The concept was coined by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, recognized worldwide as dynamic management thinkers. It will challenge everything you think you know about strategic success requirements. This book has been called one of the best strategy books ever written.

These two authors created a simplistic way of describing the usual steps in trying to break through in any industry. Their description of attempting to engage with your competitors, is a bloody red ocean. If you think that you need to engage in competitive strategies to come out on top, you will only be swimming in a shrinking profit pool.

What Is The Blue Ocean Strategy?

The strategy was created after observing 150 strategic moves by influential companies, spanning across 30 different industries and collecting date from over a 100 years of business dealings. The conclusion of the extensive study: you need to create “blue oceans” to thrive. This entails creating a fresh market space for successful growth. Following this strategy, you will learn how to make your competitors obsolete.

Originally the book was launched in 2005, but an updated version is now available with new findings of successfully applying the strategy to any industry. Three core components stand out in the book: challenging your mindset, using the right strategy tools and remembering the human element in business.

blue ocean strategy

The Mindset

Kim and Mauborgne discovered that similar to switching over to an agile management style, you need to challenge the way you think about business when implementing the Blue Ocean Strategy. The biggest hurdle to cross, is the way you view opportunities. You have to start changing the questions you ask yourself about your business strategy.

The Tools

This is not just a theory, it’s a practical way of doing business differently. You need to figure out how to turn Blue Ocean Strategy thinking into commercially viable outcomes. As with all strategies, it will take time to see the results. Instead of sporadically trying the techniques, implement it systematically.

The Humanness

Successful implementation of the Blue Ocean Strategy greatly depends on a humanistic approach. You need to inspire people to drive the process into effective execution. Break it down into manageable chunks instead of an abstract big picture theory.

Related: find out why story matters

The Five Step Blue Ocean Strategy Process

This is not just an abstract theory that only looks good on paper. By following the simple steps of the Blue Ocean Strategy, you can duplicate the success that others have achieved in your own business context. It doesn’t matter what industry you find yourself in, this strategy will change the way you approach business success.

Step 1

Choose the best starting point to construct the ideal Blue Ocean Strategy team initiative.

Step 2

Create a clear viewpoint of the current state of your industry

Step 3

Uncover the hidden troublesome points that limit the current size of your industry and discover a Blue Ocean of unexpected new customers.

Step 4

Systematically reconstruct your market boundaries and develop alternative Blue Ocean Strategy opportunities.

Step 5

Select the right Blue Ocean Strategy move, conduct quick market tests, finalize and launch a shift.

Click here.for a more in-depth discussion of the steps. The Blue Ocean Strategy will help you to move from being a “settler” stuck in the current limitations of your industry, to being a “migrator” with bigger value improvement. The aim is to finally become a “pioneer” that creates your own unique space in your industry through marketing innovation.

Related: Nintendo used the Blue Ocean Strategy to outsmart Microsoft and Sony


How to Apply the Blue Ocean Strategy in the Digital World

Albert Einstein said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. If you want to stand out in the business world, it’s time to start thinking outside the box. Don’t just try to find customers for your product or service. Put the customer first and create a product or service that will cater best to a real need.

Years ago the only way you could succeed in the business world, was to have a big lump sum of capital to back your idea. But with the growth of the internet, it’s now possible to reinvent the way you do business. Small startups can challenge big corporations by changing the way they approach business strategies.

The Blue Ocean Strategy is the perfect way to create an untapped market opportunity. You need to figure out how to create a fresh demand in an uncontested market space. The opposite scenario, or a Red Ocean, is a space where competitors are all fighting over the same market share. You want to break free from this insane pursuit, by creating a brand new demand for your unique service or product. This way you will be accessing an untouched customer base, plus your existing customers will remain more loyal.

Case Study: Threadless

The Blue Ocean Strategy challenges businesses to rethink their product or service offering as well as reconsidering the value they offer their customers. It creates a better platform for engagement with potential customers. The strategy helps businesses break away from the oversaturated Red Ocean to move into an uncontested Blue Ocean.

Threadless moved from Red to Blue by placing their potential customers at the heart of their planning. This unique selling point moved them into uncharted territory online. In the t-shirt printing market, the following front-end factors play a role: product range, product size, price point and delivery. In the back-end: screen printing methods and digital marketing channels. Two other factors affecting a Red or Blue ocean: community and partnerships. The image below shows how Threadless measures up to their competitors.

blue ocean strategy

Creating a Sense of Community

Following the rules of the Blue Ocean Strategy, Threadless realized that if they could create a stronger brand loyalty it would place them ahead of the competition. They created an online community that became the heart of their organization.

The company took the simple concept of crowdsourcing to keep the community involved in the production process. T-shirts are designed by the Threadless online community. First a design is created, next it’s put onto a public platform and users vote to select the best designs that will go through to the next level of production.

Threadless creates a great platform for designers to showcase their work and make an income from their designs. Also, users get the opportunity to buy unique t-shirts, instead of mass produced t-shirts with generic designs. Both parties are incentivized to stay loyal to the brand.

Finding People to Partner With

They’ve got big global team players on board, like UNICEF. It is another unique mindset of the Blue Ocean Strategy, you don’t have to try succeed on your own. Find like-minded partners that will help you grow to create a win-win scenario for both parties.

You need to start thinking more laterally and reevaluate how you can make a difference in your specific industry. This way you will be able to access new markets and break away from what your competitors are doing.

How We Manage Your Site Can Help You to Implement the Blue Ocean Strategy in Your Business

Sometimes it helps to have a fresh eye look at your business strategy. To implement this unique strategy, you require a cultural shift in your company. If you are willing to pause for a moment and reassess what you focus on when thinking about success, you can possibly stumble onto a gap in the market you were previous unaware of.

An effectively designed website will help you to interact with greater intention with your customers. Are you listening to what your customers are saying about your product/service? Do you have a platform where they can easily interact with you?

Remember, people do business with people, so you need to create an online face for your business. You can connect to your potential customers through digital tools such as social media. It can almost be called the backbone of the digital world, connecting people in a virtual but very real way. These little tweaks are what we can help you with. By placing your customers at the center of your planning, you will create a product/service that stands out from your competitors.

The advent of the digital era has completely changed the way that businesses operate. If you don’t keep up and harness the power of this virtual world, you will be left behind. Through the growth of the internet, brand new business opportunities have seen the light. And you can use these to your advantage to create a Blue Ocean of uncontested market space.

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