“If it doesn’t challenge you. It doesn’t change you.” This is statement rang through my mind as I wrote the exam. Analysis of Business Problems (ABP) was the most interesting course in the EMBA program so far. The case studies were insightful and broadened one’s knowledge and problem solving skills.
Though the semester, we reviewed most case studies in groups where we broke them down into smaller digestible pieces. The diverse background of group members meant several points of view would be considered at once.
People peddled around speculations about the exam. Some said we were going to receive the case before the exam. Others said if we get the case ahead then it would be easy. So we waited and prepared and waited some more but no case came. So I went into the exam hoping that the case would be an easy one.
On the day if the exam, the facilitator welcomed us and repeated her written instructions verbally. When she said that she was adding an additional hour because of the calculation intensity of the case, I chuckled. I could not think of any case that we could analyze effectively in four hours. Let alone one filled with calculations.
I downloaded the case and to my dismay, the vase length was at the upper end of the cases we treated.
I will leave it to your imagination as yo how the analysis went. Notwithstanding, you enjoy the following brief of the case.
MJ Brenner was established by Michael John Brenner in Toledo, Ohio in 1925. Initially, it produced paint but expanded to include paint preparation and clean-up products. As of 2011, the company’s revenues were $6.2B with 80% of sales in the US across 3 divisions: household cleaning products (31.5%), industrial cleaning products (40%) and auto cleaning products (28.5%).
For five consecutive years, sales declined at an average rate of 7.5% due to consumer preferences for environmentally friendly substitutes, and cheaper alternatives. In response, the company launched a new product under its CleanSpiritz brand to freshen the image of the brand. This product contained 15% less chemicals and more biodegradable compared with the original. CleanSpritz also launched a 3:1 concentrated version of its all-purpose spray in the same year without marketing it. The concentrate was packaged in a smaller bottle, a move considered to make the overall cost of the product lower and environmentally friendly due to the small packaging. Revenues continued to decline regardless of these changes.
On 12 February 2012, MJ Brenner and CleanSpritz managers discussed the future of the products. The company’s executives accused the brand of draining the resources of the company. They also suggested that a CleanSpritz distribution cut down to save resources for other branches of the company. In response, CleanSpritz managers convinced Steve Logan, senior vice president of strategy for MJ Brenner’s household cleaning division, and his team to give them time to develop a marketing proposal to reverse declining sales of the brand.
Claire Beaton, brand manager for CleanSpritz all-purpose cleaning spray prepared a marketing strategy plan to present to Steve Logan and selected members of Logan’s advisory team. Her plan was to present a four-option plan for the meeting on 24 September 2012. The options include:
- base case scenario of maintaining the status quo and waiting
- relaunching the 3:1 concentrate
- add the 4:1 refill concentrate in recyclable pouch
- add 4:1 refill concentrate in the dissolvable packet