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Build a Bear Workshop Global Strategy

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About Build-A-Bear Workshop Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. is the only global company that offers an interactive make-your-own stuffed animal experience. The company currently operates more than 400 stores worldwide. Including franchise stores in Europe, Asia and Australia, which make Build-A-Bear Workshop the leader in interactive retail. The Workshop offers an experience to children they have never had before, allowing them to "make" their own best friends in a teddy bear themed environment from start to finish. The BBW is very reliant on customer feedback, as it is the driver of the business in many instances. They are known to be involved in cause marketing as well, partnering with the WWF to spread awareness of endangered wildlife, and participating in many philanthropic activities. In 2003, BBW began to expand its stores on a global scale, and faced both successes and slight disappointments as a result of the expansion in Germany, due to their high demand and sales however, they were able to afford the declines. The BBW undertook several strategies while marketing their product, their in store marketing strategy included a very "hands on" entertainment strategy, assisting the children throughout the making process and interacting with them. They used a value added method to drive customers to their stores; their prices were very reasonable and affordable. 1) How would you characterize the current global BBW strategy? There are nine possible strategic windows that can be recognized. In order to identify which strategic window does the build a bear workshop fit to, we need to analyze its marketing strategy, financial position, and the company's growth. Build - a - bear workshop operates in the Toy & Hobby Stores industry in the services sector. ...read more.


The Master franchisee is based in Denmark, which is a Scandinavian country. As we know the cultural differences between Scandinavian people and German people are significant, therefore due to the highly different market that the company did not adjust to, BBW in Germany was not highly successful. Meanwhile BBW company provided all assets of its company for a successful business, Choose Holding ApS did not make a needed research before launching the store in Germany. Also, because of the indirect franchising model, Build-A-Bear was not able to control or intervene into the adaptation process for the store in Germany. The Intermediate modes model for franchising shows that the Research and Development as well as Marketing strategies are in control of the franchisor, whereas the Production stage and the Sales and Services are solely franchisee's responsibilities. If the company continues using the indirect franchising model, then it must create a department as a part of its Research and Development stage where the specialist would research the specifics of the German market, built the German consumer profile and then communicate the adaptation strategy to the Master franchisee or sub franchisor. The indirect model however restricts company's ability to have direct communication with the local franchisees therefore cannot be sure that the findings and the strategy will be well communicated to the local franchisee and rightfully implemented. We believe the company should switch its model to the direct franchising model which will not have the Master Franchisee. Franchisees should be most familiar with customer's preferences. they should sense the trends and opportunities of the local market. Using direct model, the franchisee will be a local entrepreneur who has a knowledge on the specifics of its culture and will be able to adapt the BBW franchised store that would serve specifically for the people of the local origin. ...read more.


This however is not sufficient to keep them at the high standard global rate competing with other toy stores out there, and video games for children. With the emerging digital platform over the years, technology has been used as the major tool for marketing products, whether it is by twitter, facebook, blogging, or just by looking at the retailer's websites. This has made a great impact on the way products are marketed. As with one bad review, an entire network of individuals stop buying that product. This has shifted the marketing perspective in many ways, where the firm's focus now will have to lie in customer profitability, rather than product profitability only.(Rust, Moorman, & Bhalla, 2010) Given this certain case, the marketing should be targeted to the mothers of the children. With more and more mothers integrated into the digital world, more emphasis on that area would be needed over time. Conclusion: We believe the company should focus on acquiring more global alliances that would allow the brand to expand even more and strengthen its global position. The number of franchised stores can be increased, but before, higher control over the franchised stores should be achieved in order for the new franchised stores to be successful. For that the company should reconsider the franchising model it is using. If the company will be able to use the solutions suggested in this paper and implement their benefits, they would be able to implement the concept in a way that is unique and matching with what is appealing to the local customer. The would also be in hand with the developing technology that creates opportunities for the business expansion. ...read more.

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