The business world is cutthroat and unforgiving, especially in today’s world. It’s no longer the neighboring shop that you’re competing with but rather, it’s all over the world and over the internet. At this point, there’s no choice but to lower the cost of this much rivalry in the same market. That’s the only differentiating factor at that point in a business.
Let’s imagine that whatever market you’re looking to get into is an ocean. This ocean is full of opportunity, supply, and demand. You’re in this ocean and you bump into a few other “sharks” competing for the same prey. Soon enough you realize that you’re swimming in a red ocean with all your other competitors and even if you try to divide the space, growth is still limited.
So what do you do when the growth of a company is stunted? Most tend to resort to lowering costs but that usually doesn’t end well. Another option is to remove yourself from the red ocean and create a clear, blue ocean.
What is a Blue Ocean?
Blue Oceans are a marketing theory created by authors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. Their book, Blue Ocean Strategy, was published in 2005 and became a bestseller selling over 3.5 million copies worldwide. The book dives into the worlds of red and blue oceans, blue being the innovative companies that work on a set of principles to sustain success.
To touch on red oceans, they are already the known and existing markets we have today. Think car shops, cafes, and gyms. These markets are saturated and if you’re entering them you’ll be fighting for the finite space.
The basics of the strategy are to create a new market for yourself free of competitors. In this new ocean, you’re able to create supply and demand. Sustaining is achieved through a combination of low cost and differentiation, contrary to the popular idea that you can only have one and not the other.
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There are a few key concepts in order to be considered a blue ocean company that eliminates the trade-off of low cost and differentiation: increase qualities of production at any level, eliminating the unnecessary, reducing the surplus expenses and creating a unique end product. Managers should be reflecting through a microscope to develop insights on how these four factors can be increased or decreased.
- Reconstruct marketing boundaries – To enter into new waters, managers must look past conventional boundaries of industry, strategic groups, buyer groups, offerings, and even time.
- Focus on the big picture – This focuses on the larders tasks that are visualized. Marginal movements should not be the center of attention.Reach beyond existing demand – Find the commonalities between potential customers and approach them from that angle. The market for a blue ocean does not need to me small and niche.
- Get the strategic order right – Following the sequence allow the business to maintain growth.
- Overcome organizational hurdles – This principle is applied at the managerial level. It goes over how leaders can handle risks at all levels, cognitive to political.
- Build execution in strategy – Thinking ahead to execution you must maintain a motivated culture. Venturing into a new market has its mysteries in forecasting and this principle touches on how to manage to change work environments.
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- Cirque Du Soleil – This company changed the antiquated concept of a circus and brought it to the 21st century. Removing the dancing animals and implementing fine arts like ballet, world-class acrobats and exiting scores the business has landed a residency in Las Vegas.
- Nintendo Wii – Taking gaming consoles to the next level with interactive games and a fun interface put the Wii on everyone’s Christmas list. The added features of the Wii distanced itself from other consoles like PlayStation and Xbox.
- Starbucks – Coffee shops were definitely existing long before Starbucks entered the market but this mogul changed the game. Convenience in location and menu variety had set Starbucks apart. It’s a one-stop-shop for all your coffee needs with mugs, coffee markets, teas, and fraps. With the added mobile ordering sales have increased by 50%.
Blue oceans may seem unattainable but it just takes a little shift in perspective to find a corner that needs to be filled. You don’t have to go and create a completely new product. Like Starbucks, coffee wasn’t new but they brainstormed and found new ways to change up an old concept. Are there any blue oceans you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments below!