Drowning in the Red Sea of Competition?
A quick review of one of my favorite books, “Blue Ocean Strategy”. We’re going to need a bigger boat…
I am often asked for my list of books that I’ve read over the years to develop my knowledge of marketing and my process. I’m the first to admit that I didn’t invent what I do. I learned it from my clients, from my amazing employees and from many books.
So I’m happy to announce that I’ll be sharing my list of must read marketing books starting with this one – Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne.
It might seem like they have taken two buzzwords “value” and “innovation” and made the super buzzword “value innovation” but once you read the book, you see that these are the precise words that describe their idea.
And what an idea it is. They use case studies to illustrate how the concept works. My favorite is Cirque Du Soleil.
It seems the circus business is pretty tough. You have to haul around a bunch of stinky animals, the clowns think they are worth big bucks and you have to haul a bunch of freaks all over the country. While that sounds fun to me, it’s expensive.
The folks at Cirque Du Soleil kept the best parts of the circus, dropped the expensive stuff and brought in elements from theater – nice seats, killer lighting, story lines and dance. They didn’t create a circus or a theater production – they created some unique third category. Some kind of french guy’s acid trip.
This is the Blue Ocean the authors discuss. Instead of fighting to survive in the bloody, red sea of circus competition, they innovated their value proposition to swim in a new category where they were at the top of the food chain.
My only criticism of the book is that achieving a true Blue Ocean strategy is a pipe dream for most companies. The book devotes a chapter to overcoming organizational hurdles – but, really, that challenge warrants a book of its own. Probably several. And many companies just won’t be able to make it happen.
Overall, it’s an inspired book that will leave you with a lot of great, workable ideas about engineering your value proposition and aligning your business model to better compete – even if you decide to stay in the bloody sea.