How to Solve a Harvard Business Case the idaconcpts Way

Today I’m taking a look at the Harvard Business Case #9-501-055 Cofidis.


Undergraduate and Graduate Business students: be sure to quote me! : )

According to the Harvard Business Publishing, these are the learning objectives of this case:

This case allows students to attempt to answer a myriad of questions. How do you treat a financial product from a marketing standpoint? What does marketing add to the generic consumer credit product? What are the determinants of consumer adoption for a new product? How do you combine product and communication strategies? What is the effect of sports sponsoring? How do you build a brand? How should your marketing strategy unfold over time and across borders to build and maintain a strong brand? Is marketing an acceptable activity or an attempt to fool people with products that they misinterpret? What is the role of freedom and control in a value proposition? How do all these soft marketing elements interact concretely to lead to a profit formula?

Here’s how I tackled this case.

Purpose

The main issues that the company faces are: 1) What would the ideal features be for the national commercial websites?  2) How could they make sure that they enhanced the Cofidis money making formula? 3) What should the concept of the Cofidis.com website be? Should Cofidis become the online broker or should there be a new online concept brand?  In the other hand, the company must make these decisions while considering the macroeconomic factors, the rates of recovery of outstanding loans, and cultural factors of each country it targets.

Recommended Solution or Course of Action
Cofidis should go ahead with its Internet expansion because it provides a suitable channel to strengthen its deal-making mechanisms.  A core competence from Cofidis is non-intrusiveness and the web provides a good place to further implement this policy, combined with greater disclosure of details about payment options.  However, I don’t think that Cofidis should risk creating a new website concept but rather reinforce the Cofidis brand.

Analysis
Being an online broker could work against them because they are providing increased market exposure to other competitors.  There is no clear future on how the Internet ingredient will drive up profits (particularly because there is no certainty how it will affect handling doubtful accounts); therefore, the company should not make such a big investment of reinventing the brand online but only strengthen it. I agree with Cofidis customizing each country website to the cultures of each nation.  It is particularly important that Cofidis pushes its brand by better positioning itself among popular European web search engines.  Cofidis ought to consider making strategic alliances with websites that cater the local preferences (e.g. bicycling websites in France).  It was interesting to see a lack of discussion of Web 2.0 type promotion.

Damian Davila

Ideas and concepts from Damian Davila, Ecuatoriano thriving in Hawaii. Pro marketer and blogger. Find him at @idaconcpts on Twitter.