Cole and Parker “Socks that Start Businesses Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Summary Paragraph

Dianna and Jeff, the founders of Cole and Parker have received a call from Dragon’s Den producer to start preparing for their pitch to the dragons on camera. The partners are excited by the opportunity given to them, pitching their new business model to the experienced panel. They have time of only a month to prepare for the pitch. Cole and Parker introduced new business model: for every pair of socks they are going to sell, 1 percent of that sales (through Kiva) would be aiding entrepreneurs around the world, starting their own business. With this new idea of giving back to the community while making sales, Dianna and Jeff are brainstorming about their marketing decisions that would be most effective and useful for the successful launch of their new venture supported by their innovative business model.


Perform an industry analysis. Identify key opportunities and threats for Cole and Parker based on this analysis.


Cole and Parker intend to initiate their business by launching their first product, a bright colored, high quality and boldly designed pair of socks. The market lacks any sort of sock brand that projects itself more than just being a commodity.

Cole and Parker can immensely capitalize on the available gap in the market and showcase their sock brand as a go to apparel. Socks are used right from the top to the bottom. Every one wears them, which does not apply any restrictions for Cole and Parker.

They can make different quality of socks and price them differently to cater every segment of the market. Their socks can be worn under high end denim or even with a decent suit as well. Moreover, a lighter side of their personalities would be reflected through the bright and bold designs of their socks.


As Cole and Parker will differentiate it from other random sock manufacturers by setting out an image of socks more than just a commodity, their competitors that were producing normal plain socks would take steps to catch up with Cole and Parker.

Competitors might imitate Cole and Parker to neutralize their competitive edge. This might result in losing the market share in the future as several other sock producers would be projecting themselves as a brand telling a story.


Assess Cole and Parker’s strengths and weaknesses


Bright colored and boldly designed socks with a brand image added would help the company to stand out from the market and gain attention of the majority. This will act as a USP for the sock manufacturers and help them in the beginning phase of their business cycle.

Cole and Parker plan to play an active role in societies’ betterment and plan to implement the formula of “One-for-Many” business model. This is an initiative taken by them to help other entrepreneurs like them to develop their own businesses and ideas, which was funded by Cole and Parker.


 If Cole and Parker decide to cater to more than one segment with different level of incomes and lifestyles, then the company will have a tough time creating the brand image as the consumers would be in doubt if this product is really made for them or not.

Many people perceive socks as a commodity, this re educes down the chances for Cole and Parker to operate using e-commerce method as people might not be willing to pay shipment for sock products, resulting as a higher level of dependency on brick and mortar method and retail outlets.

Cole and Parker “Socks that Start Businesses Case Solution


Who should be the business’s target market? Describe using demographics and psychographics

Demographic Segmentation:

Age: A survey shows that 80% of Americans were willing to buy a product that would donate a percentage of its revenues. Consumers are looking for opportunities to give back to the needy through their purchases by choosing a brand that helps the community with same quality and price. Degree holders and people in higher income groups are more likely to buy a product for ethical reasons, whereas people over the age of 65 were reluctant to be impressed by ethical traits of a product. Supported by these facts and figures, the most feasible age group would be from age 5 to 50

Gender: Cole and Parker can target both males and females by their sock products as they would only have to tailor their color schemes. If the socks are for women then they can add feminine colors, whereas for men they can simply change their color scheme by adding more decent or darker shades..................

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