla Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Tesla's Strategy to build your own!

📚Learn more about Tesla in our Strategy Study: How Tesla Became The World’s Most Valuable Automotive Company.

Best business strategies #2: Airbnb Forgetting all about scalability

Airbnb is one of the fastest-growing tech companies. Shortly after their IPO in December 2020, they reached a US$100B+ valuation, and the company has quite possibly changed the way we travel forever. But did you know they started out about as low-tech as you can get?

It all began with co-founders Brian and Joe renting out 3 air mattresses on their apartment’s floor. They made $80 per guest. It seemed like a great idea for a startup, so they launched a website and invited other people to list their own mattresses for hire.

They got a few bookings here and there, but things didn't go well for the most part. So much so that in 2008, they resorted to selling cereal to make ends meet.

They had plenty of listings on the site and plenty of site traffic. Potential customers were out there, but they weren’t making enough bookings.

They identified the most likely problem - the low quality of listings that were simply not enticing. So Brian and Joe decided to take matters into their own hands.

The co-founders grabbed their cameras and visited every one of their NYC listings. They persuaded the owners to let them take a ton of photographs of their places.

They touched them up a bit and uploaded them to the website, replacing the old, usually bad photos. Within a month of starting this strategy, sales doubled. Then tripled. The rest is history.

best business strategies airbnb

What can we learn from Airbnb?

The thing I love the most about this story is that it opposes one of the most commonly stated principles of building a tech startup - “everything must be scalable” .

What Brian and Joe did was anything but scalable. But it got them enough traction to prove that their concept could work. 

Later, they did scale their initial solution by hiring young photographers in major locations and paying them to take professional photos of owners’ listings (at no charge to the owner).

They also added a bunch of guidelines and articles on the site to educate owners on how they can make more money by taking better photos.

Airbnb's story shows that business strategies don’t have to be grand and super long-term affairs.

They can revolve around a specific challenge preventing the business from taking off. Once the challenge is solved, the company progresses on its roadmap and integrates the solution into the revamped business strategy.

airbnb quarterly revenue 2019 to 2022 ($mm)

Source: Airbnb third quarter 2022 financial results

👉 Use the Airbnb Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Airbnb's Strategy to build your own!

Best business strategies #3: Toyota Humility can be the best business strategy

In 1973, the 'Big Three' car makers in the USA had over 82% of the market share. Today they have less than 50%. Why? Because of the aggressive (and unexpected) entry of Japanese carmakers into the US market in the 1970s - led by Toyota.

Cars are big, heavy, and expensive to ship around in large numbers. That's one of the reasons the US market was caught off guard when Toyota started selling Japanese-made cars in the US at lower prices than they could match.

The car industry was a huge contributor to the US economy, so one of the first reactions from the government was the implementation of protectionist taxes on all imported cars - thus making Japanese cars as expensive as locally made cars.

But the tactic failed. Within a few years, Toyota had managed to establish production on US soil, thus eliminating the need to pay any of the hefty new import taxes. At first, US carmakers weren't all that worried.

Surely by having to move production to the US, the costs for the Japanese carmakers would be roughly the same as those of the local car companies. 

Well, that didn't happen. Toyota continued its cost leadership strategy. It still manufactured cars for significantly less money than US companies could.

Their finely honed production processes were so efficient and lean that they could beat US carmakers at their own game. You've probably heard of the notion of ' continuous improvement '. In manufacturing, Toyota is pretty much synonymous with the term.

US Car Sales Graph- January through May 2021 vs 2020

us car sales graph 2020 to 2021

Source: GOODCARBADCAR

What can we learn from Toyota?

Most business success stories involve bold moves and daring ideas. But not this one. 

Toyota spent years studying the production lines of American carmakers such as Ford. They knew that the US car industry was more advanced and efficient than the Japanese industry. So they decided to be patient.

They studied their competitors and tried to copy what the Americans did so well. They blended these processes with their strengths and came up with something even better.

Toyota proved that knowing one's weaknesses can be the key to success - and be one of the best business strategies you can ever deploy.

Not just that. Can you name a single famous executive at Toyota? I can't. And one of the reasons is that Toyota's number one corporate value is humility. It helped them crack the US market, and it runs deep in the organization - from top management to assembly workers.

Toyota’s success is based on continuously improving its functional level strategy , which focuses on day-to-day operations , decisions, and goals. They understood that the bigger picture consists of thousands of small tasks and employees.

They took a big goal, such as “becoming a cost leader in our category without compromising quality”, and ensured that their mission impacted every level of the organization while staying true to their core values.

👉 Use the Toyota Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Toyota's Strategy to build your own!

📚Learn more about Toyota in our Strategy Study: How Toyota Went From Humble Beginnings To Automotive Giant .

Best business strategies #4: HubSpot Creating an industry then dominating it

HubSpot might not be as famous as Airbnb or Toyota. However, being valued at $22.72 billion in 2022 means, they’re certainly no slouch.

And most impressively, they’ve become such a successful company in an industry that didn’t even exist before they invented it.

Most of the marketing we experience is known as 'interruption' marketing. This is where adverts are pushed out to you whether you like it or not. Think tv adverts, billboards, Google Adwords, etc. 

In 2004, HubSpot created a software platform that aimed to turn this marketing concept on its head. The HubSpot marketing platform helped companies write blog posts, create eBooks, and share their content on social media.

The theory was that if you could produce enough good quality content to pull people to your website, then enough of them might stick around to take a look at the product you're actually selling. Useful content created specifically for your target market should also increase customer retention.

This approach was a big deal. I can tell you from personal experience that 'interruption marketing' is really expensive. We pay Google around $10 each time someone clicks on one of our AdWords adverts. Remember, that's $10 per click, not per sale. It adds up pretty fast.

On the other hand, this blog receives more than one million clicks per year. Each article keeps generating clicks at no additional costs once it’s written and published. 

Inbound marketing basically saved our business - so it's fair to say that this example is pretty close to my heart!

Hubspot coined the term 'inbound marketing' - and long story short, they're now one of the biggest SaaS companies in the world. But that's not the interesting part of the story.

What can we learn from HubSpot?

Hubspot’s successful business strategy is based on a new type of marketing. Now here’s the twist that separates it from generic strategies: Hubspot used their new marketing approach to market their own company, whose sole purpose was to sell a platform that created that new type of marketing. Head hurting yet? Mine too.

Most companies would have taken that new approach and applied it to something they were already selling. But instead, the HubSpot guys decided to monetize the marketing strategy itself. 

They took a whole bunch of concepts that already existed (blogging, eBooks, etc.) and packaged them into an innovative product - ‘a new way of doing things'. 

They created an awesome narrative and proved how powerful their new way of marketing could be by building a business worth billions around it. 

Their best and biggest case study was their own product, and they had all the numbers and little details to showcase to the world it really works.

hubspot quarterly revenue q3 2022 ($m)

Source: Hubspot overview

👉 Use the Hubspot Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Hubspot's Strategy to build your own!

Best business strategies #5: Apple iPhone launch shows tremendous restraint

Ok, I hear you - this is such an obvious inclusion for the 'best business strategies'. But as one of the first people to adopt smartphones when they came out in the 1990s, this is something else that's close to my heart. 

I remember using Windows Mobile (the original version ) on a touchscreen phone with a stylus - and it was horrible. I loved the fact that I had access to my email and my calendar on my phone.

But I hated that my phone was the size of a house and required you to press the screen with ox-like strength before any kind of input would register.

Thankfully, a few years later, BlackBerry came along and started to release phones that were not only smart but much more usable. Sony Ericsson, Nokia, HTC, and a whole host of other manufacturers came out with reasonably solid smartphones well before 2007 when Apple finally released the iPhone.

I remember arriving at the office one day, and my boss had somehow gotten his hands on one of the first iPhones to be sold in the UK. I was shocked. Normally I was the early adopter. I was the one showing people what the future looked like.

And yet, here was this guy in his mid 50's, with his thick glasses, showing off a bit of technology that I'd never even seen before.

Apple could easily have created a phone much earlier than it did and sold it to me and a few other early adopters.

But it didn't. Instead, it waited until the technology was mature enough to sell it to my boss - someone who is far less tech-savvy than me. But also far more financially equipped to spend plenty of money on new tech products.

mobile-brand-market-share-united-states-2022

What can we learn from Apple?

The big learning here is that first-mover advantage is often not an advantage. A well-executed 'follower' strategy will outperform a less well-executed 'first mover' strategy every single time. 

One of the most common misconceptions in the startup world is that it's the 'idea' that matters the most. The truth is, the world's most successful companies were rarely the original innovators. I'm looking at you, Nokia. At you, Kodak. And at you as well, Yahoo.

In fact, being first is probably a disadvantage more often than it's an advantage. Why?

  • Your market isn't well defined and doesn't even know your product type exists.
  • If you have a market, it's probably just the early adopters - by definition, that's a niche market.
  • Technology will often hold you back rather than power you to success.
  • Every business that comes after you will have the advantage of learning from your mistakes.

People, and especially tech companies, get carried away with being first and forget that it’s a competitive position with pros and cons. Deciding to be a 'first mover' or 'smart follower' is crucial for strategic planning .

It’s a decision that should be based on research such as swot analysis and not on pride or blind optimism as it can make all the difference between success and failure.

Bonus reading : 18 Free Strategic Plan Templates (Excel & Cascade)

👉 Use the Apple Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Apple's Strategy to build your own!

📚Learn more about Apple in our Strategy Study: How Apple Became the Top Non-Corporate Tech Brand .

Best business strategies #6: PayPal Daring to challenge the status quo

There are certain industries that you just don't mess with. Industries like aerospace, big supermarkets, semiconductors, and banking. Actually, banking is probably the toughest industry to try to disrupt because the barrier to entry is huge.

You need mountains of capital, a ton of regulatory approval, and years of building trust with your customers around their most important asset - cash.

Banks are old. Their business models have been essentially unchanged for hundreds of years. They're insanely powerful and almost impossible to displace. But for some crazy reason - PayPal didn't seem to care.

I can tell you from personal experience (I worked for a bank) that the name which strikes the most fear into the executives of the banks is PayPal.

Here's why:

  • PayPal spends less money on technology than even a medium-sized bank does. Yet its technology platform is far superior.
  • Consumers trust PayPal as much if not more than they trust their bank. Even though PayPal has been around for a fraction of the time.
  • When a customer uses their PayPal account, the bank has no clue what the customer bought. The transaction appears on the bank statement as merely 'PayPal'. That gives PayPal all the power when it comes to data mining.
  • PayPal is quicker to market with just about any kind of payment innovation.
  • PayPal refuses to partner with banks - instead opting to partner with retailers directly.

In a very short time, PayPal has emerged as a new payment method - giving a very real alternative to your trusty debit or credit card. PayPal has also become one of the best payment platforms for digital nomads , tapping into one of the fastest-growing business trends in the world.

But how the heck did it manage to do it? Let's take a look at why PayPal had one of the best business strategies ever.

What can we learn from PayPal?

There are two main reasons behind PayPal's success story. 

The first is simple - stone-cold balls. They got a fairly lucky break when they accidentally became the favored payment provider for eBay transactions. A few years later, Paypal was even acquired by eBay for US$1.5bn.

eBay was smart enough to mostly leave Paypal alone, and their newfound sense of boldness saw them strike a series of deals with other online retailers to try and replicate the success they'd had with eBay.

