The most recent entrant into the arena of
business strategy planning approaches is a concept called blue ocean strategy, which
is interesting. The idea is old, but actually the concept and development of it as an approach
is much more recent, in the last several years. Essentially, it has to do with beating competition
in a new way. The contrast is red ocean and blue ocean. Red ocean describes more traditional
kinds of markets where competitors are used to competing head-to-head with each other,
and customers have gotten used to their products, and there’s very little opportunity to differentiate.
Airline industries are a great example of that, where the airlines compete tooth-and-nail
for customers with smaller and smaller differences in terms of the offerings that they make.
The idea of a blue ocean strategy is to create a whole new market space by changing the rules
of the game that favor you and hopefully make your competitor irrelevant. Southwest Airlines
is probably the best example of a blue ocean strategy in the mature airlines industry.
They were able to come in and change the rules of the game in their favor by eliminating
a lot of very costly issues, which customers liked but they weren’t willing to pay for,
and actually emphasizing the kinds of things that customers wanted, which was fundamental
travel, getting from here to there in the most expedient way.