IMC Intuition

Thinking out loud about all things IMC

Blue Ocean Strategy – Where are You Swimming?

leave a comment »

Blue Ocean Strategy

Blue Ocean Strategy

When I opened to the first chapter of Blue Ocean Strategy, I thought, “Oh brother, product differentiation by yet another name.”  There is a whole genre of business books that give the concept a new metaphor for the same basic idea… boring! 

However, Kim and Mauborgne really got my attention when they point out that most business people really don’t understand the difference between strategy, goals and objectives.  I find this is  true both in my industry and in my accreditation grading and award judging for IABC –  people tend to think of the art in advertising as the goal or strategy, when in fact, good advertising is always the result of a great product strategy and communication plan.

Blue Ocean Strategy provides  the reader with  excellent tools for formulating a true product differentiation strategy that not only addresses the product, but positioning,  targeted cost, price strategy and execution.  

The tools help guide readers to analyze customer attitudes and preferences essential to global marketing in today’s communication environment.  The words, “Focus on the Big Picture, Not the Numbers,” really resonated with me because oftentimes  in my IMC practice , I’ve developed plans that went under expectations of cost.  This is one small  example where value innovation can happen given the right strategy.

The  Blue Ocean Strategy method is to plan the execution phase once the strategy is defined.  This begins with the organization’s employee and the concept of “Fair Process.”  According to the authors, “Fair process builds execution into strategy by creating people’s buy-in up front.  When fair process is exercised in the strategy making process, people trust that a level playing field exists.  This inspires them to cooperate voluntarily in executing the resulting strategic decisions.”

The authors look at three principles in fair process:  Engagement, Explanation and Expectation (clarity).  How many strategic deployments have failed in light of these three principles?  My professional organization, IABC, has published a multitude of case studies and articles that demonstrate that effective employee engagement programs pay-off in higher profitability – all employees are brand ambassadors.

What really rocks is that the authors have generously shared the principles and tools for Blue Ocean Strategy on their website at .


Kim, W. Chan and Renee Mauborgne (2005) Blue Ocean Strategy; How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant.  Harvard, Mass:  Harvard Business School Press.

 IABC Communication World, January 2011, Vol. 1 Issue. 1, Employee Engagement

IABC:  International Association of Business Communicators,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: