“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
- Henry Ford, founder, Ford Motor Company.
When participating in the frantic world of business, there are generally considered two broad-based and opposing market strategies. They are blue oceans, and red oceans. Red oceans are characterised by blood, vengeance and a constant need for survival, overcrowded and highly competitive industries and markets with a broad range of market participants. As such, it can be hard to survive in a red ocean as everyone is on the hunt for their dinner to stay alive.
Conversely, a blue ocean strategy refers to creating a new market where you have the ocean to yourself, and can sail on it as you please. Creating a new market, however, does not always mean creating an entirely new technology or product category. It is entirely possible to create your own niche market category (let’s call this a ‘blue pond’), whereby your product or service is unique and innovative, or satisfies an augmented need or desire of an existing market.
The ‘how’ of creating a blue ocean market strategy should be integrated with your business and marketing plans. With a unique team of employees who share your mission, extensive research and development needs to be undertaken to establish exactly who your niche market is, what need or desire you will satisfy, and how this will integrate with your branding strategy. It requires constantly challenging your brand’s own ideas, and developing your activities as your business grows. Create new channels to find your customer and educate them on how your product is different - why should they swim in your pond?
There are a number of benefits - and some drawbacks - of implementing a blue ocean strategy as opposed to a red ocean strategy. Predominantly, both strategies will require tremendous innovation and development in be successful. The difference is, a blue ocean strategy is proactive with regards to innovation, whilst a red ocean strategy is largely reactionary. In order to create a sustainable competitive advantage, a brand must constantly be at the forefront of development - and of the market. In a blue ocean strategy, the ocean is yours to keep and yours to guard. Just be weary of pirates who may look to steal.