ISU Adults Big Boom Beverages Fight or Flight Randall Searls Case Study

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1. What were the key characteristics of the adult beverage industry at the time of the events portrayed in the case?

2. Was the energy drink industry a good business to enter at the time of the case?

3. Was there any overlap between the energy drink and adult beverage industries? If there was, what would that mean for a startup like BBB?

4. Were there competitive conditions that favored an energy drink beverage startup in an industry dominated by large, multinational corporations?

5. Were there competitive conditions that worked against a beverage startup?

6. What do you think of BBB’s initial marketing plan?

7. Malik was confident that, by making four changes to the product, it would gain higher sales. Do you agree with the changes he proposed? Why or why not?

8. What do you think of the relationships and chemistry among the BBB owners? Were they a strong or weak team, or something in between? Why?

9. Along with introducing Totaled, BBB developed a strong social media presence. What were the strengths and weaknesses of this presence? Do you think BBB should have tried to shape and manage how its product was perceived on social media? If so, what specific actions could the founders have taken?

10. Should BBB have foreseen the possible response of medical authorities and regulators? Could they have gotten out in front of the problem? Do you think BBB had any ethical responsibilities to its customers and other stakeholders such as colleges, the general public, and parents?


1. What do you believe are the key success factors required to compete in the commodity trading industry?

2. What resources and capabilities does MSL possess? Of these, which are core competencies? Do they provide the firm with a competitive advantage? What role does Boisclair have in the firm’s competitiveness?

3. In your view, what are MSL’s current corporate and business level strategies?

4. What decision criteria should Boisclair take into account when crafting MSL’s growth strategy?

5. What type of growth strategy should Boisclair pursue? Identify and defend the strategy that you believe should be pursued.

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