by Kennett Kwok - Sep 02, 2019
As a Vancouver-based web design, development, and branding agency, we had the pleasure of visiting a local conference several weeks ago.
Though it was primarily for SaaS (software-as-a-service) products, the takeaways apply to every industry. One presentation about brand positioning caught our attention.
Poor positioning can make a business fail, and it'll fail quickly. Assembling the best marketers and product managers can't prevent it from happening. Positioning is the foundation, and many businesses skip this step.
One of the best examples of brand positioning came from the book, Blue Ocean Strategy, written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.
Blue Ocean Strategy describes a way to simultaneously create a new market and create new demand at a low cost via differentiation. It's an uncontested market space if you will. Successfully doing so means that you no longer have to compete with anyone directly.
Red Ocean Strategy, on the other hand, describes how businesses try to break into a saturated market. For example, imagine yourself opening a new restaurant in an area full of food options already. Your chances of survival are slim.
Let's take a look at how some brands create their Blue Ocean Strategy.
Yellow Tail Wine
You probably encountered Yellow Tail, an Australian wine company, before—hence the kangaroo packaging. The next time you visit a liquor store, take a look at how simple the packaging is.
Yellow Tail is a great success story. They positioned their wines in an uncontested market space in North America. Instead of competing with the big selection of quality, sophisticated wines, they went against the grain. The big selection was hard to understand and difficult to appreciate for the average person.
They positioned themselves as the wine for everyday people—casual drinkers that didn't care about the complexities and who wanted something affordable and tasty. Think of it as the beer of wines, but fun, adventurous, and easy to consume. The rest is history.
Starbucks is another example of a Blue Ocean Strategy. They weren't the first coffee shop when they started, but it didn't take them long to become a brand recognised around the globe.
Instead of just offering coffee, they offered variety, and they created value in other areas that no other shop did.
Think teas, pastries, and speciality drinks like lattes and frappucinos. They also offered newspapers and CDs, which encouraged coffee drinkers to sit back and relax. The atmosphere was much different and refreshing, playing and featuring upcoming local artists.
As a result, it's no surprise that you'll likely find a Starbucks on the corner of almost every busy intersection in Vancouver and the rest of the world. It created a new demand for places where people can sit, relax, and chat, and it's the new requirement for every new coffee shop that wants to succeed.
Apple created a Blue Ocean Strategy when they invented the iPod. At the time, many of the competitors created CD and MP3 players that were clunky and hard to use because of poor user interfaces and user experiences. The ones that held a few dozen songs had a better user experience, and the ones that held hundreds had the opposite.
Apple created a new landscape and completely pulled customers from the old in several ways.
History speaks for itself. We don't need to get into the iPhone here either, because by now we can agree that it was another excellent example of brand and product positioning.
Whether you plan to start a new business or reinvent one, think about how you can create an uncontested market space, a Blue Ocean Strategy.
Discover ways to differentiate yourself. Creating a lifestyle brand may be your X factor. Or it may be creating value where even customers don't know they want yet until they know about it.
Talk to our web design, development, and branding agency if you're interested in how we can help position your brand.