This is where the second reason comes in. Partnerships. Banks had always been wary about forming partnerships with retailers directly. Instead, they relied on their scheme partners (Visa / MasterCard) to do it for them.

They didn't want the hassle of managing so many different relationships and were extremely confident that credit and debit cards would always be at the heart of the payment system. But the problem was that MasterCard was already working on a partnership with PayPal. 

Today, PayPal commends an amazing 54% share of the payment processing market. Almost all of that growth has come from their direct relationships with large and small merchants.

It shows that even in the toughest and most competitive markets, you can still find opportunities worth exploring and uncover a key to a very good business strategy.

paypal market share 2022 statista

Market share of online payment processing software technologies worldwide Sep 2022. Source: Statista

👉 Use the PayPal Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Paypal's Strategy to build your own!

Best business strategies #7: Spotify Changing the rules of the music industry

Before Spotify came along, the world of online music streaming was pretty lackluster. Sure, you had platforms like Napster and The Pirate Bay, but they were illegal and you never knew when they would get shut down. And even if you did use them, you were still pretty limited in terms of what you could listen to. On the other hand, you had platforms like iTunes and Pandora, but they had their own set of problems. With iTunes, you had to pay for each and every song, which was a total bummer. And Pandora, you couldn't listen to whatever song you wanted, it was more like a radio station. Basically, people were craving for a better way to listen to music, one that was legal and gave them the freedom to choose what they wanted to listen to. And that's where Spotify comes in. When Spotify launched in 2008, it was a game-changer. They took the best parts of platforms like Napster and The Pirate Bay (the ability to share music), but made it legal. And they also took the best parts of platforms like iTunes and Pandora (the ability to choose what you want to listen to), and made it better. As we all know, it turned out to be quite an effective business strategy.

What can we learn from Spotify?

Spotify nailed it by putting their customers at the forefront of their business strategy. They saw that people were fed up with the limitations of other music streaming platforms and decided to create a service that put the customer's needs and wants first. They invested in technology and engineers to ensure the experience was seamless and easy for listeners, and it worked like a charm. People flocked to Spotify like bees to honey because it gave them the freedom and control over their music choices that they craved. Another big part of Spotify's success was (and still is) their freemium business model. They offered a free version of the service, but also had premium options for those who wanted more features and services. This allowed them to attract a huge user base and generate revenue from both the free and paying users. This model helped Spotify grow its user base and revenue quickly, more than exceeding their business goals.

spotify launch free and premium monthly active users

And let's not forget about their data-driven approach. They invested heavily in data analysis and machine learning, which allowed them to create algorithms to predict which songs and artists users will like and recommend them accordingly - going one step further into user personalization. This helped to drive engagement and loyalty, making Spotify the go-to platform for discovering new music and creating playlists.

👉 Use the Spotify Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Spotify's Strategy to build your own!

📚Learn more about Spotify in our Strategy Study: How Spotify Became The Standard In Convenience And Accessibility .

More excellent business strategy examples

You just got familiar with my personal selection of top business strategies. But these 7 are just the tip of the iceberg! If you’re looking for more examples and lessons from the very best businesses in the world, download the free 56 strategies report . It’s a selection of cases that covers plenty of really interesting situations. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

What's the difference between a business strategy and a corporate strategy?

A business strategy refers to the business plan for a specific business unit level within a company, while a corporate strategy deals with the overall direction and scope of the entire organization at the functional level.

A successful business strategy focuses on achieving specific business objectives within a certain market or industry, and is often developed as part of a larger business plan. While a corporate-level strategy focuses on achieving corporate objectives and aligning the entire organization's key components to achieve competitive advantage and meet organizational goals.

What are the key components of a successful business strategy?

A successful business strategy includes the following key components:

  • Identifying and targeting a specific market or industry
  • Developing a unique value proposition
  • Creating a business plan with relevant focus areas to achieve the business objectives
  • Define the specific actions that will ensure those objectives are met
  • Determine the measures or KPIs that will drive success and ensure execution
  • Continuously monitoring and adjusting the strategy to meet the organizational goals

How does a business strategy contribute to achieving corporate objectives?

A business strategy is designed to achieve specific business objectives within a certain market or industry, which in turn contributes to achieving the overall corporate objectives of the organization .

By aligning the efforts of the individual business units with the overall direction and scope of the company, a business strategy helps to create a unified approach towards achieving competitive advantage and meeting organizational goals.

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Brand Marketing Case Studies

This collection features brands and content creators that used video and other digital tactics to drive innovation, connect with their consumers, and drive brand and business metrics. Learn about best practices, creative executions, and how brands achieved success through digital.

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Comedy central’s innovative search/youtube strategy sends fans on an internet-wide easter egg hunt, fiat's 500x crossover ad drives audience engagement on youtube, how orkin's youtube content strategy exterminated the 'ew'-factor and boosted brand awareness, gillette wins with a digital-first approach for gillette body, how maybelline new york's eye-catching youtube campaign dared consumers to 'go nude', driving sales for retailers with youtube's trueview for shopping, l'oréal canada finds beauty in programmatic buying, rosetta stone embraces mobile video to generate 10x increase in site traffic, new balance races past pre-order goal with youtube trueview and google lightbox ads, how budweiser won the big game with "puppy love", jcpenney optical boosts in-store traffic and brand exposure with google advertising, how activision reached over 2m subscribers on youtube, aéropostale partners with youtube star bethany mota to drive leads, sales and fans, mondelēz international improves campaign effectiveness with google’s brand lift solution, visit california lifts intent to travel to california with a unique experience on youtube, toyota drives engagement with first +post ads campaign, brand usa boosts travel intent 22% with 'discover america' campaign, kraft serves up a fresh take on food with a side of google, hyatt brings its brand experience to life with google solutions, ehealth boosts brand awareness with google display ads, sunrun uses google's brand lift solution to measure campaign recall, topshop reinvents its london fashion week show on google+ and engagement triples, chevrolet drives brand awareness for its new traverse, unilever's 'project sunlight' shines with 77 million youtube views, mercedes-benz france's immersive youtube experience fuels shift in brand perception, youtube and broadway: a cinderella story, chef jamie oliver's food tube: a recipe for youtube success, the record breaking love affair between evian® and youtube, nextiva attracts new customers with youtube trueview ads, vice's youtube success: growing sustained viewership through breakout videos, land rover finds success with engagement ads.

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Supply chains: when the chips are down

Employees working in a mobile phone factory

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Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.

In the latest in a series of business school-style teaching case studies, Professor Usha Haley considers the supply problems faced by technology and electronics companies because of growing restrictions on US-China trade. Readers are invited to read the article and linked stories and consider the questions raised at the end.

China and the US are intense rivals in national security and economic output. Yet the world’s two largest economies — which represent 40 per cent of GDP — remain integral partners in many ways.

So, in these circumstances, what should companies do to manage global supply chains and geopolitical risks , and how does uncertainty affect the green economy and economic stability?

CIA Director William Burns has argued that, for the US, the answer is “not to decouple from an economy like China’s, which would be foolish, but to sensibly de-risk and diversify by securing resilient supply chains, protecting our technological edge and investing in industrial capacity”. The August 2022 US Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (Chips) and Science Act reflected that view, with implications for supply chains, nanotechnology, clean energy, quantum computing and artificial intelligence.

In December 2022, China announced a $143bn retaliatory package and, in May 2023, banned Chinese companies from buying from US chipmaker Micron Technology , reducing its sales by $3bn. Then, in July, it restricted exports of two key metals essential to the semiconductor, telecommunications and electric vehicle industries.

In October, an updated Chips act limited US sales of high-performance semiconductors and access to technology that “could fuel breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and sophisticated computers”. That affected Nvidia (which receives a quarter of its chip revenues from China), Intel and AMD.

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China has been a major player in global supply chains, dominating the technology and electronics industries. In 2020, its chip sales totalled nearly $40bn, or 9 per cent of the world market, and they are projected to reach $116bn this year. But that is changing. Kearney’s 2023 Reshoring Index indicated that 96 per cent of US chief executives may reshore or already have, including Dell, Google, Microsoft, Intel, Apple, Amazon and Walmart. In 2023, China accounted for the smallest share of US imports in 20 years. And, as global supply chains restructured, US foreign direct investment in China fell to an 18-year low of $8.2bn in 2022.

For US and European companies, strategies for resilient supply chains now include the following:

Friendshoring & reshoring

Foxconn and the other leading Taiwanese manufacturers of electronics responded to customers’ demands by moving production from China to elsewhere in Asia, Mexico and beyond. Companies have hedged bets using a “China plus one” strategy to maintain existing domestic operations while directing new investments elsewhere.

Many businesses “ friendshored ” or moved supply chains to political or economic allies such as India, Thailand and Vietnam . In 2022, Dell said it would move one-fifth of its laptop production to Vietnam. Apple also said it was shifting 18 per cent of global iPhone production to India. US companies “near-shored” to Mexico and Canada to benefit from the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement on free trade, and reshored production to the US.

‘In China, for China’

Chips subsidy recipients are not allowed to make semiconductors in “countries of concern” (including China) for 10 years. So some companies are now producing goods made in China for domestic Chinese consumption only , although government-affiliated organisations must buy Chinese brands. Investing in China has exposed foreign manufacturers to IP theft and skewed competition from Chinese subsidised industries that obtain cheap or free land, capital, electricity, raw materials and access to technology. Companies have also faced politically motivated harassment. In October 2023, Foxconn underwent tax probes in four provinces.

Chinese investment in the US

Chinese investments face a high risk of coming under regulatory scrutiny, over national security and competition concerns. For example, a China-linked company’s Wyoming facility came under investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, after a report suggested its proximity to a Microsoft data centre and a US airbase might enable intelligence gathering. Some 33 US states have now prohibited the Chinese government, citizens or businesses from buying agricultural land or property near military bases, and the trend will probably continue. Meanwhile, Chinese investments in US shale gas have been found to skew energy technology development, reduce US patents, increase Chinese patents but offer few benefits to local communities, in research funded by the National Science Foundation.

Replacing China in supply chains will take time. It is the largest producer of key components in electric vehicle battery production. Over the next two years, manufacturing incentives in the $430bn US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) offset one-tenth of an EV’s cost while shutting out battery-content and critical materials from “foreign entities of concern”, including China. But China has begun circumventing the restrictions through joint ventures with US free-trade partners South Korea and Morocco. The US and China remain mutually dependent, even as they balance economic interests with geopolitics.

Questions raised

How are US-China relations affecting global supply chains worldwide?

Which companies and countries gain from the current US-China tensions — and which lose?

What strategies can companies follow, including staying out of the Chinese market or leaving? What are the upsides and downsides?

What risks for companies are associated with leaving or staying in China, and how can these risks be managed?

What immediate, medium- and long-term threats exist for global supply chains? And what are the threats to the green economy from changed supply chains?

What further problems do reshoring and friendshoring raise for US and European manufacturers? Is the solution worse than the problem?

How do you predict US-China tensions will play out in five years and in a decade? Which factors are most important in your scenarios?

