Subject area: Corporate Strategy of Extension
Region: United States
Industry: Paper Products
Company: Printed Piper
Challenge: Printed Piper is a B2B greeting card retailer with customers across North America. The private company’s core competencies include unique designs, high quality, and a loyal consumer base. During an early 2021 meeting, marketing manager Harry Lee expressed frustration with the firm’s declining year-over-year revenue gains due to a contracting industry. These concerns resulted in an unsustainable seasonal cycle. We addressed this topic through the lens of a challenge-problem; Harry Lee proposed the issue—a contracting industry—and the team was tasked with analyzing relevant factors and determining the optimal solution in its entirety.
Investment in Personal Capital: Elucidating Professional CORE
Our team wanted exposure to the myriad implications of managing an entrepreneurial venture in a dynamic industry. Almost every team member has aspirations toward owning or operating a business. The personal capital gained during this project allowed each teammate to reflect on these aspirations in light of the case. Over the course of any burgeoning company’s lifecycle, it will undoubtedly face key inflection points where it must pivot to reflect changes in the external environment. The first-hand experience helping Printed Piper toe the fine line between a “Golden opportunity” or “Sudden-death threat” will likely become invaluable as we pursue our own ventures in the near future.
Investments in Social Capital: Building Trust within the Company and Industry
Our consulting team analyzed internal and external pressures on the business through several lenses, including, but not limited to: the VRIO framework (resource-based view: is the resource valuable, rare, and inimitable, and is the firm organized to capture value?);capabilities analysis (ordinary vs. dynamic capabilities); a shared value creation perspective (corporate social responsibility and the triple bottom line); local market analysis (PESTLE framework);and industry analysis (industry trends, lifecycle, adjacent industries).
Investments in Professional Capital: Analyzing Market Needs, Crating an Industry Map
The aforementioned process revealed several matches between Printed Piper’s strengths and the dynamic external market. Out of these, the most tenable and lucrative is the market for marketing materials for luxury corporate clients. As a result, the consulting team recommends the following value proposition:
To implement this strategy financially, the consulting team recommends divesting in the Cherishables SBU, a notable question mark in Printed Piper’s portfolio, due to its current feeble market share and uncertain industry growth. Otherwise, Printed Piper already possesses most of the capabilities necessary for offering marketing materials (efficient product design, organization-wide emphasis on quality, and advanced machinery). The consulting team recommends a stepped rollout of the marketing materials SBU, with less than 15%of revenues to be obtained from this business unit in the first year of its offering. The firm’s current functional organizational structure will be a perfect fit for this dominant-business corporate strategy.
Capital Utilization: What’s next?