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by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne


There aren't many marketing books let alone business books I DEMAND that people read. However, Blue Ocean Strategy is one of them.

Blue Ocean Strategy is one of those books that comes around every 100 years and translates elements of what successful people have done into a practical guide for the rest of us to follow. From Starbucks to Circus du Soleil, this book maps any easy methodology to adjust your business to make the competition obsolete.

I have personally put the teachings of this book into practice with a few of my clients, and the results have been outstanding.

The book begins by isolating 2 different types of business landscapes: Red Ocean and Blue Ocean.

Red Oceans are filled with blood because of the savage competition that exists between rivals within them. Blue Oceans are clear because heated rivalries do not exist. The authors make clear the goal is to always live in blue oceans.

However, you don't find these blue oceans, you create them with innovations to your products, services, delivery, support, etc. There are no hard rules on how to do this except by starting with a framework that identities what in your business to raise, reduce, create or eliminate. It's as simple as that.

For example, Circus du Soleil became one of the greatest circuses of all-time by:

  1. Creating story lines that incorporated an ongoing plot and complementary theatrics and music. Other circuses didn't do this, but rather conducted a series of unrelated acts.
  2. Eliminating controversial elements such as animals. Imagine that -- a circus without animals! But it worked.
  3. Reducing fun and humor normally there for kids, but Circus du Soleil focused on "well-off" adults instead.
  4. Raising the uniqueness of the venue itself so it would take years for a competitor to catch up, versus training a few monkeys and hiring a few clowns.

See the graph below with blue representing Circus du Soleil, and red representing traditional circuses (get it, red ocean versus blue?):

No book, including "Playing to Win" written by a former P&G CEO comes close to so eloquently and practically explaining how to seize competitor-free opportunities by adjusting what you sell, and how you sell it.

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