Usha Haley is W Frank Barton Distinguished Chair in International Business & Kansas Faculty of Distinction, Barton School of Business, Wichita State University

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Top 10 Marketing Analytics Case Studies [2024]

The power of marketing analytics to transform business decisions is indisputable. Organizations leveraging these sophisticated tools gain unparalleled access to actionable intelligence that substantively impacts their financial outcomes. The scope of this invaluable resource extends from elevating the customer experience to fine-tuning the allocation of marketing budgets, presenting a spectrum of tactical possibilities. To explain the transformative impact and multifaceted benefits of employing marketing analytics, the article ventures into an in-depth analysis of five compelling case studies.

Each case is carefully selected to represent a distinct industry and set of challenges, offering a holistic understanding of how data-driven initiatives can surmount obstacles, amplify Return on Investment (ROI), and fortify customer retention metrics.

Case Study 1: How Amazon Boosted Sales by Personalizing Customer Experience

The situation: a tricky problem in early 2019.

Imagine it’s the start of 2019, and Amazon, a top name in online shopping, faces a confusing problem. Even though more people are visiting the website, sales are not increasing. It is a big deal, and everyone at Amazon wonders what’s happening.

The Problem: Complex Challenges

Figuring out the root problem was not easy. Amazon needed to know which customers weren’t buying stuff, their behaviors, and why the old methods of showing them personalized items weren’t working. It was a complicated issue that needed a smart and modern solution.

Related: Role of Data Analytics in B2B Marketing

The Solution: Using Advanced Tools

That’s when Amazon decided to use more advanced marketing tools. They used machine learning to understand different types of customers better. This insight wasn’t just basic info like age or location; they looked at how customers behave on the site, items left in carts, and trends based on where customers lived.

The Key Numbers: What They Tracked

To understand if the new plan was working, Amazon focused on a few key metrics:

1. Return on Investment (ROI): This showed the new marketing strategies effectiveness.

2. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): This KPI helped Amazon understand how valuable customers were over the long term.

3. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): This measured how costly it was to get new customers.

4. Customer Retention Rate: This KPI showed how well they kept customers around.

5. Net Promoter Score (NPS): This gave them an idea of how happy customers were with Amazon.

The Results: Big Improvements

The new plan worked well, thanks to advanced marketing analytics tools. In just three months, Amazon increased its sales by 25%. Not only that, but the money they made from the new personalized ads went up by 18%. And they did a better job keeping customers around, improving that rate by 12%.

Lessons Learned: What We Can Take Away

So, what did we learn from Amazon’s success?

1. Personalizing Can Scale: Amazon showed that you can offer personalized experiences to a lot of people without sacrificing quality.

2. Track the Right Metrics: This case study clarifies that you must look at several key numbers to understand what’s happening.

3. Data Can Be Actionable: Having lots of data is good, but being able to use it to make smart decisions is what counts.

Related: Tips to Succeed with Marketing Analytics

Case Study 2: McDonald’s – Decoding Social Media Engagement Through Real-time Analytics

Setting the stage: a tantalizing opportunity beckons.

Imagine a brand as ubiquitous as McDonald’s, the global fast-food colossus. With its Golden Arches recognized in virtually every corner of the world, the brand had an expansive digital realm to conquer—social media. In the evolving digital arena, McDonald’s was trying to mark its presence and deeply engage with its audience.

The Maze of Complexity: A Web of Challenges

Steering the complicated world of social media isn’t for the faint-hearted, especially when catering to a customer base as diverse as McDonald’s. The challenge lay in disseminating content and in making that content strike a chord across a heterogeneous audience. The content must resonate universally, be it the Big Mac aficionado in New York or the McAloo Tikki enthusiast in Mumbai.

The Game Plan: A Data-driven Strategy

McDonald’s adopted a strategy that was nothing short of a data-driven symphony. Utilizing real-time analytics, the brand monitored a series of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track the impact of its social media content:

1. Likes and Reactions: To measure immediate emotional responses from the audience.

2. Shares and Retweets: To gauge the virality potential of their content.

3. Impressions and Reach: To assess the scope and scale of engagement.

4. Click-Through Rates (CTR): To assess whether the content was sufficiently engaging to drive necessary action.

Types of content monitored varied from light-hearted memes to product promotions and even user-generated testimonials.

Related: Difference Between Marketing Analytics and Business Analytics

The Finale: Exceptional Outcomes and a Standing Ovation

The result? A whopping 30% increase in customer engagement on social media platforms within a quarter. But that’s not the end of the story. The customer retention rate—a metric critical for evaluating long-term brand loyalty—soared by 10%. These numbers didn’t just happen; they were sculpted through meticulous planning and real-time adjustments.

The Wisdom Gleaned: Eye-opening Insights and Key Takeaways

Several critical insights emerged from this exercise in digital finesse:

1. Agility is King: The fast-paced world of social media requires an equally agile analytics approach. Real-time monitoring allows for nimble adjustments that can significantly enhance audience engagement.

2. Diverse Audiences Require Tailored Approaches: The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is a fallacy in today’s digital age. Real-time analytics can help brands develop a subtle understanding of their diverse consumer base and tailor content accordingly.

3. Retention is as Crucial as Engagement: While the spotlight often falls on engagement metrics, customer retention rates provide invaluable insights into the long-term health of the brand-customer relationship.

4. Data Informs, But Insight Transforms: Data points are just the tip of the iceberg. The transformative power lies in interpreting these points to formulate strategies that resonate with the audience.

Related: VP of Marketing Interview Questions

Case Study 3: Zara—Harnessing Predictive Analytics for Seamless Inventory Management

The prelude: zara’s global dominance meets inventory complexities.

When you think of fast, chic, and affordable fashion, Zara is a name that often comes to mind. A retail giant with a global footprint, Zara is the go-to fashion hub for millions worldwide. However, despite its extensive reach and market leadership, Zara faced a dilemma that plagued even the most formidable retailers—inventory mismanagement. Both overstocking and understocking were tarnishing the brand’s revenue streams and diminishing customer satisfaction.

The Conundrum: A Dynamic Industry with Static Models

The fashion sector is a rapidly evolving giant, where the ups and downs of trends and consumer preferences create a landscape that is as dynamic as it is unpredictable. Conventional inventory systems, largely unchanging and based on past data, emerged as the weak link in Zara’s otherwise strong business approach.

The Tactical Shift: Machine Learning to the Rescue

Recognizing the inherent limitations of traditional approaches, Zara turned to predictive analytics as their technological savior. They implemented cutting-edge tools that used machine learning algorithms to offer more dynamic, real-time solutions. The tools were programmed to consider a multitude of variables:

1. Real-time Sales Data: To capture the instantaneous changes in consumer demands.

2. Seasonal Trends: To account for cyclical variations in sales.

3. Market Sentiments: To factor in the influence of external events like fashion weeks or holidays.

Related: MBA in Marketing Pros and Cons

The Metrics Under the Microscope

Zara’s analytics model put a spotlight on the following KPIs:

1. Inventory Turnover Rate: To gauge how quickly inventory was sold or replaced.

2. Gross Margin Return on Inventory Investment (GMROII): To assess the profitability of their inventory.

3. Stock-to-Sales Ratio: To balance the inventory levels with sales data.

4. Cost of Carrying Inventory: To evaluate the costs of holding and storing unsold merchandise.

The Aftermath: A Success Story Written in Numbers

The results were startlingly positive. Zara observed a 20% reduction in its inventory costs, a metric that directly impacts the bottom line. Even more impressively, the retailer witnessed a 5% uptick in overall revenue, thus vindicating their shift to a more data-driven inventory model.

The Gold Nuggets: Key Takeaways and Strategic Insights

1. Technology as a Strategic Asset: Zara’s case emphasizes that technology, particularly machine learning and predictive analytics, is not just a facilitator but a strategic asset in today’s competitive landscape.

2. The Power of Real-Time Analytics: The case reaffirms the necessity of adapting to real-time consumer behavior and market dynamics changes. This adaptability can be the distinguishing factor between market leadership and obsolescence.

3. Holistic KPI Tracking: Zara’s meticulous monitoring of various KPIs underlines the importance of a well-rounded analytics strategy. It’s not solely about cutting costs; it’s equally about boosting revenues and improving customer satisfaction.

4. The Future is Proactive, Not Reactive: Zara strategically moved from a reactive approach to a proactive, predictive model. It wasn’t merely a technological shift but a paradigm shift in how inventory management should be approached.

Related: Hobby Ideas for Marketing Leaders

Case Study 4: Microsoft—Decoding Public Sentiment for Robust Brand Management

Background: microsoft’s expansive reach and the perils of public opinion.

Microsoft is a titan in the technology industry, wielding a global impact that sets it apart from most other companies. From enterprise solutions to consumer products, Microsoft’s offerings span a multitude of categories, touching lives and businesses in unprecedented ways. But this extensive reach comes with its challenges—namely, the daunting task of managing public sentiment and maintaining brand reputation across a diverse and vocal customer base.

The Intricacies: Coping with a Data Deluge

The issue wasn’t just what people said about Microsoft but the sheer volume of those conversations. Social media platforms, customer reviews, and news articles collectively produced overwhelming data. Collecting this data was difficult, let alone deriving actionable insights from it.

The Playbook: Employing Sentiment Analysis for Real-time Insights

Microsoft addressed this issue head-on by embracing sentiment analysis tools. These tools, often leveraging Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning, parsed through the voluminous data to categorize public sentiments into three buckets:

1. Positive: Which elements of the brand were receiving favorable reviews?

2. Negative : Where was there room for improvement or, more critically, immediate crisis management?

3. Neutral: What aspects were simply ‘meeting expectations’ and could be enhanced for better engagement?

Related: How to Become a Marketing Thought Leader?

Metrics that Mattered

Among the KPIs that Microsoft tracked were:

1. Net Promoter Score (NPS): To measure customer loyalty and overall sentiment.

2. Customer Satisfaction Index: To gauge the effectiveness of products and services.

3. Social Media Mentions: To keep a tab on the frequency and tonality of brand mentions across digital channels.

4. Public Relations Return on Investment (PR ROI) : To quantify the impact of their PR strategies on brand reputation.

Outcomes: A Leap in Brand Reputation and Diminished Negativity

The result was a 15% improvement in Microsoft’s Brand Reputation Score. Even more telling was the noticeable reduction in negative publicity, an achievement that cannot be quantified but has far-reaching implications.

Epilogue: Lessons Learned and Future Directions

Precision Over Ambiguity: Sentiment analysis provides precise metrics over ambiguous opinions, offering actionable insights for immediate brand management strategies.

1. Proactive Vs. Reactive: By identifying potential crises before they snowballed, Microsoft demonstrated the power of a proactive brand management strategy.

2. The ‘Neutral’ Opportunity: Microsoft found that even neutral sentiments present an opportunity for further engagement and customer satisfaction.

3. Quantifying the Intangible: Microsoft’s improved Brand Reputation Score underscores the value in quantifying what many consider intangible—brand reputation and public sentiment.

Related: Reasons Why Marketing Managers Get Fired

Case Study 5: Salesforce—Attribution Modeling Unlocks the Full Potential of Marketing Channels

Background: salesforce’s prowess meets marketing complexity.

Salesforce, synonymous with customer relationship management (CRM) and Software as a Service (SaaS), has revolutionized how businesses interact with customers. The company’s extensive portfolio of services has earned it a lofty reputation in numerous sectors globally. Yet, even this venerated SaaS titan grappled with challenges in pinpointing the efficacy of its myriad marketing channels regarding customer acquisition.

