Sports challenges are thriving with blue ocean thinking. Our culture loves the thought of winning big. Winning big with a half-court throw at a basketball game or a mid-rink puck strike into the net at a hockey game.
One of the more popular prizes fantasized about by those who golf is the hole in one prize offered in most golf tournaments.
If you’ve done any golfing and found yourself in a foursome in a local tournament, there is a good chance at some par three hole on the course, there was a car parked close by. The car had a bow on it and the premise was simple. Get a hole in one and the car is yours. Sometimes it’s cash, sometimes a vacation, or something else of significant value.
The prizes aren’t coming out of someone’s pocket of course. These are items or prizes that are delivered if a winner hits the shot thanks to an underlying insurance policy. The policy covers a cash amount or a sufficient amount to buy that prize being promoted.
The hole-in-one in Japanese culture
“Golfers are dreaming of these exceptional swings everywhere in the world. Except in Japan, where golf players avoid this kind of feat to keep away from an expensive tradition.
Indeed, a Japanese custom requires that golf players who make an ace are morally obliged to pay for a party in their honor. All golfers’ friends and other players on the course can then celebrate this feat without spending a single yen.
Between meals, drinks, activities, and souvenir gifts, the lucky player pays an average of USD 1,750 in organization costs. But the bill can go up to USD 10,000 in some extreme situations. In some cases, this custom can become a financial chasm for players who weren’t ready to shell out so much money in a day.
That’s why Japanese insurers have added to their catalog hole-in-one insurance. It hedges golfers against these flukes. This type of coverage was created to defray the organizational costs of hole-in-one celebrations.”
In Japan, this coverage may at times be included in one’s homeowner policy.
While here in the states, that level of extraordinary obligation isn’t a thing, there is a strong tradition for buying the foursome one was playing with at the time a round of drinks at the end of the day.
Challenges in sporting events, these promos if you will, are key to fan engagement, fundraising, and growing the revenue of charity events.
These promotions are true blue ocean thinking distinctions. Primarily, the companies that consult and productize these promos are masters at utilizing the six paths framework whether they know it or not.
Let’s revisit the framework at a high level.
Use of the six paths framework in gaming and challenges
In the golf example, the integration of a prize is an outgrowth of several paths. First, path five with its call to rethink functional/emotional orientations. When a pro golfer strikes a ball, she is simply replicating muscle memory built on millions of strokes at the range and previous rounds. She’s not thinking “hole in one”. She’s thinking about the wind, the green, the conditions, and other elements that serve to ensure her ball will rest as close to the hole as possible.
When an amateur golfer approaches that par 3 with a 10,000 dollar prize or a new car, he’s envisioning himself in the car or spending the money. Path five adds an element of fun and emotional buzz to the participant. It adds to the experience. It may even be included in the promotion of the tournament.
Path one is key of course. The look across alternative industries allows for the mashup of several industries. Gambling or gaming, insurance, sport, and sponsoring businesses that underwrite the coverage in return for mentions and signage.
This leads to path four, looking across complementary products and services. When a gaming or sporting event planner envisions participants to their event, they are simultaneously engineering who the sponsors and their complementary products and services.
A company we’ll soon feature in the Value Innovators interview series is taking blue ocean to a new level with their offering. They have rolled out individual hole in one coverage for the average recreational golfer. Any recreational golfer may instantly purchase a $1000 or $2000 policy that pays if a hole in one is made during a round of golf. This allows the recreational golfer to be prepared to throw a decent party for her foursome or family when the ace is verified.
We find this to be an exceptional use of blue ocean strategy in that it is a product that is offered at little cost to the company and consumer while adding value to the golf experience. Every par-three approached by the recreational golfer now has the feel of that tournament hole. Millions of golfers may now purchase the policy quickly and inexpensively. A vast blue ocean of uncontested market space is now opened up via a new way to look at the traditional treatment of the culture of the golf community. Sporting challenges are thriving with blue ocean thinking.
If you’d like to discuss tweaks to your product or company through the lens of blue ocean strategy, schedule a complimentary 30-minute call with Sherman G. Mohr, The Blue Ocean Strategist. Click here to schedule!