On June 02, 2007, Guy Laliberte (Laliberte), CEO and founder of Canada-based circus company Cirque du Soleil (Cirque) received 2007 “Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year” award. The award was given to entrepreneurs, who with their vision, achievement and leadership, provided inspiration to the corporate world. Commending Laliberte for the work he had done at Cirque, Joseph Schoendorf, and Chairman of the judging panel, said, “Guy has changed the face of entertainment and had a huge global impact. The shows that Cirque du Soleil creates and performs have brought joy to millions. All of this year’s entrepreneurs were exceptional, but Guy’s commitment to his artistic vision and the passion he has for his work were what swayed the judges in his favor. Cirque was founded in 1983. Since its first performance, the company strove to be different from other circuses, by constantly coming up with innovations. All of this year’s entrepreneurs were exceptional, but Guy’s commitment to his artistic vision and the passion he has for his work were what swayed the judges in his favor.” Cirque was founded in 1983. Since its first performance, the company strove to be different from other circuses, by constantly coming up with innovations.
Till August 2007, Cirque’s estimated revenues for the year were more than US$ 600 million with over a dozen shows running across the world at any point of time. Every show presented by Cirque, was based on a central theme with a supporting storyline, amalgamating different circus styles from across the world. The shows were presented by more than 800 performers, who were a part of Cirque’s 3,000 strong work force. Starting from the recruitment of employees till the production of the shows, it had introduced many innovative processes. Cirque was cited as one of the companies to have implemented an innovative strategy he company was successful in creating a new form of art by combining circus art, theater and ballet. Subsequently, Cirque also introduced its line of apparel and accessories. About 85 percent of Cirque’s revenues were from the sale of show tickets and the rest from the sale of audios, videos, books, and licensing agreements for products like Tshirts, jewelry, hats, shoes, masks etc. Apart from touring and permanent shows in places like Las Vegas, Orlando, and Walt Disney World, Cirque had also produced a number of movies and television shows. Some of the shows like ‘Cirque du Soleil Fire Within’, Coreto and Dralion had won the popular Emmy awards in various categories by creating demand, by developing a new market space, where competition was non-existent. commenting on the success that Cirque has achieved, Linda Tischler, Senior Writer and Former Managing Editor (of the ‘New Media’ section), Fast Company, wrote, “At a time when audiences for all performing arts are declining, Cirque du Soleil has taken a particularly moribund segment of the market -the circus -and created an entertainment juggernaut, with a burgeoning record label, a retail operation and a deal with Carnival Cruise Lines.
In 1980 Gilles Ste-Croix (Ste-Croix), with skills in stilt-walking, along with some performers founded Les Echassiers de Baie-Saint-Paul (Les Echassiers), and began street performances. Soon Laliberte and Daniel Gauthier (Gauthier) joined the group. In the same year, Gauthier and Ste-Croix planned to turn Le Balcon Vert, a performing artists’ youth hostel that they managed into an organized performing troupe. To raise funds for this purpose, Ste-Croix stilt-walked between Baie-Saint-Paul8 and Quebec City. This attracted the attention of the Quebec Government and it provided the trio with the necessary funds.
The Innovative Strategies:
When Cirque began its operations, it functioned with around 73 employees. By 2007, there were 3,000 people working in various areas like art direction, production, stage settings, lighting and special effects, IT, marketing and public relations, and as trainers, physiotherapists, fitness specialists, musicians, cooks and the kitchen staff, technicians, and performers.
Sets and Costume Design:
Cirque invested an enormous amount of time and money in preparing unique sets and costumes. Sometimes, the amount spent on creating a theater for a Cirque production was exorbitantly high. For instance, Cirque spent US$ 165 million to build a theater for KA at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The theater’s stage had two huge moving platforms which were controlled by a crane which weighed 260,000 pounds and used 4,000 gallons of hydraulic fluid.
Target Audience and Value Innovation
Cirque differentiated itself from the traditional circus in all business aspects. The company created a niche market of live entertainment within the entertainment industry. Rather than providing a product for which demand already existed, it used its innovativeness and creativity to create a demand for live entertainment. Cirque differentiated itself from the traditional circus in all business aspects. The company created a niche
market of live entertainment within the entertainment industry. Rather than providing a product for which demand already existed, it used its innovativeness and creativity to create a demand for live entertainment.
Typically, when Cirque planned any shows in new markets, a five- to six-member team would reach the new market about eighteen months before the event.
The Road Ahead
In April 2001, Laliberte announced that he wanted to make Cirque, the entertainment capital of the world. Cirque’s future plans included building entertainment complexes in major cities including London, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Sydney, in the next 15 years.
QUESTION 1 (15)
Making reference to the case study above,, critically discuss the generic strategy pursued by Cirque de Soleil.
QUESTION 2 (15)
Identify the phase of the industry life cycle that the Cirque de Soleil was in. In addition, discuss the type of leadership required for that particular phase.
QUESTION 3 (10)
Using the Resource Based View, analyse how Cirque de Soleil created a sustainable competitive advantage.
SECTION B (60)
QUESTION 4 (20)
Using the Balanced Scorecard framework critically appraise a Higher Learning Institution such as Mancosa.
QUESTION 5 (20)
Using a retail chain of your choice as the basis of your answer critically evaluate its value chain.
QUESTION 6 (20)
Utilising the concept of Countertrade critically evaluate the prospects of South Africa as an emerging global market.