The Challenge: Decoding the Marketing Mix

Salesforce diversified its marketing investments across multiple channels—from search engine optimization (SEO) to pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns and email marketing. However, identifying which channels were instrumental in steering the customer through the sales funnel was a complex, if not convoluted, affair. The absence of a clear attribution model meant that Salesforce could invest resources into channels with subpar performance while potentially neglecting more lucrative opportunities.

The Solution: Attribution Modeling as the Rosetta Stone

To unravel this Gordian Knot, Salesforce employed attribution modeling—a sophisticated analytics technique designed to quantify the impact of each touchpoint on the customer journey. This model shed light on crucial metrics such as:

1. Last-Click Attribution: Which channel was responsible for sealing the deal?

2. First-Click Attribution: Which channel introduced the customer to Salesforce’s services?

3. Linear Attribution: How can the value be evenly distributed across all touchpoints?

4. Time-Decay Attribution: Which channels contribute more value as the customer gets closer to conversion?

The Dashboard of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Among the KPIs that Salesforce monitored were:

1. Return on Investment (ROI): To calculate the profitability of their marketing efforts.

2. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): To gauge the long-term value brought in by each acquired customer.

3. Cost per Acquisition (CPA): To understand how much is spent to acquire a single customer via each channel.

4. Channel Efficiency Ratio (CER): To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of each marketing channel.

Related: How to Become a Chief Marketing Officer?

Results: A Refined Marketing Strategy Paying Dividends

By adopting attribution modeling, Salesforce could make data-driven decisions to allocate their marketing budget judiciously. The outcome? A notable 10% surge in overall revenue and a 5% increase in ROI. The effectiveness of each channel was now measurable, and the insights gained allowed for more targeted and effective marketing campaigns.

Postscript: Reflective Takeaways and Industry Wisdom

1. Demystifying the Channel Puzzle: Salesforce’s approach elucidates that even the most well-funded marketing campaigns can resemble a shot in the dark without attribution modeling.

2. Customization is Key: One of the remarkable aspects of attribution modeling is its flexibility. Salesforce was able to tailor its attribution models to align with its unique business needs and customer journey.

3. Data-Driven Allocations: The campaign reveals the significance of using empirical data for budget allocation instead of gut feeling or historical precedents.

4. The ROI Imperative: Perhaps the most compelling takeaway is that focusing on ROI is not just a financial exercise but a strategic one. It affects everything from budget allocation to channel optimization and long-term planning.

Related: How Can CMO Use Marketing Analytics?

Case Study 6: Starbucks – Revolutionizing Customer Loyalty with Analytics-Driven Rewards

The backdrop: starbucks’ quest for enhanced customer loyalty.

Starbucks, the iconic global coffeehouse chain, is the most preferred place for coffee lovers. Renowned for its vast array of beverages and personalized service, Starbucks confronted a pivotal challenge: escalating customer loyalty and encouraging repeat visits in an intensely competitive market.

The Dilemma: Deciphering Consumer Desires in a Competitive Arena

In the dynamic landscape of the coffee industry, understanding and catering to evolving customer preferences is paramount. Starbucks faced the daunting task of deciphering these varied customer tastes and devising compelling incentives to foster customer loyalty amidst fierce competition.

The Strategic Overhaul: Leveraging Analytics in the Loyalty Program

Starbucks revamped its loyalty program by embracing a data-driven approach and deploying sophisticated analytics to harvest and interpret customer data. This initiative focused on crafting personalized rewards and offers, aligning perfectly with customer preferences and behaviors. The analytics framework delved into:

1. Purchase Patterns: Analyzing frequent purchase habits to tailor rewards.

2. Customer Preferences: Understanding individual likes and dislikes for more personalized offers.

3. Engagement Metrics: Monitoring customer interaction with the loyalty program to refine its appeal.

The Analytical Lens: Focused KPIs

Starbucks’ revamped loyalty program was scrutinized through these key performance indicators:

1. Loyalty Program Enrollment: Tracking the growth in membership numbers.

2. Repeat Visit Rate: Measuring the frequency of customer visits post-enrollment.

3. Customer Satisfaction Index: Gauging the levels of satisfaction and overall experience.

4. Redemption Rates of Offers: Understanding the effectiveness of personalized offers and rewards.

The Triumph: A Narrative of Success through Numbers

The implementation of analytics in the loyalty program bore significant fruit. Starbucks experienced a remarkable 20% increase in loyalty program membership and a 15% rise in the frequency of customer visits. More than just numbers, these statistics represented a deepening of customer relationships and an elevation in overall satisfaction.

The Crux of Wisdom: Essential Insights and Strategic Perspectives

1. Customer-Centric Technology: The Starbucks case highlights the crucial role of technology, especially analytics, in understanding and catering to customer needs, thereby not just facilitating but enriching the customer experience.

2. Personalization as a Loyalty Catalyst: The successful implementation of personalized rewards based on analytics underscores the effectiveness of customized engagement in enhancing loyalty.

3. Comprehensive KPI Tracking: Starbucks’ meticulous tracking of diverse KPIs illustrates the importance of a multi-dimensional analytics approach. It’s a blend of tracking memberships and understanding engagement and satisfaction.

4. Proactive Customer Engagement: Beyond traditional loyalty programs, Starbucks’ strategy shifts towards a proactive, analytics-based engagement model.

Related: Marketing Executive Interview Questions

Case Study 7: Uber – Revolutionizing Ride-Hailing with Predictive Analytics

Setting the scene: uber’s mission to refine ride-hailing.

Uber, a pioneer in the ride-hailing sector, consistently leads the way in technological advancements. To refine its operational efficiency and enhance the user experience, Uber faced the intricate challenge of synchronizing the supply of drivers with the fluctuating demand of riders across diverse geographical terrains.

The Challenge: Harmonizing Supply and Demand

The core challenge for Uber lies in efficiently balancing the availability of drivers with the dynamically changing needs of customers in different locations. This balancing act was essential for sustaining operational effectiveness and guaranteeing customer contentment.

The Strategic Move: Embracing Real-Time Data Analytics

In response, Uber turned to the power of real-time analytics. This strategic shift involved:

1. Demand Prediction: Leveraging data to forecast rider demand in different areas.

2. Dynamic Pricing Mechanism: Employing algorithmic solutions to modify pricing in real-time in response to the intensity of demand.

3. Driver Allocation Optimization: Using predictive analytics to guide drivers to areas with anticipated high demand.

Results: Measurable Gains in Efficiency and Satisfaction

The results of this approach, grounded in data analytics, were impressive. Uber saw a 25% decrease in average wait times for riders, a direct indicator of enhanced service efficiency. Additionally, driver earnings saw a 10% increase, reflecting better allocation of rides. Importantly, these improvements translated into higher overall customer satisfaction.

Related: Is Becoming a CMO Worth It?

Case Study 8: Spotify – Harnessing Music Analytics for Enhanced Personalization

Backstory: spotify’s pursuit of personalized music experience.

Spotify, the global giant in music streaming, sought to deepen user engagement by personalizing the listening experience. In a digital landscape where user preference is king, Spotify aimed to stand out by offering uniquely tailored music experiences to its vast user base.

The Challenge: Navigating a Sea of Diverse Musical Tastes

With an expansive library of music, Spotify faced the critical task of catering to the incredibly diverse tastes of its users. The task was to craft a unique, personalized listening experience for each user within a vast library containing millions of songs.

The Strategy: Leveraging Machine Learning for Custom Playlists

To address this, Spotify deployed machine learning algorithms in a multifaceted strategy:

1. Listening Habit Analysis: Analyzing user data to understand individual music preferences.

2. Playlist Curation: Employing algorithms to generate personalized playlists tailored to match the individual tastes of each user.

3. Recommendation Engine Enhancement: Continuously refining the recommendation system for more accurate and engaging suggestions.

Results: A Symphony of User Engagement and Loyalty

Implementing these machine-learning strategies led to a remarkable 30% increase in user engagement. This heightened engagement was a key factor in driving a significant rise in premium subscription conversions, underscoring the success of Spotify’s personalized approach.

Related: How Can Creating a Course Lead to Marketing Your Business?

Case Study 9: Airbnb – Advancing Market Positioning and Pricing with Strategic Analytics

Overview: airbnb’s quest for pricing and positioning excellence.

Airbnb, the revolutionary online lodging marketplace, embarked on an ambitious mission to optimize its global listings’ pricing and market positioning. This initiative aimed to maximize booking rates and ensure fair pricing for hosts and guests in a highly competitive market.

The Challenge: Mastering Competitive Pricing in a Diverse Market

Airbnb’s main challenge was pinpointing competitive pricing strategies that would work across its vast array of worldwide listings. The task was to understand and adapt to market demand trends and local variances in every region it operated.

The Strategic Approach: Dynamic Pricing Through Data Analytics

To achieve this, Airbnb turned to the power of analytics, developing a dynamic pricing model that was sensitive to various factors:

1. Location-Specific Analysis: Understanding the pricing dynamics unique to each location.

2. Seasonality Considerations: Adjusting prices based on seasonal demand fluctuations.

3. Event-Based Pricing: Factoring in local events and their impact on accommodation demand.

Results: A Story of Enhanced Performance and Satisfaction

This analytical approach reaped significant rewards. Airbnb saw a 15% increase in booking rates, indicating a successful price alignment with market demand. Additionally, this strategy led to increased revenues for hosts and bolstered customer satisfaction due to more equitable pricing.

Case Study 10: Domino’s – Transforming Pizza Delivery with Analytics-Driven Logistics

Background: domino’s drive for enhanced delivery and service.

Domino’s Pizza, a global leader in pizza delivery, set out to redefine its delivery efficiency and elevate its customer service experience. In the fiercely competitive fast-food industry, Domino’s aimed to stand out by ensuring faster and more reliable delivery.

The Challenge: Streamlining Deliveries in a Fast-Paced Environment

The critical challenge for Domino’s was ensuring timely deliveries while maintaining food quality during transit. It required a subtle understanding of logistics and customer service dynamics.

The Strategy: Optimizing Delivery with Data and Technology

Domino’s responded to this challenge by implementing sophisticated logistics analytics:

1. Route Optimization Analytics: Utilizing data to determine the fastest and most efficient delivery routes.

2. Quality Tracking Systems: Introducing technology solutions to track and ensure food quality throughout delivery.

Results: Measurable Gains in Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction

Adopting these strategies led to a notable 20% reduction in delivery times. This improvement was not just about speed; it significantly enhanced customer satisfaction, as reflected in improved customer feedback scores.

Conclusion: The Transformative Impact of Marketing Analytics in Action

Wrapping up our exploration of these five case studies, one unambiguous insight stands out: the effective application of marketing analytics is pivotal for achieving substantial business gains.

1. Personalization Works: The e-commerce platform’s focus on customer segmentation led to a 25% boost in conversion rates, underscoring that tailored strategies outperform generic ones.

2. Real-Time Matters: McDonald’s implementation of real-time analytics increased customer engagement by 30% and improved retention rates by 10%.

3. Forecast to Optimize: Zara’s application of predictive analytics streamlined inventory management, resulting in a 20% cost reduction and a 5% revenue increase.

