CROSSNET® A Blue Ocean Strategy Case Study

The CROSSNET blue ocean case study started years ago.

Growing up together in the “Quiet Corner” of CT, brothers Greg and Chris Meade, and their childhood friend Mike Delpapa constantly sought new activities to keep them busy. They had no idea they would eventually launch what becomes a CROSSNET blue ocean case study.

In 2017 they reunited as adults, reminiscing on recess days playing four square. They had an idea. Why not a volleyball court divided into four quadrants, merging traditional volleyball with a favorite childhood game?

Crossnet team from the CROSSNETGAME Website, Greg, Mike, and Chris

After creating a prototype, they invited their friends to come play.

Their friends’ excitement made it clear that they were onto something. Since that moment almost three years ago, the trio has made it their mission to spread the game of CROSSNET®️ throughout the world.  

Success accelerated with Covid-19

In the short span of just over two years, CROSSNET®️ now features a backlog of orders, and in the face of shutdowns, pandemics, and numerous hurdles the company has millions in rolling revenue and a growing group of avid fans. 

A Blue Ocean Strategy Case Study

The process that led the Meade brothers and their friend Mike to develop CROSSNET®️ wasn’t facilitated by Blue Ocean Strategy. However, many of the principles of blue ocean thinking were in play. You may leverage intentional blue ocean thinking, tools, systems, processes to come up with market-defining products as well. 

Let’s cover some of the highlights of CROSSNET®️’s brilliance. A blue ocean shift, innovation, or new category isn’t defined by technology innovation.

It’s defined by value innovation. A product or service that breaks the value cost trade-off and opens up a completely new market space.

The Six Paths Framework

If you want to leverage the creativity of the CROSSNET®️ team, leverage the Six Paths Framework in Blue Ocean Strategy. You will see that CROSSNET A Blue Ocean Case Study fits the bill perfectly.

six paths framework and CROSSNET A Blue Ocean Case Study

Path One: Look across alternative industries.

While CROSSNET®️ didn’t have to go far, there were still distinct differences between the game of Four Square that inspired them and the game played on a beach or yard. The one now distributed nationally via chain stores and sold online via websites.

Four Square rules and specifics are a bit more flexible and complex than one may remember. Check out the go-to site. http://www.squarefour.org/rules

Tip: When you spend time thinking through product or service offerings, look to similar industries and then move out to seemingly more removed industries for inspiration. 

Path Two: Look across strategic groups.

When one thinks of the CROSSNET®️ and compares strategic groups, one thinks of elementary school kids and simple games. When one thinks of volleyball, the other inspiration for CROSSNET®️, one thinks of athletes, competition, backyard, and beach.

Strategic groups will either trade up or trade down.

CROSSNET®️ seeks to please the volleyball or beach crowd ready to trade up from volleyball. The typical buyer will be suburban, has leisure time, and makes time for social gatherings.

The group that trades down from volleyball isn’t necessarily the Crossnet®️ audience. 

Tip: When you’re designing your offering, consider how strategic groups you will target currently buy.

Do you want to target the group that trades up from your current product or your “inspired by product” or service or do you want to target the group that trades down? 

Path Three: Look across the chain of buyers.

Crossnet®️’s range of coverage as to the chain of buyers is brilliant. While I don’t have the numbers, I can safely bet that purchasers, users, and influencers, all love the product.

CROSSNET®️ targeted users first.

That is natural. However, when you look across a chain of buyers, you have to consider who else plays a role in the buying process. In the case of CROSSNET®️, you have large retail buyers who have to be convinced their own users will want the product.

In addition, you have to be knowledgeable about how influencers will use and share the product. I don’t mean influencers as in Instagram influencers all though, they may be valuable. I’m speaking to influencers among corporate purchasers, publicists, personalities, group leaders, and so on. 

Tip: When you target users with your product, how might you serve the purchasers and influencers that play a role in your success? If you target influencers, how might you target purchasers and users? On those occasions when you target purchasers, how might you service users and influencers?

Path Four: Look across complementary product and service offerings.

CROSSNET®️ play has become more than a beach play.

The company has successes in school offerings with physical fitness programs being complemented by the game. There are indoor and outdoor versions. A ton of accessories are on the drawing board. Look for leagues and other forms of complementary services rolling out of the CROSSNET®️ team. 

Tip: What else is used, desired, or helpful in the purchase, delivery, use, maintenance, and disposal of your product or service? How might you serve and meet those needs as well?

