1. What is Cirque’s product and its strategy? Cirque du Soleil, a Quebec based company, is a circus that does not has a product. What it does offer is artistic works with a high-quality, artistic entertainment. It gives the spectators the experience of a theater and a dance circus without animals, which bases its performances on very talented and creative people, combining street performances, clowns, acrobats, and gymnasts. Cirque du Soleil’s strategy is to evoke the imagination, invoke the senses and provoke the emotions of people.
It does this by putting together solid and powerful performances, in combination with creative scenarios, precise illumination and magnificent costumes. In addition, Cirque du Soleil’s diversification included going into other aspects of entertainment. Thus, in 1999, it released its first feature film and its first television special. Also, in 2000, it created an IMAX large-format film. Moreover, Cirque du Soleil keeps diversifying its commercial activities in publishing and merchandising. In 1998, Cirque opened its first store on the property of Walt Disney world Resort in Florida.
What’s more, Cirque du Soleil hasn’t received any grants from the public or private sectors since 1992. 2. How has Cirque structured and supported its casts to deliver superior performances? Cirque du Soleil is a circus designed mostly for adults, and its structure evolves around the concept of creativity. Cirque structured its show by combination of fine recruiting strategy and strong culture of community and family. For this reason, the structure of the circus supports its performers and let the pure artists in charge of the shows. At Cirque du Soleil, creativity is at the core, not the customer.
Moreover, the circus let its artists to work the way they want to work, and express themselves. For that reason, it was a constant challenge to find the right artists. The casting director for Cirque, often traveled to more than twenty countries to met with local artists and to hold auditions, to try and find talented people that can continue to develop and be generous in the sow. In addition, since Cirque created an atmosphere of a family, that encourages the friendship among the huge diversity of the employees. Also, Cirque du Soleil it is very supportive of its employees and it does everything possible to improve their performances.
At the Cirque, artists feel like the circus did everything possible to make working conditions better for the artists. That is why the structure of Cirque du Soleil allows for creative people to come there from all over the world and be creative in order to deliver superior performances. 3. What are the challenges to Cirque’s continued growth and/or diversification? The continued growth and/or diversification of Cirque du Soleil begin with the artist themselves. Cirque offers the artist a new life that allows them to perform in a very dialectic way, while learning how to expand, how to blow up, and how to be in touch with who they are.
The new life offered to the artists, gives Cirque du Soleil the necessary edge to diversify its acts, and to growth around the globe without losing its glamour. Furthermore, to expand and develop its market, the Cirque’s management team has tried the decentralization of its operations, dividing its team into three parts: North America, Asia, and Europe. However, in Asia, Cirque du Soleil couldn’t achieve the same satisfactory results obtained in other regions of the globe, in part because of the low seat occupancy rate, the high cost of the tickets, and other currency problems.
In the specific case of the Asian market, there was a widespread dissatisfaction. On the other hand, in the North American market, the saturation was an impending concern. In terms of diversification into other types of products such as complex cirques, spas and so on, the management team realized that there is a problem of sense of belonging because of the very nature of the artist, because at the end of the day they are show people. Also, another challenge face by Cirque du Soleil comes from competition that derivates from other circus’s trying to adopt similar show formats.
In addition, the High-ticket prices can discourage many potential customers and making them not to come the shows. At last, the more experienced artists are getting old. Therefore, Cirque needs to keep recruiting talented people. That is why Cirque du Soleil used to need fifty new artists every two years, and now it needs a hundred artists every year.
Cirque du Soleil, Harvard Business School, Delong, Thomas and Vijaraghavan, Vineeta, 9-403-006, Revision October 15, 2002