A brief by Elise Baudelet, junior expert in territorial marketing at CAAC
Despite its wavy name, the Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS) has nothing maritime, as it refers to a positioning approach in marketing.
The BOS aims to find a new market without competitors via the simultaneous pursuit of a differentiation approach and a low cost strategy. Indeed, the BOS defines how to get out of the established market boundaries, in order to leave the competition behind using the creation of innovative value to unlock a new demand.
The company is then endorsed to reach new consumers that were not targeted previously. Innovative features, new usages, unique services shall be added to an existing product that will widen their potential reach. The benefits are: the creation of a competitive advantage, a lower cost in product/service development and so in final price as well as some new market segments without competitors.
The Nintendo Wii case illustrates perfectly this strategy. Indeed, to survive in a highly competitive market where innovation has to be quick and thus R&D is very costly for companies, they decided to enhance the emotion elements while competitors only focused on increasing functional performance. They released a console oriented on fun, easy to use, with unique features that attract new targets such as elder people through the family image they have communicated and women mainly by means of the Wii fit. Therefore, they have escaped from a fierce market that was a red ocean, to find a blue one where their past competitors were not relevant anymore.
Cities may consider the BOS to re-define their competitive advantages and sail to the blue ocean. The challenge is now to find how to adapt this marketing strategy and if it is really suitable to them.