Blue Ocean strategy: Strong brand through unique positioning

Stefano Viani

Management

27 Feb 2017 Digital Agency Consulting

Unique and unmistakable: isn't that what every company wants to be? In other words, isn't every company? In e-commerce, this is not the case. If you look at various online shops, they are often arbitrary and interchangeable. As a reseller, it is difficult to differentiate yourself through your products - the product ranges are often identical. The shop systems are also becoming increasingly similar. Today still three steps ahead, competitors are catching up at a rapid pace and are also upgrading with technical innovations - faster than you can even think "innovation". Everything is blurring into a grey mass: similar products, identical customer approach, yawning boredom.Blue_Ocean_Strategie.jpg

We are talking about red oceans here. A company swims with the competition in a sea of saturated markets and fights a bloody battle for customers. The blue ocean strategy pursues the idea of consciously swimming free from this competition. This is to be achieved by tapping into new markets in which there is no competition yet: the Blue Oceans.

Even if companies have their own history and personality, this differentiation must be communicated to the outside world. This works through differentiation and a new self-definition, which is the only way for the difference to be recognised by the environment.

Instead of focussing on the competition, it is more important to be authentic than to vie for the same target group. How can you detach yourself from the competition if your thoughts and actions are constantly focussed on the competition?

Mit der Blue Ocean Strategie neue Märkte erschließen.Who am I and what values do I stand behind with the deepest conviction? How can I stand out and be myself at the same time? An economic niche arises from the strengths and wishes of the target group. This search for one's own living space does not necessarily lead to product innovation - an option that is rarely available to retail companies. It's often the surroundings: a new concept and the design of the overall range make the decisive difference and are remembered. It is crucial to really think in a new way for the target group and to be the first to present yourself as a repositioned, self-confident brand with the new concept. Attempts at imitation are not credible and are quickly exposed by critical customers.

Increasing benefits by making things faster, simpler and cheaper creates a profitable sales market in which the brand can exist in the long term. Regardless of whether the Blue Ocean strategy is planned or applied out of sheer necessity, employees in particular must be given special attention during (re)positioning:

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  • Create understanding within the company: Employees must support the change and the visions. For this reason, they should be part of the process, work on it and not just be confronted with the result at the end. After all, the change process will only be accepted if employees feel that they are part of the bigger picture and can help shape change.
  • Leadership skills: People are lazy and don't want change unless there is a need for it and they have just settled into their situation. Therefore, good reasons for the changes must be found and communicated, otherwise the visionary management will encounter a critical mass that rejects them. However, employees are a company's most important resource. Managers must demonstrate competence and perseverance, motivate employees, set a direction and live the new values themselves. To do this, entrenched patterns and structures must be overcome. In the hunt for bold ideas, it is always worth leaving your comfort zone so that you can hit the jackpot with your vision.
  • Provide resources: Putting time into your own (re)positioning is not wasted or money thrown out the window, but quite the opposite. It is worth its weight in gold. An investment in the future. Brands that take the time to do this will benefit from it, because innovative concepts and a sharpened profile bring companies and customers together who are a good match, and in the end this is not just a monetary gain for the brand.

In the wild of the markets, the motto is: eat and be eaten. It is not crucial to face and win every duel. The Blue Ocean strategy is a way for brands to override the laws of the market and become a distinctive, strong and invulnerable company that no competitor can touch. It is an opportunity to develop your own world view that is new, innovative and surprising and at the same time fulfils the wishes and needs of the target group so that they subscribe to the philosophy.

The design of a brand is the mirror of its soul. Its values and direction are reflected in its external appearance. Our checklist will show you how this works for your webshop design.

About the Author

As Executive Director of Blackbit digital Commerce GmbH, Stefano Viani manages all areas of the agency in the offices in Göttingen, Hamburg, Berlin and Kiev. His passion is the development of marketing strategies and their implementation in concrete measures.

In his free time, Stefano is passionate about riding his motorbike or working out in the gym.