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The last laugh is on Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey

The last laugh is on Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey

After entertaining the public for more than 146 years, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey travelling circus folded up its big top for good last May.

Faced with several years of progressively dropping sales and increasingly higher operating costs, the company had merged with its closest competitor to keep from going under.

The Fail :

Pressured by PETA, which accused them of animal abuse, the circus had no choice but to pull its star performers, the elephants, from the show. The impact was felt immediately because for a good portion of its audience, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus without elephants was like Disneyland without Mickey Mouse.

The circus had also failed to move with the times. Today’s kids have an attention span of barely 15 minutes. So it’s hard to imagine them happily sitting through a two-hour show. Not only that, we can now watch jugglers, fire eaters and trapeze artists live on the web, free of charge in the comfort of our own homes.

The Moral :

Company leaders need to stay on top of evolving trends, both social and political. They need to track the latest modes in entertainment, shopping and travel if they don’t want to be left behind.

Le Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Éloize or Cavalia are just a few of the ‘new style circuses’ that have been able to make it for now. As for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, it didn’t keep up with today’s tastes, and its brand ended up out of step with the rest of the market.

Failing to respond to a changing business environment is never a viable option.

Source image : Feld Entertainment


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