Business English
Oral Examination
18
Case study
SHEEN PLC
Sheen PLC produces a range of upmarket
leather goods, including clothing, giftware, travel
goods and personal accessories. The company
has done well in the past, but now seems to be
out of touch with consumers. Sales are down and
exciting new products are needed if the company
is to regain its position and keep ahead of its
competitors.
Recently, a new Marketing Director, Anne
Smith, was hired in order to boost market
potential. She thinks the company is missing out
in the sports goods market, where it has hardly
been represented. She therefore encouraged her
marketing team to think of possible opportunities
for selling sports products. So far the result has
not been very encouraging.
Now, in an innovative move, the Managing
Director, Sandra Dickinson, and the Marketing
Director have decided to involve not only the
marketing department, but the whole company in
the decision-making process. They have set up a
number of interdepartmental groups each
consisting of a representative cross-section of
personnel, to act as informal product
development teams.
In a memorandum to these ‘task forces’ the
Managing Director outlines their brief as
follows: ‘Give us a world-beating concept! Try
to create something that has real potential to
improve our profits … Your ideas could be the
key to our future!’
She asks them to consider all aspects of product
development such as the product (design, uses,
etc.), the market (target, size, competition, etc.)
the marketing strategy (pricing, name,
presentation, etc.) and the promotion (where and
how) and even asks them to provide any other
arguments that could support their idea.
Presentation – instructions
Your task force consists of one member from each of the following departments: Marketing,
Personnel, Sales and Production. You prepare for a presentation of your ideas and argumentation
on the basis of the role cards below. You enact the presentation in the examination room.
You should also be prepared to answer questions from the examiners in connection with your
presentation.
You may bring this task paper and notes taken during preparation into the examination room.
Role cards
Personnel department
You participate in the brainstorm on the
new product together with the three other
members of your group.
You are particularly keen to find a new
product that will keep as many people as
possible in the company as it will save you
the problems of redundancies.
Marketing department
You participate in the brainstorm on the
new product together with the three other
members of your group.
You think that the marketing manager’s
idea was excellent and but you are a bit
worried about the image of the company
if it goes into a new field.
Sales department
You participate in the brainstorm on the
new product together with the three other
members of your group.
Your sales people are very keen to support a
new product and are ready to be retrained if
that proves necessary to attract a new type
of customer.
Production department
You participate in the brainstorm on the
new product together with the three other
members of your group.
You like the idea of introducing
sportswear and the production department
has free capacity for it.
June 2001
1