Bananas (A)

Posted: 20 Mar 2012

See all articles by Eric Van den Steen

Eric Van den Steen

Harvard Business School - Strategy Unit

Date Written: December 4, 2011


As owner and CEO, Wim Van der Borght had grown Bananas in 8 years from a 4.5 million euro company into a 40 million euro group of companies with a range of field marketing activities in Belgium and the Netherlands. The core of the group consisted of two companies - Bananas and Demonstrate - which were operationally completely independent and acted as competitors in the market. The two companies had different strengths and different cultures. In August 2008, Wim needed to decide on the right degree of interaction or integration of Bananas and Demonstrate. He also wanted to expand the companies' activities to a more comprehensive marketing offering and needed to consider international expansion opportunities.

Learning Objective: To identify and explore sources of competitive advantage and how they interact with organization, in particular corporate culture. To explore the trade-off between culture clash and the benefits from combining capabilities. To explore different growth paths.

Suggested Citation

van den Steen, Eric, Bananas (A) (December 4, 2011). Harvard Business School Strategy Unit Case No. 712-451. Available at SSRN:

Eric Van den Steen (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Strategy Unit ( email )

Harvard Business School
Soldiers Field Road
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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