Hbr Blog Case Study

I really enjoy the Harvard Business Review's case studies. In the June issue, there was a case study about a woman, "Mimi", applying for a job for which she was highly qualified. But her suitability for the position was being called into question after human resources found some disturbing information online.

Mimi was being considered for a high profile position at Hathaway Jones, a luxury apparel retailer company. She would be heading up the new flagship store in Shanghai. This was a key position for insuring success in the entering the Chinese market.

Although her credentials were impressive, a "routine Google search" by human resources uncovered  Mimi's past involvement in protests against the World Trade organization as a recent graduate of University of California, Berkeley. What caused great alarm was a picture of her in front of the Chinese consulate protesting China's treatment of a dissident journalist.

The author of the case study asked several people to share their views on the situation.  Should Mimi be hired?

Jeffrey A. Joerres is the chief executive officer of Manpower, one of the largest employment services companies in the world. He felt for a number of reasons that he would not hire Mimi.  He believes that "online content is public information and is fair game for employers to ask about it". In his opinion the information online was just as relevant as that on her resume.

Danah Boyd, doctoral candidate at the University of California, Berkeley and an advisor to major media corporations, has been blogging for ten years. Her opinion was that Mimi should have been hired. Employers need people "who play by the rules", but they also need creative thinkers and people not afraid to speak their minds when their ideas are not considered to be mainstream. Actively posting to share a person's present views can remedy thoughts shared in the past that may be particularly damaging to a person's online reputation.

Micheal Fertik is CEO of ReputationDefender, a company that finds and removes digital dirt for their clients. Clearly he feels one's online identity is important or he wouldn't be in the business he is in. He indicated that hiring Mimi would undoubtedly create problems for the company. He believes that one must monitor your online identity as a person's reputation is not just about you share about yourself, but what others' say about you. His quote from the last paragraph says it all: "Don't tell me that it {a negative comment online} wouldn't have an enormous impact on your emotional and professional well-being".

You can see the article online to see what other people have to say about this situation.

What are your thoughts? Would you have hired Mimi? Why?  I invite you to share your comments.

Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2015

The Blonde Salad

by Anat Keinan, Kristina Maslauskaite, Sandrine Crener and Vincent Dessain


In 2014, Chiara Ferragni, a globe-trotting founder of the world's most popular fashion blog "The Blonde Salad," had to decide how to best monetize her blog as well as her shoe line called the "Chiara Ferragni Collection." A year earlier, Ferragni, together with her team, had already made a decision to transform her blog into an online lifestyle magazine and to build its positioning as a high-end brand. It meant that "The Blonde Salad" envisaged to only cooperate with a limited number of luxury fashion advertisers, inevitably reducing the blog's revenues. Ferragni considered changing the revenue-generating model by incorporating an online market place within "The Blonde Salad," but which strategy and timeline would she need to achieve her aim? Should Ferragni's shoe line, a separate company with a different ownership structure, be merged with "The Blonde Salad" or was it desirable to keep the two apart?

Keywords: luxury; social media; digital influencers; fashion blogger; brand authenticity; digital marketing; Brands; entrepreneurship; start-up; fashion; shoe; Chiara Ferragni; celebrity endorsement; celebrity management; lifestyle brand; digital brand; new brand development; branding; Instagram; online followers; fashion blog; marketing partnerships; brand portfolio; luxury brand; Louis Vuitton; Dior; designer brands; Authenticity; Business Model; Blogs; Product Positioning; Commercialization; Consolidation; Luxury; Brands and Branding; Fashion Industry; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Publishing Industry;


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