The Beauty of Sorbet
(10 pages of text)
HIGHLY COMMENDED CASE - African Business Cases Runner-up, 2012 European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) Case Writing Competition. This case chronicles the origins and growth of Sorbet, a chain of beauty salons targeting upper income women in South African metropolitan areas. Owner Ian Fuhr identified an opportunity to redefine the beauty salon experience in South Africa by offering customers a service unlike anything in the industry. He carefully managed human resources to motivate employees and grow the client base. To complement this, the company started an external beauty therapy school to improve staff and train potential employees. In addition, Fuhr stressed the importance of growing brand awareness and carefully adjusted the company’s sales mix to maximize all potential profit margins, all while developing a customer-centric culture. By 2011, two new businesses had been launched under the Sorbet brand (wellness services; event management). Such expansion plus regional diversification options all had to be considered while keeping service quality levels high.
- At the end of the case, students should have a better understanding of brand positioning, brand personality, employee branding, aligning the business model, and the brand promise and brand extensions.
- The case offers a useful opportunity for students to illustrate how they can apply theory to support their analysis of a situation and, in so doing, build a rigorous and persuasive, academically-based argument. The teaching note provides many references to theory and marketing that will help students with this.
- While branding is key here (with an emphasis on brand positioning and employee branding), the case can also be used in courses on marketing and human resources management.
- This case is appropriate for graduate-level programs such as MBA or executive development programs.
South Africa, Medium, 2011-2012
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