Making Your Competition Irrelevant

Apr 23, 2019 | Marketing, Strategy

What do Nintendo Wii, Yellow Tail wine and Cirque de Soleil have in common? They looked at existing saturated markets and successfully turned them on their head, launching fresh white space.

In a saturated market, how does a company create space for a unique proposition?

Professors Renee Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim established an approach for companies to stand apart from the competition. In their book Blue Ocean Strategy, oceans are an analogy for market space. Scared of sharks? In a red ocean, you swim amongst a group of sharks – your competitors – constantly competing or attacking for their share, ultimately making the ocean bloody and red.

By contrast, blue oceans are clear and shark free. Companies in these waters have created their own market space – with less concern of competition. These companies own a unique positioning in a particular market where they have a core competency. Ultimately, they swim freely and are able to thrive. However, as I’m sure you are interested to know, how do companies ultimately find a blue ocean?

Where to start to find your own blue ocean

Ninentdo’s Wii, Casella Wine’s Yellow Tail or Cirque de Solei followed similar approaches to creating a Blue Ocean: they had a rich insight into an unmet need of a clearly defined target audience. Take Casella for example, in 2005 when they were launching, they identified a massive market of people who were intimidated by an exclusive or pretentious wine category. They created a new value curve in the wine market with an uncomplicated and appealing wine for “the masses”. The results were outstanding – within a few years Yellow Tail became the number-one imported wine into the US.   

Finding space in the world of never-ending apps

We recently had a client faced with this opportunity – to jump out of a crowded red ocean of mobile food apps like Skip The Dishes, Foodora, Uber Eats, and Door Dash. The challenge for our client Sirved was to determine what made them unique and how they could create a blue ocean.

Sirved is the first menu-based search engine, helping connect users to their ideal restaurant in a simple and easy way. Their unique value is that their app saves you time by bringing all the information you need to select a restaurant such as the menu, appealing photos, location and directions in one platform. Sirved also allows you to search by your favorite cuisine, craving, dish or dietary need and will match you with restaurants that fit your criteria. There are plenty of restaurants menu apps out in the world, but none of them provide you with easy access to over 350,000 restaurant menus across North America.

Making your competition irrelevant

What is the “recipe” for finding a blue ocean? It doesn’t always mean thinking of an entirely new idea or product, it could be altering or building upon a pre-existing one. Success should not always be about being better than your competition, but about making your competition impartial to your success.

By: Talia Shapiro

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