Research by: Andrea Santiago, Al Rosenbloom, & Fernando Martin Y. Roxas
CUBO Modular Inc. (CUBO) was a start-up social enterprise in the Philippines that emerged shortly after its chief executive officer, Earl Forlales, received a substantial cash award for besting 1,200 entries in a competition. The concept behind Forlales’s competition entry was the use of engineered bamboo to produce modular houses. The materials, design, and fabrication resulted in cheaper houses that could be used for mass housing projects.
The public gained awareness of CUBO from the various articles posted online about the competition, which were also posted on CUBO’s Facebook page. By 2021, interest in the well-designed CUBO houses had swelled, and the quantity of queries overwhelmed the CUBO team, resulting in its failure to respond to hundreds of queries posed by potential customers.
What should Forlales do to keep interest in CUBO products at a high level while managing its production capacity to meet consumer demand?
This case is designed for undergraduate- and graduate-level courses, and may be used for courses on marketing principles and/or marketing strategy, in a session on digital and social media marketing; strategic management, in sessions on assessing sustainable competitive advantage and on developing enterprise strategy; or entrepreneurship and/or social entrepreneurship, in a session on business models.
The purpose of this case is to highlight the need for start-up companies to manage demand and supply properly to avoid adversely affecting their reputations. It also emphasizes the need to proactively manage social media accounts so that initial consumer interest can be productively converted into final sales. Beyond marketing challenges, the case highlights the importance for social entrepreneurs to be aware of the challenges in scaling their enterprises without losing sight of their missions. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to do the following:
- Distinguish between symptoms of an organizational problem and the underlying problem itself.
- Assess the consequences of an organic digital marketing strategy during a company’s start-up phase.
- Analyze the need for a tight relationship among the different functional areas such as finance, production, operations, human resource management, and marketing.
- Evaluate the challenges of scaling up in social enterprises.
Disciplines: General Management/Strategy; Marketing
To cite this case: Santiago, A., Rosenbloom, A., & Roxas, F. M. Y. (2021). Cubo Modular Inc: Managing demand for bamboo houses. Ivey ID: W25411. https://www.iveycases.com/