To win you must smash the competition. This is the basic thinking of most modern businesses. They compete with other brands in their category. They see their activities always in juxtaposition with their competitors. They become obsessed about what the "others" are doing.
I come across these types of businesses all the time. They are looking for the silver marketing bullet which will help them defeat the competition. That will help them grow their market share. That will help them defeat the competition.
Buyers in these markets are often overwhelmed with the amount of competing messaging. Its noisy. Offers can't be differentiated.
But what if there was another way? What if there were a set of tools and way of thinking that could change this way of thinking, bringing true differentiation and helping to make the competition irrelevant.
Blue Ocean Strategy
Blue Ocean Strategy is such a system. It's a marketing theory by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne and was first set out in their book "Blue Ocean Strategy - How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant".
What I love about their work is that it boils down highly complex ideas into simple tools and frameworks.
It follows a branding principle that I live by which is that to truly succeed you need to differentiate. Not only in the way you present your brand but in what that brand does and who it does it for.
Blue Ocean also has a brilliant story.
The story goes like this. If you are in a highly competitive market place you are probably swimming in a "red ocean". Everyone is feeding on themselves. Blood everywhere. That's why it's red. The theory promotes the idea that you don't want to stay in this ocean. Rather you need to innovate to discover new market areas - to reach the unmet needs of consumers. You want to play in a space where there is no current competition. A blue ocean. You want to swim away from the red and create your own space. The book promotes the idea that pioneers that are first often dominate those blue oceans for years. Think Coca-cola.
Great story. So how does it work?
Tools & Frameworks
There are a number of tools promoted in the methodology, some of which I have used in my work with clients. They are powerful and certainly help to produce 'out of the box' thinking and strategies.
I may cover some of the key tools in depth in the future on this blog but for now this video is quite helpful as an introduction:
So - I hope you've enjoyed this introduction to Blue Ocean strategy. Interested in finding out more about how this thinking might help you - drop me a line, I'd love to talk.