Blue Ocean Strategy is a marketing strategy that was introduced in the book by the same name, written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. This strategy is designed to break through the constraints of traditional marketing, leaving behind the competitiveness of industry supply and plunging into untapped markets of potential demand that appeal to a new set of consumers.
This marketing strategy is fertile ground for companies that are implementing sustainability in their branding efforts. One of the best sustainability strategies for reducing a company’s carbon footprint is to use carbon offset, part of the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. It is the practice that neutralize the amount of emissions a company produces, and it is a strategy you need to make part of your brand identity.
With a focus on your innovative approach to sustainability in your industry, here are three steps to develop a Blue Ocean Strategy that reflects your carbon offset strategy.
1. Look your current position in the marketplace and where you want to be
Before you make any changes, it’s important to take a good look at where you are. When doing this, you can ask questions such as:
- what does your branding currently look like?
- how well will your new sustainability personality fit with it? Can you alter your current branding, or do you have to completely redesign it?
- what does the industry currently look like? What are the primary areas of competition within the industry? What models and structures within the industry are so rigid that most or all of the competition stays within those constraints?
- are other companies in your industry using carbon offsets and how do they reflect this in their branding?
Ryanair carbon offset blue ocean strategy case: Ryanair established that the air travel industry was constantly competing for the customers who could afford to fly. They also realized that there was an entire untapped market of people who wanted to fly but couldn’t afford the current airfares. They did this by evaluating the traditional operating model and then stepping outside of it to create a new model that opened up air travel to those who needed a low-cost airline: a winning Blue Ocean Strategy!
2. Determine your non-customer persona
Consumers want to know the companies they do business with are sustainable. But what does that mean? What specifically do your customers want? If they are currently not your customers (non-customers), what do they want in terms of sustainability? This information will help you develop your new branding in a Blue Ocean Strategy that will address the pain points of the customers and non-customers you want to reach in your industry.
Nintendo blue ocean strategy case study: this is what Nintendo did before they developed the Wii. They realized the industry was only aimed at gamers, but there was a whole untapped populace that they felt they could reach. These were the non-customers and Nintendo made an effort to determine why these people didn’t play video games. Once they determined the non-customer persona, according to the Blue Ocean Strategy principles, they created the Wii, a game that addressed the pain points of the non-customer. This resulted in non-customers becoming customers and the Wii becoming a huge hit in the gaming industry.
3. Define your own Blue Ocean Strategy (or Green Ocean Strategy)
Once you have a good idea of where you are and what your customers’ and non-customers’ pain points are, you can begin to envision where you want to be. You want to dive into the Blue Ocean and create new market demand in your industry for a company that has a strong focus on sustainability via carbon offset. This is a very good example of Green Ocean Strategy. The GOS means creating new opportunities with particular attention to the environment: where profitability and sustainability shake their hands.
This can be the central focus of your branding and you can do this by using the Blue Ocean four-action framework:
- Raise – What aspects of your company’s operations need to be raised to ensure the sustainability you are targeting? For example, do your shipping emissions tracking and calculations need to be improved?
- Eliminate – What aspects of your company’s operations need to be eliminated to ensure the sustainability you are targeting? For example, where can you eliminate sources of carbon emissions and other non-green practices within your company?
- Reduce – What aspects of your company’s operations need to be reduced to ensure the sustainability you are targeting? For example, how much of a focus can/should you put on reducing emissions to the extent possible with the resources you have prior to determining how many carbon offset you need?
- Create – What aspects of your company’s operations need to be created to ensure the sustainability you are targeting? For example, where in your company can you create new policies and procedures that support the green initiative and reduced emissions?
Yellow Tail blue ocean strategy case history: Yellow Tail, the Australian wine brand, used this framework to reach customers and non-customers in a unique way. They determined the pain points of their target audience and then created their brand with ease of selection, great taste, and fun and adventure as the core of their branding. This resulted in Yellow Tail overcoming the wine market within four years of launching the brand in 2001.
Ultimately, implementing a Blue Ocean Strategy to incorporate sustainability and carbon offset into your branding requires careful evaluation and planning to ensure you are reaching the right consumers in the right way.
If you are interested in learning about other strategies to strengthen your brand, check out our eBook “5 environmentally friendly branding strategies: the case of Carbon Offset“.