ThePowerMBA – The Blue Ocean Strategy

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A lot has been written about market competition, and one of the most powerful images is that of blue oceans vs red oceans. 

Blue – we think of blue skies, of opportunities; red raises more the association of blood, fight, competition. 

According to the book that introduced these metaphors, Blue Ocean Strategy (written by INSEAD professors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne in 2004), Blue Ocean is a new market space in which you have the advantage of having no direct competition.

In contrast, there is the Red Ocean in which you and your competitors are trying to out jostle each other for market shared.

By adopting the Blue Ocean Strategy, the authors assert that these strategic moves create a leap in value for the company, its buyers, and its employees while unlocking new demand and making the competition irrelevant. 

The accompanying analytical frameworks and tools will equip an organization with the ability to systematically create and capture “blue oceans”—unexplored new market areas.

This sounds familiar

I get that when I first go through this module on ThePowerMBA as it reminded me of the earlier module on Looking versus Not Looking.

They are actually different as Looking versus Not Looking could still be referring to the same set of customers within the Red Ocean space, just that a portion of them may not be aware or keen to search and learn more about your product or services.

Blue Ocean would refer to an entirely different segment of customers that may not have been on the radar of the organisation but represents market potential.

Real-life examples

The Blue Ocean strategy is something I read about years back. I think I first heard of it being mentioned during a lecture.

But it is ThePowerMBA that really got me thinking about it and how it relates to some of the real-life examples I can think of.

This is especially so over the past year whereby Covid19 affected many businesses in the Food & Beverage industry.

Instead of competing against footfall, restaurants and cafes shifted towards the food delivery concept very quickly.

Of course with that, the Blue Ocean turned Red very quickly as well.

When I first started my career coaching business, I did it with a B2C model in mind.

My priority was to solicit and conduct high touch 1-to-1 career coaching. That was really tough and painful since I  had low credibility in the market and clients can often just go to the government-funded job centres for coaching.

Incidentally, I got connected with organisations such as e2i, Prudential and James Cook University.

They needed a 1-to-many career management workshop and were ready to pay on behalf of their audience (who are either job seekers or their employees).

The engagement is petty for the organisations but for me, each represents the fee of ten individual career coaching client would pay.

And I only need to spend a fraction of the time.

That provided me with substantial income and grew my repertoire to gather more engagements along the way.

For my coaching business, the B2B market became my Blue Ocean and allowed me to set myself apart from the crowded market of other high touch career coaches.

Conclusion

As simple as it may seem, the Blue Ocean strategy is very powerful and helped me to better position my businesses rather than fighting with the competition in the race to the bottom.

To learn more about this strategy, head over to ThePowerMBA and go through their Blue Ocean Strategy module.

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