Path Five: Rethink the functional-emotional orientation of your industry.

With respect to CROSSNET®️, they nailed blue ocean thinking.

Ask yourself, what is the base of my product or services appeal?

Some of the time, products and services are sold on price and functionality. Other times, they are positioned around emotional appeal. It’s important to get clear on the orientation of your industry.

In the case of childhood/child age games, there is a functional appeal with emotional overtones to the user. The purchaser may be thinking in terms of price and function.

Crossnet®️ took the highly emotional orientation of Four Square and integrated a highly functional orientation into their offering.

They made Four Square for adults.

Tip: If your product or service is oriented heavily toward functional or emotional, flip the script and ask, how might I appeal to the industry in a different way? 

Path Six: Participate in shaping external trends over time.

CROSSNET®️ again finds itself in the crest of a trend. They will likely take part in shaping it. First, a trend is defined as irreversible and on a clear trajectory.

The trend CROSSNET®️ and similar firms utilize stems from the Covid-19 societal changes. There is an irreversible trend toward the simple and social. The trajectory is set.

Products and services that allow for small family groups to play and are poised for use when society opens are rare. CROSSNET®️ meets that criteria. 

Tip: What trends are affecting your business? What trends are you recognizing that are irreversible and on a clear trajectory that may be used to take your product or service to the stratosphere? 

What CROSSNET® had to say.

The Blue Ocean Strategist reached out to Brittany Harvey, Director of Brand Strategy, and sought some input on how relevant similar lines of strategic thinking continued to be to the brand. We wanted here feedback on CROSSNET A Blue Ocean Case Study.

The BOS: What are your thoughts on our overlay of the Six Paths Framework to CROSSNET®️’s work and model? 

Brittany: The Six Paths Framework is a logical progression for companies to follow as they work to gain traction and see growth. Interestingly enough we unknowingly followed a similar path and have arrived close to path six at this point. It’s been an exciting journey thus far and we look forward to what’s to come.

The BOS: What’s next for CROSSNET®️? 

Brittany: There’s so much on the horizon for CROSSNET®️. To be honest, we’ve only broken into a fraction of the market that’s possible for us. We look forward to expanding our reach into intramurals, camps, more P.E. programs, the hospitality industry, etc. We also look forward to expanding our team as the company reaches new heights.

The BOS: Is CROSSNET®️ riding the #saferathome, pandemic, and slowly opening economy wave as well as we assume? What has been the overall communication strategy for your team during this really weird time? 

Brittany: The company didn’t expect to have such a large voice and role at the start of this pandemic. We were fearful along with most Americans and focusing on immediate needs. A week or two passed and we started to receive an unprecedented amount of orders. The team quickly realized that families across the country were looking to CROSSNET®️ as a source of #saferathome activity and entertainment.

We’re grateful for the value that our customers and CROSSNET®️ family have placed on the sport during a time like this.

The daily discipline for CROSSNET®

Every day we work hard to deliver a great product and a great experience to our customers, this includes more communication and transparency than ever, discounts, customer content, and active engagement with our CROSSNET®️ community.

The BOS: We think the CROSSNET®️ story is inspiring for startups and product designers. Are there any tips you might share with the BOS audience? 

Brittany: Our Chief Revenue Officer, Chris Meade always encourages a break down of every single cost and finding ways to improve your margins from day one. Don’t feel helpless to these larger companies manufacturing your packaging and product.

Secondly, don’t feel like you have to start big. We started small, purchased 100 nets, sold them, and then purchased 200. Now we’re buying in 7500 unit increments.

We greatly appreciate being able to be featured for, CROSSNET A Blue Ocean Case Study. We are thrilled to share some good news around how companies can launch and thrive in this business cycle. 

The BOS: We are glad to have discovered the CROSSNET®️ team via the Daily Hustle Newsletter! What a coup to be featured in their content. 

We hope you can tell that with intentional strategic thinking, especially via the Blue Ocean Strategy frameworks, your company, your ideas, your offerings have a real chance to reach new markets of uncontested blue ocean. If you’re interested in a call to discuss Blue Ocean Strategy and your business, we share an hour of time. No pitches, just talk. Schedule that time here! 

Sherman G. Mohr The Blue Ocean StrategistSherman G. Mohr is an Insead Blue Ocean Strategy Institute Certified Blue Ocean Strategist residing in Nashville, TN. He serves as Co-founder of marketing, tech, and healthcare firms.