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The Marvel Way: Restoring a Blue Ocean case study focuses on how the company was plunged into bankruptcy. It also discusses how the company overcame its problem of being bankrupt and getting back into business again.
W. Chan Kim; Renee Mauborgne; Michael Olenick
Harvard Business Review (IN1182-PDF-ENG)
March 24, 2016
Case questions answered:
- There have been several attempts to explain Marvel’s success via competitive strategy but they fall flat: competitive strategy, with this specific case, neither predicts nor explains the outcome. Why?
- Who were the noncustomers the company targeted?
- If the company had spent more to hire top-tier movie stars, well-known directors, and moved forward the Hollywood Way, would the movies have performed better?
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Case answers for The Marvel Way: Restoring a Blue Ocean
The Marvel Way: Restoring a Blue Ocean Case Study
Marvel had to fight its own battle, but was it the long-term oriented strategy used by Cuneo Marvel’s superhero that came to its rescue? The company lived one of its own superhero vs villains’ stories. The company was founded in 1939, it grew and strengthened in the comic book industry until 1954.
There have been several attempts to explain Marvel’s success via competitive strategy but they fall flat: competitive strategy, with this specific case, neither predicts nor explains the outcome. Why?
The following years were a road of struggles due to mismanagement. the company’s leaders were the villains who fell for poor decisions and led the company to the ground. From 1961, led by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko, several attempts were made to revive the company seeking to position it in the industry again, but unfortunately, the company had to file for bankruptcy.
Some of the problems faced by Marvel included loss of key lines of distribution, bad publicity against the comic book industry that led to the creation of the Comics Code Authority, shortage of positive cash flows, and several changes in management due to selling the company in different occasions.
Before 1961, while competing in a red ocean, Marvel was threatened to shut the comic books division and was forced to come up with a different approach to solve the company’s crisis. Marvel made strong efforts to target the noncustomer market segment to open a blue ocean of opportunities.
The major problem for Marvel was the inconsistent profitability of the business, the management of Marvel prior to Cuneo’s time, seems to be too short-term oriented putting the company in a lot financial of distress.
Marvel did its best to straighten up its situation. The company created original and compelling stories, outsource distribution, sell licenses for the usage of its characters, enter the Trading Cards industry, and buy a share into the Toy manufacturing business. But every time Marvel undertook some moves for improvement, the company would be…
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