LeBron James Worked With Harvard Business School on Marketing Research

by November 18, 2011

LeBron James (along with other major celebs) let Harvard Business School students dissect their marketing and branding choices, as part of a case study. From the Boston Globe: “For 80 minutes, students discuss James and his brand, and debate his best marketing opportunities. By making James a case study, the course provides a compelling lesson in what can determine success or failure in the volatile world of celebrity marketing. ‘When Harvard Business School approached us for a case study, it was a ‘wow’ moment,’ said Maverick Carter, a childhood friend and business partner of James. James and his business partners happily cooperated with the research process, giving access and candid assessments of marketing choices, making the case study something of a page-turner. The Miami Heat forward is but one study subject. Others include Lady Gaga, Real Madrid, Maria Sharapova, the NFL, Tom Cruise, and Radiohead. The course gives students virtual backstage passes to Hollywood, to the highest levels of European soccer, to arena concert tours, to all the important places where the cult of celebrity reigns and represents potential revenue. ‘I’m trying to uncover the common concepts across different creative industries, synthesize the knowledge that exists for one area, and see how it applies to others,’ said professor Anita Elberse, a student favorite. ‘You can look at Lady Gaga and LeBron James and explore what concepts hold true for both; it’s really not about what decision the protagonists in the cases ultimately made. Very often there is no right or wrong decision. It’s much more about the underlying phenomena.'”