Monday, July 27, 2015

Blue and Red Oceans as a New Lens

After reading “Blue Ocean Strategy”, I have started looking at companies across different industries through the lens of blue or red oceans. As Kim and Mauborgne said, the idea of blue oceans has always been here, but recognizing this as a strategy has not always existed.

The key elements of this strategic mindset are counterintuitive:  blue oceans are often nearby, and technology innovation in itself is not what sets them apart. It makes me wonder what blue ocean potential exists within many industries, but is untapped?

Do all companies fall in the red or blue category? If I understand the concepts correctly, it is possible for a company to begin in one camp then shift to the other, if it develops a new market space for itself with a new product or service.

If a brand has power to influence people’s perception that it is a pioneer and unique, it could be seen as a blue ocean, even if it was not truly the original one in its class. If consumers can recognize what the brand has to offer that makes it unique, that can only increase the blue ocean’s power. If consumers can say, “This is the only brand that makes a product like this; I haven’t found anything else as good,” etc.

Coke and Pepsi fit the description of red oceans, in that they are always competing against each other and striving to out-do the other. In this industry, the competition is relevant. If that is the case, then it is possible to experience great profits in a red ocean, even though the market space is shared.

I am also wondering if all industries have real blue ocean potential. Taking it a step further, do all individual companies have the potential to identify and develop a blue ocean? Or do certain industries naturally have more potential? Looking at the variety of examples in this article alone, it is safe to say that any industry is fair game.

I think the blue/red ocean concepts could also apply to marketing and advertising practices that separate firms offer to clients. Red oceans would be the types of advertising tools and messages that are commonplace, while blue oceans are the unique approaches that really stand out.

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