Unilever, Laboratory for Design Thinking, Case Study Centre, and 'Marketing and Market Analytics' Students Pilot an Empathic Case Study at GSB
On the 8th of June, in the framework of a branding course of ‘Marketing and Market Analytics’ programme an approbation of the case method was held on the basis of empathic case – a new type of cases, developed by HSE Graduate School of Business.
The empathic case was the result of joint work of two HSE GSB departments: the Case Study Centre and the Laboratory for Design Thinking, as well as the team of the cosmetics brand 'Chistaya Linia' by Unilever. The latter provided a relevant task and simulated data for the case, thus immersing the students working with the case in a real-life environment.
The empathic case study was a response to the challenges of the new times and reflects a situation in which companies and brands use not only analytical quantitative data, but also qualitative research results in solving management problems. For the 'Chistaya Linia' case study, additional material was gathered from in-depth interviews. The mini-study was aimed at identifying the characteristics of the consumer journey when choosing care cosmetics for the target audience.
Svetlana Atueva, marketing manager for the 'Chistaya Linia' cosmetics brand:
A case study conducted according to the rules proved to be just as useful for us as a company as, for example, a case study championship. We deliberately went for this initiative in order to promote the development of students' soft skills. The empathic case was a pleasant discovery, since the data from the in-depth interviews that complemented the case provided a good basis for justifying the management decisions proposed by the students. I am grateful to the HSE Graduate School of Business for the new, constantly evolving formats of interaction with students, for the opportunity to receive new thoughts from a young audience and for the discussions, which allow you to look at your everyday work tasks from a different angle.
Valeria Temnova, 3rd-year student of ‘Marketing and Market Analytics’ programme:
The case study from the 'Chistaya Linia' brand is a very interesting and, most importantly, practical part of the Branding course. It was a very useful experience, the company and the task that was set for us are very interesting. I would like to thank Olga Kusraeva for giving us this opportunity!
Alena Ivanova, 3rd-year student of ‘Marketing and Market Analytics’ programme:
We were given a lot of information about the market for beauty care products, the company and its audience. And we really liked the fact that Svetlana, a representative of the 'Chistaya Linia' brand, participated in the case study.
Anastasia Plotnikova, 3rd-year student of ‘Marketing and Market Analytics’ programme:
It was an excellent experience for future career development, as well as for understanding the real issues that are being addressed within brand management. We have had the experience of brief but argumentative and well-reasoned answers, as well as discussion with our peers.
Pavel Voloschuk, director of the Laboratory for Design Thinking of HSE Graduate School of Business
It is very difficult to create something truly new without customer context. Today, companies that consciously manage customer experience strive to be customer-centric, conduct qualitative research (e.g. interviews or observation) to make sure that they get the problem right before they solve it and more clearly represent the real people for whom they work. We are very pleased that the case method also appeals to these leading practices and creates opportunities to introduce students to empathic research.
Olga Kusraeva, director of the Case Study Centre of HSE Graduate School of Business
When we developed the 'Chistaya Linia' case, we wanted to reflect as fully and plausibly as possible the decision maker's situation. Svetlana helped us with this by sharing information about the situation of the 'Chistaya Linia' brand. Then, we wondered what more we could do for the company to make the case method more useful for the brand (because the case method, being an educational methodology, creates the main value for students by developing their soft skills). The solution came from empathy, we made an attempt to show the company how the target audience actually feels and perceives. The empathic case study took the discussion to a new level, creating more opportunities for both substantiating ideas and generating them. We are very grateful to Svetlana Atueva and Unilever for joining our experiment. And the experiment was a success.