Competition can be great for the best companies.

Competition can be great for the best companies.

Blue Ocean Articles
I bet you've heard it before. A young man has a great idea. He's presenting his deck to a group of potential investors. He's asked, "Who is your competition?" He answers, "We don't have any competition." I've learned to instantly discount his idea at this point. There are some occasional arenas where innovation and disruption lead to an absence of competition but it is very rare. Blue ocean does not see competition as bad. It doesn't see it as always good. Competition leads to opportunities. The tradition view of companies is to beat competitors. Beat them at price, service, product offerings, speed, etc. In most cases, competition simply leads non blue ocean thinking companies to commoditize their offerings by lowering price or lowering value. Blue ocean strategy leads strategists to…
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Blue Ocean Strategy is not a marketing theory or niche implementation strategy

Blue Ocean Strategy is not a marketing theory or niche implementation strategy

Blue Ocean Articles
As much as we've learn about value innovation in this series of posts, blue ocean strategy implementation doesn't rest exclusively in value innovation. It requires more than that. Sustained success is only achieved when internal and external people are involved in execution and a sustained profit proposition is supported. There has to be alignment across value, profit, and people. Finer segmentation has been emphasized in all areas of marketing and entrepreneurship. For start-ups, establishing that "beach head" as mentioned in Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers by Geoffrey A. Moore is certainly key to success. However, as a start-up or established company defines its products, offerings, or services, a strategy that serves to desegment markets and look across key commonalities of buyer groups is very important.   …
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Blue oceans of new market space aren’t all about innovation.

Blue oceans of new market space aren’t all about innovation.

Blue Ocean Articles
A common misconception or myth in this case is that Blue Ocean Strategy is the same as innovation. They are not the same. There are countless examples of great innovations that didn't lead to new markets or great value innovations. A blue ocean of new customers comes from value innovations that are significant enough to appeal to new customers. Case in point? Shared Spirits. A company I've been a founder and partner in for years. The company rolled out a terrific suite of innovative technologies around the sharing of spirits, wine, and beer in restaurants and bars. There is a robust back end that allows brands to spend money promoting their brands via spends for cocktails, wine, and beer through a network of influencers associated with the brand and the…
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Think about value when you adjust prices. Don’t just lower them in tough times.

Think about value when you adjust prices. Don’t just lower them in tough times.

Blue Ocean Articles
Red ocean trap six in our series is the myth that blue ocean strategic thinking is all about lower prices. This is not at all the case. Remember the value/cost tradeoff? Often times company decision makers, consultants, and entrepreneurs feel that meeting or beating the competition on price is the way to compete or beat the competitor or survive. In blue ocean strategic thinking terms, there are times to raise or create certain elements of a product or service so as to create buyer value. This may often be done simultaneously with saving costs. Possible questions to ask yourself? What factors does the industry my product or service serves compete on? What are possible substitutes or alternatives to my service or product? How might my offering be raised or lifted…
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New Blue Oceans of Customers Don’t Come from Differentiation

New Blue Oceans of Customers Don’t Come from Differentiation

Blue Ocean Articles
In this series we're exploring red ocean traps or traps that hold company in the throws of bloody competition. Many strategists suggest that one path to success is differentiation. We've all heard it. "What is your differentiator?" "What makes your product or service unique?" Companies often go down the path of reducing price and lowering quality. Or perhaps, raise price and deliver a premium product or service. This is a differentiation path that isn't about real value. Blue ocean strategy is about breaking the traditional value-cost trade-off. It is about pursuing differentiation and low-cost simultaneously. One always needs to ask, "what may we do to be an "and - and" company, not an "either - or" company.  One tool that warrants use in the process is again the ERRC Grid.…
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You don’t have to be first to market or first to pivot. That’s a myth.

You don’t have to be first to market or first to pivot. That’s a myth.

Blue Ocean Articles
Red ocean trap four? To create a blue ocean of uncontested market space, you have to be first to market. There are tons of reasons this is a myth but my favorite is cited in the book, Blue Ocean Strategy. Creating new oceans of uncontested market space is about being the first to link innovation to value, not about being first to the market. Apple's iMac is a stated example. It wasn't the first pc. The iPod wasn't the first MP3 player. Southwest Airlines wasn't the first airline to do short hops and no frills. In this series, you're seeing a massively consistent theme. Value innovation. Let's take a look at the value innovation in Blue Ocean terms. As you can see in the above image, if you're a company…
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You don’t always need new tech to grow new market share

You don’t always need new tech to grow new market share

Blue Ocean Articles
There is a common misconception that blue ocean strategic innovation leading to new markets is always about new technologies. This is not always the case. Obviously, there are some technological innovations that lead to Blue Oceans. Cloud computing led to companies like Salesforce and Eventbrite. These companies revolutionized their respective industries. However, technology in and of itself, isn't a pre-requisite to blue oceans. Value innovation, not technological innovation, is the key to opening up commercial viability. When a stellar NFL player retires from the playing field, he's the same person. Technology isn't involved in his new value proposition to the world. It may enhance his message but he's required to shift his value from that of a tackle, QB, defensive end, or kicker and become something the wider world, i.e.…
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New markets are closer than you realize

New markets are closer than you realize

Blue Ocean Articles
Often times a company owner or solopreneur believes that their core offerings or core business aren't sufficient to find new markets or new customers. They end up in the trap of price reductions, reduced margins, or moving to a premium offering that doesn't sell. They venture far away from their core expertise or the core expertise of their team. Red ocean trap two is a challenging one. I get it. Your customers have vanished, your service or product isn't selling and what to do? There are processes in place that allow you to take some control. Think about some tangible examples. Casella wines was in the wine business prior to their launch of Yellowtail wines. Yellowtail's blue ocean success didn't come from a company that was out of the wine…
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It may not be the best time to focus on your customers

It may not be the best time to focus on your customers

Blue Ocean Articles
Over the next several articles, I'll share each of the ten Red Ocean traps shared in Blue Ocean Strategy, the break out business book by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. I'll also be sharing some points that hopefully deliver context to our current global business environment. The article title? A bold statement. Yep. Often times, a focus on your current customers simply leads to price reductions, concessions, or chasing the tail of a dying industry. In recessionary or depression era times, current customers may not be the best business case. Your reaction to this statement could range from, "I'm not leaving the ones that brought me to the dance" or "Heck, this is all I know, this is how I built my business." Times are different now and they…
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Businesses that are Growing During Global Pandemic

Businesses that are Growing During Global Pandemic

Blue Ocean Articles
There is blood in the streets. The rules have been rewritten for the near term. What worked in past recessions doesn't mean squat. Some examples? When we think of recessionary times and the traditional sectors that grow during tough times; we generally think of car repair garages, remodelers, health care, discount stores, and sin businesses to name a few. Most of us think of items we won't do without or products or services that allow more utility out of the things we own, homes and cars for instance, or trading down to a lower level of product. Example, your Tito's Vodka may now be Platinum or Deep Eddy. This time around, the rules don't apply. We're all facing a new set of challenges. Challenges of which we are all acutely…
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