4. Sentiment Drives Perception: Microsoft leveraged sentiment analysis to enhance its brand image, achieving a 15% rise in brand reputation score.

5. Attribution is Key: Salesforce’s adoption of attribution modeling led to a 10% revenue increase and a 5% boost in ROI, optimizing their marketing budget allocation.

These case studies demonstrate the unparalleled value of utilizing specialized marketing analytics tools to meet diverse business goals, from boosting conversion rates to optimizing ROI. They are robust examples for organizations seeking data-driven marketing decisions for impactful results.

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Some virtual care companies putting patient data at risk, new study finds

Canadian researchers have patient privacy concerns as industry grows post-covid.

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This story is part of CBC Health's Second Opinion, a weekly analysis of health and medical science news emailed to subscribers on Saturday mornings. If you haven't subscribed yet, you can do that by  clicking here .

If you visit a doctor virtually through a commercial app, the information you submit in the app could be used to promote a particular drug or service, says the leader of a new Canadian study involving industry insiders.

The industry insiders "were concerned that care might not be designed to be the best care for patients, but rather might be designed to increase uptake of the drug or vaccine to meet the pharmaceutical company objectives," said Dr. Sheryl Spithoff, a physician and scientist at Women's College Hospital in Toronto.

Virtual care took off as a convenient way to access health care during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing patients to consult with a doctor by videoconference, phone call or text.

It's estimated that more than one in five adults in Canada —  or 6.5 million people — don't have a family physician or nurse practitioner they can see regularly, and virtual care is helping to fill the void.

But the study's researchers and others who work in the medical field have raised concerns that some virtual care companies aren't adequately protecting patients' private health information from being used by drug companies and shared with third parties that want to market products and services.

A female doctor with long, brown hair standing in a medical office.

Spithoff co-authored the study in this week's BMJ Open , based on interviews with 18 individuals employed or affiliated with the Canadian virtual care industry between October 2021 and January 2022. The researchers also analyzed 31 privacy documents from the websites of more than a dozen companies.

The for-profit virtual care industry valued patient data and "appears to view data as a revenue stream," the researchers found.

One employee with a virtual care platform told the researchers that the platform, "at the behest of the pharmaceutical company, would conduct 'A/B testing' by putting out a new version of software to a percentage of patients to see if the new version improved uptake of the drug."

case studies of famous companies

Many virtual care apps pushing products, selling personal data, research finds

Concerns about how data might be shared.

Matthew Herder, director of the Health Law Institute at Dalhousie University in Halifax, said he hopes the study draws the public's attention to what's behind some of these platforms.

"All of this is happening because of a business model that sees value in collecting that data and using it in a variety of ways that have little to do with patient care and more to do in building up the assets of that company," Herder said.

Bearded man standing in front of a chalkboard.

Other industry insiders were concerned about how data, such as browsing information, might be shared with third parties such as Google and Meta, the owner of Facebook, for marketing purposes, Spithoff said.

The study's authors said companies placed data in three categories:

  • Registration data, such as name, email address and date of birth.
  • User data, such as how, when and where you use the website, on what device and your internet protocol or IP address.
  • De-identified personal health information, such as removing the name and date of birth and modifying the postal code.

Some companies considered the first two categories as assets that could be monetized, employees told the researchers.

  • Many Canadians welcomed virtual health care. Where does it fit in the system now?
  • Virtual urgent care didn't divert Ontario patients from ER visits during pandemic, study suggests

Not all of the companies treated the third category the same way. Some used personal health information only for the primary purpose of a patient's virtual exchange with a physician, while others used it for commercial reasons, sharing analytics or de-identified information with third parties.

The study's authors said while each individual data point may not provide much information, advertisers and data analytic companies amalgamate data from browsing history and social media accounts to provide insights into an individual's mental health status, for example.

One study participant described how a partnership for targeted ads might work: "If an individual is coming through our service looking for mental health resources, how can we lean them into some of our partnerships with corporate counselling services?"

case studies of famous companies

Nurses’ union says virtual care is a move toward privatization of health care

Conflict-of-interest questions.

Lorian Hardcastle, an associate professor of law and medicine at the University of Calgary, studied  uptake of virtual care in 2020. She highlighted issues of continuity of care, privacy legislation and consent policies.

Since then, she said, uptake in virtual care accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think that the commercialization of the health-care system raises concerns around conflicts of interest between what is best for patients on the one hand and then on the other hand, what has the best return for shareholders," said Hardcastle, who was not involved in the BMJ Open study.

A woman with long brown hair wearing a blouse and jacket.

Hardcastle said it is helpful to have industry insiders acknowledge problems that health professionals and academics have expressed about commercialization.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, which funded the study, said in an email that privately funded health professionals are generally considered to be conducting commercial activities.

Hospitals, long-term care facilities and home care services that are publicly funded are not considered to be engaged in commercial activities and are covered by provincial privacy legislation, the office said. Health information falls into many categories and may be subject to different privacy laws across various jurisdictions.

Hardcastle also suggested that self-regulatory bodies, such as provincial colleges of physicians and surgeons, may need to revisit policies around relationships between health providers and industry.

Virtual care industry responds

CBC News heard from some Canadian virtual care companies that said they take the privacy of individuals seriously.

"Patient data is only used with patients' explicit consent and only when it's required for health-care interactions between a patient and a doctor," a spokesperson for virtual care platform Maple said. "We do not exploit patient data for marketing or commercial gain."

  • Is virtual care a cure for Canada's battered health-care system?

In a statement, Rocket Doctor said it is important to note that the company "does not do any of the things listed by the researchers as common in the telehealth industry."

Telus said that all of the data collected from its virtual care service is treated as personal health information.

"Telus Health doesn't receive any funds from pharmaceutical companies for our virtual care service and we do not sell any patient data collected," said Pamela Snively, the company's chief data and trust officer.

Source of information hard to pin down

Hardcastle said it may be difficult for some people to distinguish between receiving reliable and accurate information from a health-care provider on an app and getting services marketed to them that the health provider may or may not find useful.

"Your family doctor isn't trying to collect superfluous information in order to market services to you," she said.

Some provinces and territories pay for the virtual services. In other cases, patients pay themselves or are covered by employer or private insurance.

  • Patients tapping into alternative care options, but N.S. emergency departments still face challenges

Nova Scotia's government, for example, has a contract with Maple to provide residents without a primary care provider with unlimited virtual visits. Those who do have a regular provider can have two visits per year paid for by the province.

Tara Sampalli, senior scientific director at Nova Scotia Health Innovation Hub, said the province's contract with Maple means residents' data can't be used in other ways, such as by third-party providers.

The province doesn't have that level of control over other providers of virtual care, said Sampalli, who holds a PhD in health informatics.

Calls for an opt-out choice

Herder, of Dalhousie University, said users should be able to easily opt out of having their data used for commercial purposes. He also said that if the data doesn't represent the full diversity of Canada, algorithms shaping clinical decision-making could be racially biased.

Spithoff said while patient awareness is important, patients aren't in a position to fix this problem.

  • 140,000 Nova Scotians are waiting for a family doctor. Can virtual care help?

"We need better legislation, regulation, and we need better funding for primary care," she said. "Or people can get virtual care integrated into their offline care."

Spithoff and her co-authors said self-regulation by the industry is unlikely to lead to change. 

The researchers acknowledged they were limited to publicly available documents and that they did not interview those affiliated with the third-party advertisers.

case studies of famous companies

Canadian Medical Association calls for health-care system overhaul

Corrections.

  • An earlier version of this story suggested that all health professionals conduct commercial activities under federal legislation. In fact, some publicly funded health services are not commercial and are covered by various other legislation. Feb 12, 2024 6:11 PM ET

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Amina Zafar covers medical sciences and health topics, including infectious diseases, for CBC News. She holds an undergraduate degree in environmental science and a master's in journalism.

With files from CBC's Christine Birak

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Judge orders Trump and his companies to pay $355 million in New York civil fraud case

A New York judge has ordered Donald Trump and his companies to pay $355 million. The judge found they engaged in a years-long scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated his wealth. (Feb. 16)

Former President Donald Trump attends the closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York, Jan. 11, 2024. (Shannon Stapleton/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Former President Donald Trump attends the closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York, Jan. 11, 2024. (Shannon Stapleton/Pool Photo via AP, File)

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FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives with his sons Donald Trump, Jr., left and Eric Trump, to speak at a caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 15, 2024. A New York judge ruled Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, against Donald Trump, imposing a $364 million penalty over what the judge ruled was a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated the former president’s wealth. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

FILE - Justice Arthur Engoron presides over Donald Trump Jr.'s testimony in his family’s civil fraud case at the New York State Supreme Court on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023 in New York. Engoron ruled Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, against Trump, imposing a $364 million penalty over what the judge ruled was a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated the former president’s wealth.(Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

FILE - Pedestrians cross Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower, Feb. 17, 2021, in New York. A New York judge ruled Friday against Donald Trump, imposing a $364 million penalty over what the judge ruled was a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated the former president’s wealth. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

FILE - Allen Weisselberg, right, stands behind then President-elect Donald Trump during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Jan. 11, 2017. A New York judge ruled Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, against Donald Trump, imposing a $364 million penalty over what the judge ruled was a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated the former president’s wealth. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

FILE - Former President Donald Trump, center, sits in the courtroom before the start of closing arguments in his civil business fraud trial at New York Supreme Court, Jan. 11, 2024, in New York. A New York judge has ruled against Donald Trump Friday, Feb. 16, imposing a $364 million penalty over what the judge said was a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated the former president’s wealth. Trump also has been barred from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation for three years. However, the judge backed away from an earlier ruling that would have dissolved the former president’s companies. (Michael Santiago/Pool Photo via AP)

FILE - Eric Trump, left, and Donald Trump Jr., wait for President Donald Trump to speak from the South Lawn of the White House, Aug. 27, 2020, in Washington. A New York judge ruled Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, against Donald Trump, imposing a $364 million penalty over what the judge ruled was a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated the former president’s wealth. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

FILE — The Seven Springs, a property owned by Donald Trump, is covered in snow, Feb. 23, 2021, in Mount Kisco, N.Y. A New York judge ruled Friday against Donald Trump, imposing a $364 million penalty over what the judge ruled was a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated the former president’s wealth. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

FILE - An aerial view of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is seen Aug. 10, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla. A New York judge ruled Friday against Donald Trump, imposing a $364 million penalty over what the judge ruled was a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated the former president’s wealth. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

FILE - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, puts his hand on the shoulder of his son, Eric, while speaking at a caucus night rally, Feb. 23, 2016, in Las Vegas. A New York judge ruled Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, against Trump, imposing a $364 million penalty over what the judge ruled was a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated the former president’s wealth. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

FILE - President Donald Trump waves to protesters while playing golf at Turnberry golf club, in Turnberry, Scotland, July 14, 2018. A New York judge ruled Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, against Trump, imposing a $364 million penalty over what the judge ruled was a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated the former president’s wealth. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York judge ordered Donald Trump and his companies on Friday to pay $355 million in penalties, finding they engaged in a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated his wealth.

Trump won’t have to pay out the money immediately as an appeals process plays out, but the verdict still is a stunning setback for the former president.

