My first article was a recycled business strategy essay on Blue Oceans. I wanted to recap on that by explaining once again what they are and how they can be useful to businesses in existing markets.
I competitive market saturated with successful companies is best compared to an ocean heavily populated with sharks. After a while, their food source (customers) hides from the aggressive businesses that are tearing each other to pieces and making the water red. An old paradigm suggested the best way to win in this world is to be the bigger shark.
The new paradigm suggests you just move to a new ocean that is still blue.
Rather than stepping up your 'attacks,' work to defend yourself by either establishing an entirely new product category or moving into one that is less violent. A great modern example is Apple. Once a typical computer company, Apple failed to build sufficient market share when compared to Microsoft. There was even a short time when Apple and Microsoft teamed up so everyone could "see Apple healthy and prospering again."
Today, though, many people look at Apple and fail to see why it is so successful. Rather than staying where it was, Apple redefined its industry and market as to compete indirectly with Microsoft and its competition.
Apple still makes computers and software. It also makes popular MP3 players. There is also Apple TV. Now it has even moved into the telephone industry! Rather than defining itself as a computer company (Apple changed its name from Apple Computers in 2007), Apple reinvented itself as a consumer electronics company.
This change in branding pulled Apple far enough from Microsoft to grow very large very quickly. Now, Microsoft is copying Apple! Look at the Zune MP3 player and the new sidebar in Windows Vista. Apple had the technology first and, due to a new mindset, was able to apply it sooner.
Are you in a red ocean? What could you do to move into a blue one?