Monday, 27 July 2015

Fashion focus: Boden case study first

Super Japanese ?
Seeking to find teaching content that resonates strongly with students, MBA Director Justin O'Brien – who would never describe himself as ever having been fashionable or having any degree of sartorial elegance – has looked to the fashion industry for engaging, accessible and fun lectures and case studies.  

Justin O'Brien wearing Boden
For example his visual case study on Cheltenham, UK originating global rag merchant SuperDry is used to consider the country of origin effect, as SuperDry, with its urban chic blend of vintage Americana supplemented with Japanese script, is often mistakenly assumed to be a Japanese brand, unlike discrete brands UNI QLO and MUJI which are Japanese.  
Justin O'Brien wearing Boden

The Boden case was inspired following one of those serendipitous formal personal development plan experiences, a two day residential training event offered by the Case Centre Case Writing training held in the Thatcher Wing of the Said Business School in Oxford.  Experience teaches you to have low expectations and mask any feelings of dread as you commence, hoping above all for a good lunch and time to pass quickly.  Of course with the heady mix of a focussed and practical programme, knowledgable teacher Trevor and staying in the old Oxford jailhouse (now a swanky Mal Maison hotel) this was no ordinary experience.  Having himself been inspired by a market research case study on Lands' End (whose business model Boden adapted) during his exchange year at University of Illinois, Justin set himself the challenge to really use the two days productively and make something happen.  

The Boden case is set at the dawn of the internet revolution and looks to consider founder Johnnie Boden’s marketing strategy having successfully established a premium mail order clothing business that has been particularly popular with the UK middle classes. The case considers whether the company should grow by following a strategy of diversification or internationalisation.  

The Boden teaching case study is not only Justin's first Case Centre publication but also the first from a Royal Holloway management academic.  
O'Brien, J. (Royal Holloway University of London, School of Management)
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Media notes:

MBA Director Justin O’Brien is a quite flamboyant character on the Royal Holloway campus, where he is known for his love of pink, vibrant rugby tops and flowery Boden shirts.  He teaches marketing and entrepreneurship on the MBA, MSc Entrepreneurship, MA Marketing and on the BSc Management programme where he hosts highly memorable undergraduate lectures on marketing strategy on Friday lunch times in the Royal Holloway Windsor auditorium.  Sometimes crazy things happen.  
Upcoming case study publications from Justin include intriguing, highly practically oriented and a little off centre consideration of a VW Camper van rental business, the children’s party market, a high value logistics tracking start up and story telling at the Windsor and Eton brewery.