New Blue Oceans of Customers Don’t Come from Differentiation

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.


If you truly think through each of the blocks above, you will inevitably identify parts of your business and its offerings that lead you closer to breaking the value-cost trade-off. When you do so, you’ll be closer to unlocking new markets and new customers.

If you have questions or want to chat about this process or any of the Blue Ocean Strategy tools shared in this series, shoot me an email at or schedule a call here.

Sherman G. Mohr is an Insead Certified Blue Ocean Strategist and co-founder of Shared Spirits, a marketing and technology company.