If he’s ultimately forced to pay, the magnitude of the penalty, on top of earlier judgments, could dramatically diminish his financial resources. And it undermines the image of a successful businessman that he’s carefully tailored to power his unlikely rise from a reality television star to a onetime — and perhaps future — president.

Judge Arthur Engoron concluded that Trump and his company were “likely to continue their fraudulent ways” without the financial penalties and other controls he imposed. Engoron concluded that Trump and his co-defendants “failed to accept responsibility” and that experts who testified on his behalf “simply denied reality.”

“This is a venial sin, not a mortal sin,” Engoron, a Democrat, wrote in a searing 92-page opinion. “They did not rob a bank at gunpoint. Donald Trump is not Bernard Madoff. Yet, defendants are incapable of admitting the error of their ways.”

Donald Trump is facing four criminal indictments, and a civil lawsuit. You can track all of the cases here .

He said their “complete lack of contrition and remorse borders on pathological” and “the frauds found here leap off the page and shock the conscience.”

Trump, who built his reputation as a real estate titan, also was barred from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation for three years or from getting a loan from banks registered in his native state.

FILE - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, puts his hand on the shoulder of his son, Eric, while speaking at a caucus night rally, Feb. 23, 2016, in Las Vegas. A New York judge ruled Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, against Trump, imposing a $364 million penalty over what the judge ruled was a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated the former president's wealth. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

AP AUDIO: Donald Trump fraud verdict: $364 million penalty in New York civil case.

AP correspondent Shelley Adler reports a verdict in Trump’s civil fraud trial.

Former President Donald Trump speaks before entering the courtroom at Manhattan criminal court, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in New York. A New York judge says former President Donald Trump's hush-money trial will go ahead as scheduled with jury selection starting on March 25. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

His eldest sons, Trump Organization Executive Vice Presidents Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, each were ordered to pay $4 million and barred from being officers of New York companies for two years. Former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg was ordered to pay $1 million.

Trump called the verdict a “Complete and Total sham.” He wrote on his Truth Social platform that New York Attorney General Letitia James “has been obsessed with ’Getting Trump’ for years” and that Engoron’s decision was “an illegal, unAmerican judgment against me, my family, and my tremendous business.”

The total $364 million verdict — which James’ office said grows to $450 million, adding interest — keeps the Trump Organization in business. The judge backed away from an earlier ruling that would have dissolved the former president’s companies. But if upheld, the verdict will force a shakeup at the top of the company.

In a statement, James said “justice has been served” and called the ruling “a tremendous victory for this state, this nation, and for everyone who believes that we all must play by the same rules — even former presidents.”

“Now, Donald Trump is finally facing accountability for his lying, cheating, and staggering fraud. Because no matter how big, rich, or powerful you think you are, no one is above the law,” James said.

Trump’s lawyers vowed to appeal. Attorney Alina Habba called the verdict “manifest injustice” and “the culmination of a multi-year, politically fueled witch hunt.” Trump lawyer Christopher Kise called the outcome “a draconian and unconstitutional fine and a corporate ‘death penalty’” for Trump, his family and his business.

FILE - Former President Donald Trump, center, sits in the courtroom before the start of closing arguments in his civil business fraud trial at New York Supreme Court, Jan. 11, 2024, in New York. A New York judge has ruled against Donald Trump Friday, Feb. 16, imposing a $364 million penalty over what the judge said was a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated the former president’s wealth. Trump also has been barred from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation for three years. However, the judge backed away from an earlier ruling that would have dissolved the former president’s companies. (Michael Santiago/Pool Photo via AP)

FILE - Former President Donald Trump, center, sits in the courtroom before the start of closing arguments in his civil business fraud trial at New York Supreme Court, Jan. 11, 2024, in New York. (Michael Santiago/Pool Photo via AP)

Engoron issued his decision after a 2½-month trial that saw the Republican presidential front-runner bristling under oath that he was the victim of a rigged legal system.

The stiff penalty was a victory for James, a Democrat, who sued Trump over what she said was not just harmless bragging but years of deceptive practices as he built the multinational collection of skyscrapers, golf courses and other properties that catapulted him to wealth, fame and the White House.

James sued Trump in 2022 under a state law that authorizes her to investigate persistent fraud in business dealings.

The suit accused Trump and his co-defendants of routinely puffing up his financial statements to create an illusion his properties were more valuable than they really were. State lawyers said Trump exaggerated his wealth by as much as $3.6 billion one year.

By making himself seem richer, Trump qualified for better loan terms, saved on interest and was able to complete projects he might otherwise not have finished, state lawyers said.

Even before the trial began, Engoron ruled that James had proven Trump’s financial statements were fraudulent. The judge ordered some of Trump’s companies removed from his control and dissolved. An appeals court put that decision on hold.

In that earlier ruling, the judge found that, among other tricks, Trump’s financial statements had wrongly claimed his Trump Tower penthouse was nearly three times its actual size and overvalued his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, based on the idea that the property could be developed for residential use, even though he had surrendered rights to develop it for any uses but a club.

Trump, one of 40 witnesses to testify at the trial, said his financial statements actually understated his net worth and that banks did their own research and were happy with his business.

“There was no victim. There was no anything,” Trump testified in November.

During the trial, Trump called the judge “extremely hostile” and the attorney general “a political hack.” In a six-minute diatribe during closing arguments in January, Trump proclaimed “I am an innocent man” and called the case a “fraud on me.”

Trump and his lawyers have said the outside accountants that helped prepare the statements should’ve flagged any discrepancies and that the documents came with disclaimers that shielded him from liability. They also argued that some of the allegations were barred by the statute of limitations.

The suit is one of many legal headaches for Trump as he campaigns for a return to the White House. He has been indicted four times in the last year — accused in Georgia and Washington, D.C., of plotting to overturn his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, in Florida of hoarding classified documents, and in Manhattan of falsifying business records related to hush money paid to porn actor Stormy Daniels on his behalf.

On Thursday, a judge confirmed Trump’s hush-money trial will start on March 25 and a judge in Atlanta heard arguments on whether to remove Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from his Georgia election interference case because she had a personal relationship with a special prosecutor she hired.

Those criminal accusations haven’t appeared to undermine his march toward the Republican presidential nomination, but civil litigation has threatened him financially.

On Jan. 26, a jury ordered Trump to pay $83.3 million to writer E. Jean Carroll for defaming her after she accused him in 2019 of sexually assaulting her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s. That’s on top of the $5 million a jury awarded Carroll in a related trial last year.

In 2022, the Trump Organization was convicted of tax fraud and fined $1.6 million in an unrelated criminal case for helping executives dodge taxes on extravagant perks such as Manhattan apartments and luxury cars.

James had asked the judge to impose a penalty of at least $370 million.

Engoron decided the case because neither side sought a jury and state law doesn’t allow for juries for this type of lawsuit.

Because it was civil, not criminal, the case did not carry the potential of prison time.

James, who campaigned for office as a Trump critic and watchdog, started scrutinizing his business practices in March 2019 after his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen testified to Congress that Trump exaggerated his wealth on financial statements provided to Deutsche Bank while trying to obtain financing to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.

James’ office previously sued Trump for misusing his own charitable foundation to further his political and business interests. Trump was ordered to pay $2 million to an array of charities as a fine and the charity, the Trump Foundation, was shut down.

Trump incorporated the Trump Organization in New York in 1981. He still owns it, but he put his assets into a revocable trust and gave up his positions as the company’s director, president and chairman when he became president, leaving management of the company to Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.

Trump did not return to a stated leadership position upon leaving the White House in 2021, but his sons testified he’s been involved in some decision-making.

Engoron had already appointed a monitor, retired federal judge Barbara Jones, to keep an eye on the company.

JAKE OFFENHARTZ

After his latest court ruling, Trump could now face $540 million in fines. Does he have the money to pay?

He was ordered to pay $354 million plus interest in his civil fraud case Friday.

Following Friday's decision in former Donald Trump's New York civil fraud trial , in which he was fined $354 million plus interest, the former president faces what could be $540 million in potential damages and fines resulting from his civil trials over the last year.

Late week, the judge overseeing E. Jean Carroll's defamation case against Trump ordered Trump to pay the former Elle magazine columnist $83.3 million in damages on top of the $5 million he owes her from an earlier sexual assault trial. This week, the judge overseeing Trump's civil fraud trial fined the president $354 plus interest of around $100 million for what the judge determined was a decade of fraudulent business deals.

The costly cases shine a renewed light on the former president's finances and could call into question Trump's liquidity, as he runs headlong into multiple criminal trials and an historic presidential election this year.

MORE: Trump civil fraud trial updates

While Trump's donors have largely footed the bill for his campaign expenses -- with Trump's political committee spending more than $50 million on his campaign in 2023 -- the legal cases present a stickier challenge for Trump, who has built a reputation around his wealth. Courts allow defendants multiple mechanisms to collect damages, including liens and wage garnishments, and the fines are not dischargeable through traditional protections like bankruptcy.

Multiple legal experts who ABC News spoke with suggested that Trump is unlikely to front the fines immediately, and will instead opt to delay any payment using a bond secured by his assets until after he exhausts his appeal options.

"You can post the full amount yourself or you can get a bond posted by a third party," according to former federal prosecutor Josh Naftalis. "You can kind of think of it as insurance, with a third party on the hook and you pay a portion."

Here's how Trump might deal with his civil obligations.

When a jury first awarded Carroll $5 million in damages last year, Trump opted to cover the bill by moving cash into an escrow account.

Last year when Trump was deposed in the civil fraud case, the former president claimed his company had more than $400 million in cash.

"We have, I believe, 400 plus, and going up very substantially every month," Trump said.

Trump's 2021 statement of financial condition -- the last year available from his trial -- represented that the former president had $293,800,000 in cash and cash equivalents. However, the New York attorney general alleges that the number was falsely inflated, including $93.1 million which Trump should not have listed as a cash equivalent.

The Trump Organization has scored multiple profitable deals since Trump left the White House, while also slowing their acquisitions. In 2021, Trump and Vornado Realty Trust -- the former president's partner in a San Francisco skyscraper -- received $617 million from a $1.2 billion bond sale. Trump owns a minority stake in the property, and it's unclear how much Trump directly netted from the deal.

In the following year, Trump sold his Washington, D.C., hotel for $139,408,146 which netted him a profit of $126,828,600 according to the attorney general. Last year's sale of a New York golf course also resulted in nearly $60 million in profit.

PHOTO: In this July 12, 2005, file photo, real estate mogul Donald Trump speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony for his Trump International Hotel & Tower Las Vegas.

It's unclear how much of those profits Trump held onto as cash, rather than using the profits to service other debts or fund projects. Based on his 2023 personal financial disclosure, Trump paid off multiple loans and reduced his Deutsche Bank loan down to $45 million, while also taking out new loans from Axos Bank. Listing over 100 sources of income -- and doubling his number of business holdings since leaving the White House -- Trump reported having over a billion dollars in earnings.

But even with hundreds of millions in cash and equivalents, Trump is more likely to cover his legal obligations using what's called a "supersedeas bond," secured using some of his other assets, according to Stuart Levine, a Baltimore-based business attorney.

"He's in a rarefied world -- it's quite different from the one that you and I inhabit," Levine said.

If Trump opts to secure his bond using one of his properties as collateral, a bond company would likely want the asset to cover roughly 125% to 150% of total amount, according to Ryan Saba, a civil litigation and trial attorney.

