Business Case Studies, Marketing Strategies / Strategic Marketing Case Study, Cranium Inc. The Board Game Maker, Winning the Marketing Game!

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Case Title:

Cranium Inc. The Board Game Maker: Winning the Marketing Game!

Publication Year : 2005

Authors:  D.Gayatri & T. Phani Madhav

Industry: Toys


Case Code: MKS0026

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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When Microsoft veterans Richard Tait and Whit Alexander quit Microsoft for a venture, board games seemed a likely opportunity. The board game industry was flooded with offerings but hits like Monopoly and Scrabble were few. Cranium filled the gap for a fully-fledged gaming experience based on research of all the available games in the market. Its distribution strategy stood as a hallmark of its success. Starbucks coffee stores served as specialty outlets for Cranium and then, by word of mouth from satisfied users, Cranium had managed to remain at the top slot without investing much on advertising. Later, Cranium moved from specialty retailing to mass merchandising in stores like Wal-Mart and Target and was maintaining a balance between the two distribution channels.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To discuss the distribution and product development strategies of Cranium that helped the company to survive the 'Wal-Mart threat' in the industry.

Keywords : Cranium, Toy industry, Board games, Moments engineering, StarBucks and Cranium, Marketing Strategies Case Study, Speciality retailing, Brand experience, Product innovations, Pictionary, Marketing strategies, Distribution strategies, Mass merchandising, Wal-Mart, Traditional toy distribution


  • Introduction
  • The Brains behind Cranium Inc.
  • Branding Experience: 'Moments Engineering'
  • Niche to Mass Market: Moving Down the Pyramid
  • The Wal-Mart Threat!

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