W. Chan Kim Renee Mauborgne

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Average: 3.8 (13 votes)

This review was submitted by jhbchina.

I first read the terms Red Ocean and Blue Ocean in a LinkedIN discussion. I pondered what it meant. Then while having a conversation with an associate, she mentioned the term and told me the meaning. I was captivated by the terms and had to learn more. Hence, I did my research and came across this book, and I am glad I did.

Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS) is well worth the time to read, especially for C-level executives and marketing professionals. It takes you from the beginning to end with clear understandable actionable items on how to re-think your position in the market and how to leave your competitors behind. This is not an easy task, but a must for any company wondering how they going to survive in a world with a “Dragons at Your Door” environment (see my review on this book as well).

The terms Red Ocean and Blue Ocean represent today’s fiercely competitive business environment. Gone are the days where your competition was few and far between. Now start-ups and challenges sprout out of places never considered as a place of innovation. In this “Flat World”, no business is safe for long.

The authors’ use the term Red Ocean to represent an over crowded market that is fighting for a limited customer base. The only way to grow is to steal market share from your competitor by doing the same thing cheaper and faster or redesigning your product with more benefits and features at a cheaper price. You are in an ocean that is full of sharks eating everything around you, which lowers your profit margins till they have eaten you too. The waters are red with blood from those that have already perished.

A Blue Ocean strategy represents a trip to a new world, where the water is calm, clear and blue. No fighting, no danger, just you and your new customers, who are happy to see you arrive. Only your own flaws will get in your way of success.

Blue Ocean Strategy is filled with excellent case studies of companies such as Southwest Airlines, Circus du Soleil, and Yellow Tails Wines. The authors’ first discuss their concept and actionable steps, and then use their case studies to support the principle. The book provides you with the tools that you can use to analyze your business, how to identify new customers and how to build the product and team to launch your business into Blue Oceans.

The key actionable points are:

  1. The Strategy Canvas
  2. The Four Action Framework
  3. Reconstruct Market Boundaries
  4. Reach Beyond the Existing Demand
  5. Get the Strategic Sequence Right
  6. Overcome Key Organizational Hurdles.

Implementing a BOS is no walk in the park. It will take time, patience and research to get all the pieces of the puzzle in place. In some ways you are building a modern day Ark for business. If you get it right, you will be entering a new world where you are the first and only company for a long time to come. Happy sailing!



rookieceo's picture

Blue Ocean is certainly one of my favorites. I've given it to every member of my executive team. I posted 10 of my favorite business books on my blog. Some great reads for CEOs, marketing, and sales execs.

Top 10 Part 1 


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uwavegeek's picture
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I enjoyed this book and find myself thinking in terms of blue and red oceans when I'm planning some product development strategies.  I particularly like the 'swimming with sharks' metaphor. 

To sum up, for you baseball fans out there, this book preaches the 'hit 'em where they ain't' philosophy in terms of products and services.




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