Case Detail

Case Summary

Bel Brand: The Laughing Cow Challenge

Case Number: 5-311-505, Year Published: 2012

HBS Number: KEL631

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Authors: Derek D Rucker; David DuBois

Key Concepts

Bel-Brand, Marketing, Positioning, Global and Local Branding, Targeting, Positioning Statement


The case features Bel-Brand’s efforts to position its flagship brand The Laughing Cow in the US. The challenges in this case are twofold. First, choose a viable position for a brand after a period of high growth following the South Beach Craze. The difficulty here is that the initial driver of the brand’s position, the South Beach Craze, an environmental factor, is dwindling and is not sustainable. Second, the brand was receiving pressure from global stakeholders to try to unify the positioning in the US with the global brand positioning. These are both challenges that were faced by the marketing team and raised in the case.

Learning Objectives

This case can be used to teach the following topics:
1) Developing a sustainable positioning: This case gives students the valuable experience of making a positioning choice and supporting the rationale for the positioning chosen. Furthermore, it demonstrates how a brand maintained a position after the initial support/argument for that position has dwindled or disappeared.
2) Managing global versus local positioning: The case also showcases a real life example of where positioning in the US was extremely misaligned from the global positioning of the brand, and how the brand responded to this.
3) Write a positioning statement: One important exercise that students could be asked to do is write a positioning statement and become more familiar with concepts such as point-of-parity (POP), point-of-difference (POD), and reason-to-believe (RTB).

Number of Pages: 7

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Marketing

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: United States

Industry: Cheese Manufacturing

Organization Name: Bel Brand

Organization Department: Marketing

Organization Size: Medium

Decision Maker Position: Marketing Director of Bel Brand USA

Decision Maker Gender: Female

Year of Case: 2006