Blue Ocean Strategy Paper
July 21, 2014
Anatomy of Blue Ocean Strategy
In order to process the nature of a blue ocean entity, it is imperative to grasp the point of derivation, which is otherwise known as a red ocean. A red ocean, which is polar to a blue ocean, generates its namesake from a literal representation. Imagine a feeding frenzy in the middle of the ocean; the water turns red with the victim’s blood as predators compete for survival. Now, apply this image to economic conditions. In an open market in any given industry, where there are established standards, barriers, and rules, competitors in a well-defined saturated industry jockey for market shares from the available pot. That, in a nutshell, is a red ocean.
On the other end of the spectrum befalls the blue ocean, which can also be depicted through a literal illustration of its characteristics. In a blue ocean, a vast landscape void of competition and freedom to pursue self-manifested wills is at the discretion of the occupant. A blue ocean is uncharted, where opportunity reigns because those who have sought out these waters have done so through an innovative ability to navigate themselves out of the once crowded red oceans. It is a privilege to occupy these waters, and the following examination will detail why in terms relative to business practices.
The blue ocean favors those who conceive a departure from paradigms. In order to obtain limitless and uncontested market shares, an entity traditionally has done so through differentiation and/or low cost. In doing so, the result is not to outperform competition, but rather, render competition irrelevant. The ability to corner a market and isolate oneself amongst its vastness is executed through means that redefine the terms of current competition within an established industry. Sure, ingenuity and crafting a new mode of production can lead to untapped market shares, but the industry has proven an innate ability to catch up to such advancements. Rather, it is value-cost tradeoffs and redesigned infrastructure that protects blue ocean entities from new entrants. This concept is a far leap from environmental determinism, which can otherwise be defined as, “a worldview in which market boundaries and industries can be reconstructed by the actions and beliefs of industry players . . . the reconstructionist view” (Kim & Mauborgne, 2004).
Now that the intricacies of a blue ocean strategy have been defined in the aforementioned content, an application of a contemporary real-world example will be thoroughly dissected in order to determine the factors that drove this brand into blue ocean market shares.
The Duck Commander story began under humble and assuming motives. In 1973, Phil Robertson, an avid hunter and former college football standout, conceived a new design of duck calls that mimicked the quack of a duck impeccably. The double-reed design would later be produced in bulk and made available to consumers.
In some cases, a technological advancement can lead to an emergence into blue waters, which this in fact did do, but only temporarily. He enjoyed the spoils of the new innovative design for the next decade or so, yet found himself in a red ocean environment, still. Therefor, the story does not end there. While production of duck calls steadily increased, it was the endeavors that occurred on the periphery that laid the foundation for the duck call empire.
The niche strategy Duck Commander employed is unique in that infrastructure was not the defining element that led them to blue oceans, as is the case with most historical records. Rather, it was the fortification of a brand that separated them from the pack. The perspectives of those involved in the production of the duck calls both recognized the qualities of their market and identified with them personally.
Phil Robertson eventually...
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