The Billion Dollar Brand Club Is Disrupting the Basics

The Billion Dollar Brand Club Is Disrupting the Basics

The founders of Dollar Shave Club, Harry’s, and other direct-to-consumer start-ups adopted razor-sharp strategies.

They focused on consumers’ simple needs and disrupted the old adage “You get what you pay for.” They fearlessly lured customers away from giant corporations’ established brands and succeeded. Their strategy was to offer quality, basic products at much lower prices than the competition’s and connect directly with their customers. However, for all start-ups, easy market entry with a catchy video on a Web site is both an opportunity and a threat: it helps achieve rapid success while leaving the door wide open to other daring, new competitors.


Video Spotlight: The Dollar Shave Club Video that Started It All


This post is based on The New York Times article, They Changed the Way You Buy Your Basics, by L. Ingrassia, January 23, 2020, and the YouTube video, DollarShaveClub.com – Our Blades Are [Expletive] Greatby Dollar Shave Club, March 6, 2012. Image source: Shutterstock / Oksana Kuzmina.

Discussion Questions:

1. In your opinion, what are the competitive priorities emphasized in Dollar Shave Club’s operations strategy? Distinguish between order winners and qualifiers.

Guidance: Review cost, quality, delivery and flexibility. To beat the competition, Continue reading

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CostCo Vertically Integrates to Manage Rotisserie Chicken

CostCo Vertically Integrates to Manage Rotisserie Chicken

October 24, 2019

Costco is planning to vertically integrate by owning production of 40% of its rotisserie chicken supply chain.

Vertical integration is an effort to keep the price at $4.99 to attract customers.  The issue is that the main chicken suppliers are producing fewer whole birds, down from 50% of the supply in the 1980s to just around 15% of the supply today.

Bird size has also increased as the demand for chicken has increased.  Most whole chickens today are too big to fit on the Costco rotisserie production equipment.  Costco needs 6 pound birds and the typical whole chicken is now 7-8 pounds from suppliers.

Costco can control the size of the bird and plans to cut costs per bird by 35 cents by developing their own poultry complex.


Video Spotlight: This Is Why Costco Only Charges $5 For A Rotisserie Chicken


This post is based on the CNN article, Five things to know about Costco’s $4.99 rotisserie chickens, by Nathaniel Meyersohn, October 14, 2019, and the YouTube video, This Is Why Costco Only Charges $5 For A Rotisserie Chicken, by Mashed, February 5, 2019. Image source: Uwe Starke/Image Source

Discussion Questions:

1. After reading Continue reading

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Climate Change Is Changing Agriculture

Climate Change Is Changing Agriculture

In agriculture, adapting to climate change has become a necessity.

As weather patterns change around the globe, growers are learning to adapt in different ways. Some can afford to partner with scientists and plant experimental trees; others are forced to change their crops. For farmers, transitions to new product designs and operations are costly, and the viability of these transitions is as uncertain as the weather itself.


Video Spotlight: Growers Fighting Climate Change


This post is based on The New York Times article, In a Race Against Warming, Growers Try to Outsmart Climate Change, by M. Cone, September 21, 2019, and the YouTube video, Coffee Growers Combat Climate Changeby GreenTV, May 11, 2012. Image source:  Shutterstock/Valentyn Volkov

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the effects of climate change on agriculture and farmers’ lives?

Guidance: During warmer winters, there have not been enough chilly days for male trees to produce the pollen when female trees need it. Pests and diseases have increased. Extreme, sudden temperature changes have killed mature trees. Extreme heat waves and droughts have decimated crops and cattle. The effects of climate change on farmers’ lives are not negligible either: reduced income, increased Continue reading

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