5 Real Life Blue Ocean Strategies

Close up of ocean

Before we get into the 5 products it is important to know what a blue ocean strategy is. A Blue Ocean Strategy is when a company builds a product or service that has no previous market. Meaning that since it doesn’t currently have a market it also doesn’t have any competitors. It is essentially creating a product that makes competition irrelevant since this market is brand new. The opposite of a blue ocean would be a red ocean. This is a highly competitive slow to grow market that thrives off cut-throat competition. Avoiding the bloody red waters is what blue ocean strategy is all about.

Blue Ocean Strategy Examples

iTunes Logo

1. iTunes

Before iTunes, the music industry was losing millions of dollars to illegal downloads and consumption of music. It allowed for easy and affordable access to millions of songs and artists. It opened up a market that was non-existent and created a whole new need. Not only could iTunes users access every song imaginable, but it was now possible to purchase a single song. This a la carte plan opened up the doors for millions of people to access the music they wanted. It had nothing like it. It dominated the market which allowed for easy growth and a substantially quicker pace.

Blue Ocean Strategy Netflix Logo

2. Netflix

Netflix is the next blue ocean strategy example. Growing up it was common to find yourself making your way into a Blockbuster movie store. I can still picture the bright yellow and blue store decorations. It’s very nostalgic to think about, but Blockbuster hasn’t been around for many years. Blockbuster’s decline first started with Redbox, but Netflix provided the finishing blow. Netflix was founded in 1997 and originally only delivered DVD rentals through the mail. It wasn’t until 2007 that Netflix moved over and started their blue ocean strategy of streaming the content online.

Netflix has become the go-to movie service. It eliminated commercials, no news, no sports, but instead content that people loved without the hassle. It changed the way we consumed media and has kicked off a market that was non-existent before it started. Now the streaming market has become a red ocean with the entrance of many different players. Even though it is now competitive, the start of Netflix’s reign was an untouched market that quickly became the norm for media consumption.

Blue Ocean Strategy Wii Logo

3. Nintendo Wii

The Nintendo Wii was impossible to find at the store when it was first released back in 2006. It was revolutionary. It created a new way to play video games. In a market with consumers from one demographic Nintendo brilliantly created a product that attracted players from all walks of life. Families who previously did not play video games were now gathering around the living room television to play together. Not only did it get older generations to love video games, but it increased the number of women players too.

Blue Ocean Strategy Canon Logo

4. Canon

Canon opened up a blue ocean by creating a market for at-home copiers. Prior to creating the at-home copier, manufacturers were targeting the business office managers in hopes to sell their copiers. Canon instead focused on the people that actually used copiers and tailored their new smaller ones to them. This opened up a whole new market that had not previously been there. All they did was switch who they were targeting and found an area to open up a blue ocean.

Cirque du Soleil logo

5. Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil flipped the script when it came to the circus experience. What was previously a kid-themed event Cirque du Soleil decided to focus their efforts on the more sophisticated audience. In doing this they removed the animals, the lead act, and many of the other features of a traditional circus and replaced it with extremely talented performers. Kids are still part of the target audience but it has generated interest from the older generations.

Create Your Own Blue Ocean Strategy

In order to best implement a blue ocean strategy, you should follow the four actions framework. Next, raise, which features should be above industry standards. Create, find features that have never been seen or offered. Lastly, eliminate the factors of the industry that are overlooked and underappreciated that can be removed.

In order to best implement a blue ocean strategy, you should follow the four actions framework. Next, raise, which features should be above industry standards. Create, find features that have never been seen or offered. Lastly, eliminate the factors of the industry that are overlooked and underappreciated that can be removed.

Ready to create your own successful blue ocean strategy? Use the example and steps above to make your own!

By: Colton Slauson

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