KGlobal Group of Companies
Volume 4: How can your firm create blue oceans
How can your firm create blue oceans?
There are two ways to create blue oceans. One is to launch completely new industries, as eBay did with online auctions. But it’s much more common for a blue ocean to be created from within a red ocean when a company expands the boundaries of an existing industry.
In studying more than 150 blue ocean creations in over 30 industries, the authors observed that the traditional units of strategic analysis—company and industry—are of limited use in explaining how and why blue oceans are created. The most appropriate unit of analysis is the strategic move, the set of managerial actions and decisions involved in making a major market-creating business offering.
Creating blue oceans builds brands. So powerful is blue ocean strategy, in fact, that a blue ocean strategic move can create brand equity that lasts for decades.
Cirque created what the authors call a blue ocean, a previously unknown market space. In blue oceans, demand is created rather than fought over. There is ample opportunity for growth that is both profitable and rapid. In red oceans—that is, in all the industries already existing—companies compete by grabbing for a greater share of limited demand. As the market space gets more crowded, prospects for profits and growth decline. Products turn into commodities, and increasing competition turns the water bloody.
The best way to drive profitable growth? Stop competing in over-crowded industries. In those red oceans, companies try to outperform rivals to grab bigger slices of existing demand. As the space gets increasingly crowded, profit and growth prospects shrink. Products become commoditized. Ever-more-intense competition turns the water bloody.
How to avoid the fray? Kim and Mauborgne recommend creating blue oceans—uncontested market spaces where the competition is irrelevant. In blue oceans, you invent and capture new demand, and you offer customers a leap in value while also streamlining your costs. Results? Handsome profits, speedy growth—and brand equity that lasts for decades while rivals scramble to catch up.
Consider Cirque du Soleil—which invented a new industry that combined elements from traditional circus with elements drawn from sophisticated theater. In just 20 years, Cirque raked in revenues that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey—the world’s leading circus—needed more than a century to attain.