"The problem is nobody knows what Trump's collateral is or what collateral he has," Saba said. "Think of a bond as like a mortgage -- a bank is not going to give you a mortgage unless the value of the property exceeds the mortgage."

In fact, if Trump ultimately loses his fraud case appeal or loses the right to do business in New York, he might consider rapidly liquidating his New York-based assets, Levine said.

Trump owns multiple properties in New York, including his eponymous Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, an adjoining retail space called Niketown, Trump International Hotel and Tower, 40 Wall Street, a partial stake in 1290 Avenue of the Americas, two upstate golf courses, and an estate called Seven Springs.

Appraised in 2016 by Cushman and Wakefield at approximately $56.6 million, the 230-acre Seven Springs estate is used as a "retreat" for the Trump family, according to Trump International Realty. However, a unique and historical property like Seven Springs has a high upkeep and maintenance cost that eliminates many buyers, according to expert appraiser Ronald McInerney Jr.

"This type of estate does take a special type of person," McInerney Jr. said.

Trump also owns golf courses in New York's Hudson Valley and Westchester regions, but the sale of those properties is unlikely to make a serious dent in Trump's legal obligations. A review of golf course sales in New York over the last five years conducted by golf course appraiser Robert Gorman found that the average course sold for roughly $2.5 million.

With high overhead costs and low overall revenue, the courses often attract a limited array of buyers, according to Gorman.

MORE: Trump's $370M civil fraud trial is nearing an end. Here's what to know

Trump's 2021 financial statement valued his New York City properties as roughly $2.2 billion, but quickly selling those properties in a period when New York has a historically high commercial vacancy rate could be difficult, according to multiple appraisers who spoke with ABC News. Adding to the difficulty of selling the properties is Trump's mixed reputation in New York.

"It's really difficult when you're talking about properties like this, which are owned by a controversial president who is now involved in this major fraud case," said Michael Vargas of Vanderbilt Appraisal Company. "The regular measures of value I don't think really apply to properties that are involved with his ownership."

Even Trump's famous penthouse in Trump Tower -- which competes in size and location with other high-end residences -- might be a challenge to sell, according to expert appraiser Michael Maloney.

"It's a great size apartment, so it truly is a trophy property sitting on top of Trump Tower," Maloney said. "But he's got a lot of people -- 50 percent of America -- who don't like the man."

However unlikely, Trump could consider having some of his companies declare bankruptcy based on the decision, according to Cardozo Law School professor Pamela Foohey. Chapter 11 bankruptcy could allow some of the companies involved in the case to reorganize, could keep the businesses afloat, and would set a long-term plan to pay off debts.

Trump's businesses -- such as the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City and the Plaza Hotel in New York -- filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the 1990s, which the former president defended as smart business moves.

"I've done it four times out of hundreds, and I'm glad I did it. I used the laws of the country to my benefit," Trump said in a 2015 debate.

But bankruptcy is unlikely to be an effective long-term solution for Trump, according to both Foohey and Illinois College of Law professor Robert Lawless. Filing bankruptcy to avoid legal fines and penalties might invite a lawsuit, and legal fines are generally not dischargeable through bankruptcy, according to Lawless.

And as Trump approaches the 2024 election, filing for bankruptcy could be a political liability.

"Donald Trump has made a big deal about how he never personally filed bankruptcy," Foohey said. If Trump does go down that path, said Foohey, "I don't think they will file until the election is over."

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Moore v. United States: A Supreme Court case that could upend the tax code

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The definition of income —what it is and how it’s taxed—is a core issue of a Supreme Court case that could have far-reaching effects for taxpayers.

Moore v. United States, argued before the court in December, concerns the taxation of unrealized income. A finding on whether the plaintiffs, Charles and Kathleen Moore, must pay taxes on their profits as partial owners of a multinational corporation, could lead future courts to strike down other parts of the U.S. tax code. A ruling is expected this spring or summer.

Sloan Speck , associate professor of law specializing in taxation and tax policy, offers his take on the potential repercussions of the Moore v. U.S. ruling.

Sloan Speck

Associate Professor Sloan Speck

What’s at stake in this case?

First is a structural threat to the entire income tax system as we know it. Moore is setting a stage for future litigation that may have concrete stakes for ordinary taxpayers.

Second, Congress historically has defined income by statute. Congress generally taxes only realized income—where something has happened, such as a sale, to fix and identify that income. This statutory realization requirement has had a simplifying effect on how the income tax system has operated.

In Moore, the question is whether there is a realization requirement under the U.S. Constitution. If the court says there is a constitutional realization requirement or leaves that question open, which I think is extraordinarily likely, that raises a question about how the realization requirement actually operates. Is it a clear rule, or is it more like a legal standard—something that is fuzzy, hard to apply, and requires being resolved after the fact through litigation?

I think it’s a standard, and one that would, to some extent, flip income tax on its head by giving certain taxpayers a new weapon they could use to invalidate different provisions of the income tax law. And the narrow facts in Moore really give no sense of how far taxpayers could take a constitutional realization requirement.

The final stakes for Moore are with respect to wealth taxes. It's well-known that the Biden administration proposed a billionaire tax early on that has not gone anywhere, but it would have explicitly taxed unrealized gains each year and imposed a 20% minimum tax for all people with a net worth in excess of $100 million. Moore is a proxy fight about whether that provision works, and it's an effort to foreclose billionaire taxes before they are enacted and prevent future litigation over those instruments.

What are realized gains?

Realization hasn't ever been clearly defined, but it's fairly intuitive. So the basic case is: I own a piece of property that I sell to another person and get cash back. I can pay the tax that's due on that sale, and I recognize that income as the difference between the cash I have in my pocket and what I paid for the asset to begin with. It works for shares of stock and personal-use property like automobiles and your home.

But there are lots of harder questions about realization. The Moores are taxpayers who own a significant stake in a foreign corporation that's incorporated in India, and the U.S. doesn't tax foreign corporations. While the Moores owned the company, it earned money. Like a lot of corporations, it reinvested that money back into the business and never paid out any of its earnings in dividends. The Moores never got cash in their pockets with respect to their stock, but they’re better off—they’ve made money—because they own part of a successful company.

Their argument is that there was never realization. And that’s the question we're concerned with: Has there been realization because the corporation earned money, or do the Moores actually have to receive those earnings as cash in their pockets?

What would a winning verdict for the Moores mean?

It could undermine big chunks of the Internal Revenue Code. The best example that came up in Supreme Court oral arguments are the partnership tax rules. A lot of people, from high earners down, are partners in a partnership. A lot of small businesses and real estate ventures are partnerships. And the way the partnership tax rules work today is that, if the partnership earns income, the partners pay tax on that income whether they get cash or not.

And for many partners, they don’t get cash. Instead, these partners reinvest their earnings back into the business. That’s the business deal. If there is a constitutional realization requirement, then it could be unclear what rules apply to these very common business arrangements. There would be a lot of uncertainty about how to file taxes for a bunch of small businesses.

In Moore, the government essentially argues that none of this partnership income would be taxable, which is hard on federal revenues but easier on small businesses. Another possibility, however, is that these partnerships could become taxable like corporations, where there would be two levels of tax paid by the partnership and then the partners. 

That would be really bad for all of these businesses. It would dislocate the entire sector because everybody's made their business deals on the assumption you can plow your earnings back in and your partners pay the tax. If suddenly the partnership is paying tax, that's going to materially change what partnership businesses look like, and it will be extremely hard on those business operators and owners.

Finally, there are a bunch of other provisions that are effectively anti-abuse rules that operate on non-realization principles. If those anti-abuse rules were to fall, high earners would be able to avoid paying taxes even more so than they already do. And if the government needs revenue, it will need to look to middle earners. That could cause a shift and who pays what and how much.

What is the most likely ruling?

It doesn't really matter whether the Moores win or lose —that's not the important thing to watch. The outcome of this case is much less significant than the rationale the court provides and the language of the opinions, which is going to shape what happens going forward.

Like the overwhelming majority of Supreme Court decisions, this decision is likely to be bipartisan. So we should expect the opinion to be a heavy compromise between what the liberal and conservative justices want.

It’s been clear for a while that there would be litigation supported by conservative advocacy groups that would target different aspects of income tax. And the Moores were chosen. They stepped forward as a vehicle for advancing questions that have been raised among conservative commentators and advocacy groups for more than a decade.

This is not a surprising case, and its outcome is just one point on a larger arc. It’s the first step and what will probably be a long and difficult path for the government in defending current income tax law.

Even if the decision itself is not destabilizing, it will affect what Congress and the Treasury Department do because they know they will need to defend rules on this basis going forward. And that will shape the income tax law, probably in a way that shifts the burden of the income tax toward middle-income households and away from higher earners.

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NEWS... BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT

Trump fined $355,000,000 in civil fraud case that could wipe out his fortune

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A New York judge handed down a verdict in ex-President Donald Trump's civil fraud case on Friday

Former President Donald Trump and has been ordered to pay nearly $355million in his New York civil fraud case that could amount to all the cash he has.

Judge Arthur Engoron imposed $354.9million in penalties on Trump for fraudulently inflating his net worth to obtain better loan terms. In a 92-page ruling on Friday afternoon, Engoron barred Trump from serving in top positions in any of his companies in New York for three years.

The judge also barred his two adult sons who serve as Trump Organization executive vice presidents, Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump, from any director or officer roles in the state and ordered them each to pay more than $4million for personally profiting from fraudulent business moves.

‘This is a venial sin, not a mortal sin. Defendants did not commit murder or arson. They did not rob a bank at gunpoint. Donald Trump is not Bernard Madoff,’ wrote Engoron, referring to the criminal American financier.

Judge Arthur Engoron handed down a 92-page ruling on Friday afternoon

‘Yet, defendants are incapable of admitting the error of their ways. Instead, they adopt a “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” posture that the evidence belies.’

Engoron also prohibited Trump from applying for loans from any financial institution in the state for a three-year period.

The judge did not dissolve the Trump Organization’s business certificates, which he had mentioned in a summary judgement last year.

In addition, Engoron permanently banned two former Trump Organization executives from operating finances for any businesses in New York.

Former President Trump's lawyer, Alina Habba, called the civil fraud case decision 'manifest injustice – plain and simple'

New York Attorney General Letitia James had asked for $370million in her lawsuit accusing Trump and his family businesses of inflating his net worth by up to $3.6billion per year over the course of a decade to obtain more favorable loans.

Trump in a series of posts on his Truth Social platform blasted Engoron and James.

‘This “decision” is a Complete and Total SHAM,’ wrote Trump late afternoon Friday.

‘Racist, Corrupt A.G. Tish James has been obsessed with “Getting Trump” for years, and used Crooked New York State Judge Engoron to get an illegal, unAmerican judgment against me, my family, and my tremendous business,’ he continued in another post .

Former President Donald Trump claimed the ruling was biased

‘I helped New York City during its worst of times, and now, while it is overrun with Violent Biden Migrant Crime, the Radicals are doing all they can to kick me out…..’

Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, called Engoron’s verdict ‘manifest injustice – plain and simple’.

They will appeal the verdict ‘given the grave stakes’, Habba said. Trump will also request a stay on its enforcement until a decision in the process is reached.

