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America Online (AOL): Navigating the Ups, Downs and Changes of Online Service

Bradley W. Brooks, Steven M. Cox
May 1, 2017
North America
Strategy & General Management, Marketing & Sales
14 pages
Branding, rebranding, marketing, Growth, industry leader
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.75)
Average rating: 

It’s never easy for an industry leader to turn its back on everything that had fueled its extraordinary success. But when facing decline in the one industry that had propelled it to greatness, America Online (AOL) was forced to rebrand and refocus or die a painful death. As a result, many consumers in the mid-to-later-2010s, likely didn’t know that a former online service giant was now behind their favorite digital media websites – or how/why that relationship had ever happened.

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. Determine the relevancy of the PLC to the history of AOL.
  2. Evaluate the relevance of the TAM model in assessing AOL’s success factors.
  3. Evaluate how an organization can gain a competitive advantage by assessing its use of its resources and/or capabilities through the VRIO Framework.
  4. Identify the BCG quadrants where AOL resided over time and critically evaluate the strategies taken by AOL executives during AOL’s history.