‘It is the culmination of a multi-year, politically fueled witch hunt that was designed to “take down Donald Trump,” before Letitia James ever stepped foot into the Attorney General’s office,’ stated Habba.

Ex-President Donald Trump called Judge Arthur Engoron 'crooked'

Engoron’s verdict is Trump’s second courtroom loss in two months. In January, a jury ordered Trump to pay $83.3million to columnist E Jean Carroll in a defamation ruling after finding him liable of sexually abusing her in a Manhattan department store in the mid-1990s.

The penalty for the civil fraud case could increase to at least $400million with interest factored in. Trump would need to fork over the amount or obtain a bond within 30 days. Engoron’s decision will not bankrupt Trump because most of his fortune is linked to his real estate empire, according to The New York Times .

Last year, Trump said under oath that he was sitting on more than $400million in cash. The defamation and civil fraud cases add up to at least $438million that Trump has been ordered to pay, meaning he could lose all his cash and potentially need to sell his properties or assets for the difference, the newspaper reported.

The blow to Trump on Friday comes as he deals with four criminal prosecutions progressing at the same time while campaigning for president in the 2024 election.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected] .

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Judge fines Donald Trump more than $350 million, bars him from running businesses in N.Y. for three years

The judge who presided over a civil business fraud trial against Donald Trump on Friday ordered the former president, his sons, business associates and company to pay more than $350 million in damages and temporarily limited their ability to do business in New York.

Judge Arthur Engoron ordered the former president and the Trump Organization to pay over $354 million in damages , and bars Trump "from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation or other legal entity in New York for a period of three years," including his namesake company.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, who's office brought the case, said that with pre-judgment interest, the judgment totals over $450 million, an amount "which will continue to increase every single day" until the judgement is paid.

"Donald Trump is finally facing accountability for his lying, cheating, and staggering fraud. Because no matter how big, rich, or powerful you think you are, no one is above the law," James said in a statement, calling the ruling "a tremendous victory for this state, this nation, and for everyone who believes that we all must play by the same rules — even former presidents."

The ruling also bars Trump and his company from applying for any bank loans for three years.

In his first public remarks after the ruling, Trump said, “We’ll appeal and we’ll be successful."

Speaking to reporters at Mar-a-Lago on Friday night, Trump bashed the ruling as "a fine of 350 million for a doing a perfect job." He also repeated previous attacks by calling the judge "crooked" and the attorney general "corrupt."

Trump did not take any questions from reporters after speaking for about six minutes.

The judge's decision is a potential blow to both Trump's finances and persona — having built his brand on being a successful businessman that he leveraged in his first run for president. Trump is currently running for the White House for a third time. This case is just one of many he is currently facing, including four separate pending criminal trials, the first of which is scheduled to begin on March 25.

Engoron also continued "the appointment of an Independent Monitor" and ordered "the installation of an Independent Director of Compliance" for the company.

In posts on his social media platform Truth Social, Trump called the ruling "an illegal, unAmerican judgment against me, my family, and my tremendous business." "This 'decision' is a complete and total sham," he wrote.

During the trial, Trump and executives at his company, including his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, attempted to blame exaggerated financial statements that were the heart of New York Attorney General Letitia James' fraud case on the accountants who compiled them. Engoron disagreed.

"There is overwhelming evidence from both interested and non-interested witnesses, corroborated by documentary evidence, that the buck for being truthful in the supporting data valuations stopped with the Trump Organization, not the accountants," he wrote.

The judge also cited the lack of remorse by Trump and his executives after the fraud was discovered as showing the need for a monitor.

"Their complete lack of contrition and remorse borders on pathological. They are accused only of inflating asset values to make more money. The documents prove this over and over again. This is a venial sin, not a mortal sin. Defendants did not commit murder or arson. They did not rob a bank at gunpoint. Donald Trump is not Bernard Madoff. Yet, defendants are incapable of admitting the error of their ways," Engoron wrote.

"Defendants’ refusal to admit error — indeed, to continue it, according to the Independent Monitor — constrains this Court to conclude that they will engage in it going forward unless judicially restrained," he added. 

The ruling also bars the Trump sons — who've been running the company since their father went to the White House — “from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation or other legal entity in New York for a period of two years.” Both were fined over $4 million, plus interest, for their roles in the scheme.

Trump Jr. tweeted that, "We’ve reached the point where your political beliefs combined with what venue your case is heard are the primary determinants of the outcome; not the facts of the case! It’s truly sad what’s happened to our country."

Trump attorney Alina Habba called the verdict "a manifest injustice — plain and simple."

"Given the grave stakes, we trust that the Appellate Division will overturn this egregious verdict and end this relentless persecution against my clients," she said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Trump Organization called the ruling "a gross miscarriage of justice. The Trump Organization has never missed any loan payment or been in default on any loan."

High legal costs

An appeal in the case would likely take years, but Trump could have to post a bond for the full amount if he does so.

Read more: Trump faces about $400 million in legal penalties. Can he afford it?

The judgment is the second this year against Trump after he was hit last month with an $83.3 million verdict in writer E. Jean Carroll's defamation case against him. Trump has said he plans to appeal that verdict as well, but would have to post a bond for that amount as well.

James had been seeking $370 million from Trump, his company and its top executives alleging "repeated and persistent fraud " that included falsifying business records and financial statements. James had argued those financial statements were at times exaggerated by as much as $2.2 billion.

James contended the defendants used the inflated financial statements to obtain bank loans and insurance policies at rates he otherwise wouldn’t have been entitled to and "reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains."

Trump had maintained his financial statements were conservative, and has called the AG's allegations politically motivated and a "fraud on me."

"This is a case that should have never been brought, and I think we should be entitled to damages," Trump told reporters when he attended closing arguments in the case on Jan. 11.

Trump testimony knocked

The months - long civil trial included testimony from Trump and his oldest children . The former president was combative in his day on the stand, blasting James as a "hack" and calling the judge "extremely hostile."

Trump repeatedly complained about Engoron before and throughout the trial, and the judge slapped him with a partial gag order after he started blasting the judge's law clerk as well. Trump's complaints led to a flood of death threats against the clerk, as well as Engoron, court officials said, and Trump was fined $15,000 for twice violating the order.

Among the examples cited as fraud by the attorney general's office during the trial was Trump valuing his triplex home in Trump Tower in New York City at three times its actual size and value, as well as including a brand value to increase the valuation of his golf courses on the financial statements, which explicitly said brand values were not included.

Another example pointed to by the attorney general clearly got under his skin — a dispute over the value of Mar-a-Lago, his social club and residence in Florida. Trump's financial statements from 2011 to 2021 valued Mar-a-Lago at $426 million to $612 million, while the Palm Beach County assessor appraised the property’s market value to be $18 million to $27 million during the same time frame. Trump had also fraudulently puffed up the value of the property by saying it was a private residence, despite having signed an agreement that it could only be used as a social club to lower his tax burden.

Trump maintained during the trial the property was worth much, much more .

“The judge had it at $18 million, and it is worth, say, I say from 50 to 100 times more than that. So I don’t know how you got those numbers,” Trump testified, adding later that he thinks it’s actually worth “between a billion and a billion five.”

In his ruling Friday, Engoron said he didn't find Trump to be a credible witness.

"Overall, Donald Trump rarely responded to the questions asked, and he frequently interjected long, irrelevant speeches on issues far beyond the scope of the trial. His refusal to answer the questions directly, or in some cases, at all, severely compromised his credibility," the judge wrote.

Michael Cohen testimony 'credible'

James' investigation into the former president's business began in 2019 as a result of congressional testimony from his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen , who told the House Oversight Committee that Trump would improperly expand and shrink values to fit whatever his business needs were.

Cohen testified during the trial about his role in the scheme, and said while Trump didn’t explicitly tell him and then-chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg to inflate the numbers in the financial statement, he was like a “mob boss” who tells you what he wants without directly telling you.

Trump claimed Cohen's testimony exonerated him while also painting him as an untrustworthy liar because he admitted having previously lied under oath.

In his ruling, Engoron called Cohen an "important witness" and said he found his testimony "credible." "This factfinder does not believe that pleading guilty to perjury means that you can never tell the truth. Michael Cohen told the truth," the judge wrote.

Former CFO 'evasive'

Engoron was less forgiving about former Trump CFO Weisselberg, who previously pleaded guilty to carrying out tax fraud at the company.

Weisselberg's "testimony in this trial was intentionally evasive, with large gaps of 'I don’t remember.'"

"There is overwhelming evidence that Allen Weisselberg intentionally falsified hundreds of business records during his tenure" at the company, the judge wrote. "Weisselberg understood that his assignment from Donald Trump was to have his reported assets increase every year irrespective of their actual values. The examples of Weisselberg’s intent to falsify business records are too numerous to itemize," he added.

The judge permanently barred Weisselberg "from serving in the financial control function of any New York corporation or similar business entity operating in New York State," and ordered him to pay the $1 million he's already received from his $2 million separation agreement from the company as "ill-gotten gains."

AG initially sought less

James filed her suit seeking $250 million in damages from Trump in 2022, and the judge appointed a monitor to oversee the company's finances that November.

In a summary judgment  ruling the week before the trial started, Engoron found Trump and his executives had repeatedly engaged in fraud. The “documents here clearly contain fraudulent valuations that defendants used in business, satisfying [the attorney general’s] burden to establish liability as a matter of law against defendants," the judge wrote, while denying Trump's bid to dismiss the case.

Engoron summarized the Trump defense as "the documents do not say what they say; that there is no such thing as ‘objective’ value; and that, essentially, the Court should not believe its own eyes.”

The order, which Trump appealed, held that Trump's business certificates in New York should be canceled, which could have wreaked havoc on Trump's company and forced the selloff of some assets.

Engoron backed off of that decision in his ruling Friday, saying the addition of the "two-tiered oversight" of the monitor and the compliance director makes that move "no longer necessary."

Trump had complained about the summary judgment ruling while he was on the witness stand. “He said I was a fraud before he knew anything about me, nothing about me,” Trump said. “It’s a terrible thing you did.”

case studies of famous companies

Adam Reiss is a reporter and producer for NBC and MSNBC.

case studies of famous companies

Dareh Gregorian is a politics reporter for NBC News.

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  12. The Secret Behind Successful Corporate Transformations

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  13. Top Business Case Studies Of All Time: Pros and Cons

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  14. Top 5 Marketing Case Studies from Fortune 500 Companies to Inspire Your

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  15. The Top 30 agency case studies

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  16. How six companies are using technology and data to ...

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  17. 12 Case Studies of Companies that Revised How They Compensate ...

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  18. Top 40 Cases of 2019

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  20. Brand marketing case studies

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  21. Supply chains: when the chips are down

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  22. Top 10 Marketing Analytics Case Studies [2024]

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  23. Some virtual care companies putting patient data at risk, new study

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  24. JR Kyushu, TAI Use AMD AI to Inspect Bullet Train Tracks

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  25. Trump and his companies ordered to pay $355M in NY civil fraud case

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  26. Trump could face $450 million in fines. Does he have the money to pay?

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  27. Moore v. United States: A Supreme Court case that could upend the tax

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  28. Trump fined $355million in fraud case that could wipe out his fortune

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  29. Judge Engoron fines Trump more than $350M, bars him from running

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