IT’S THE MESSAGE, NOT THE MEDIA, THAT COUNTS.

The challenge? Repositioning “in the customer’s eyes”

Powerful, effective marketing is more dependent on messaging than media. How to do this resides within the techniques of Blue Ocean Positioning by Keith Bates, which builds on and extends the concept of Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. as well as Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout.…For more visit my blog.

Before Blue Ocean Positioning let’s describe a red ocean…

If you’ve seen the movie Jaws you know what a “red ocean” looks like. The red ocean is where companies and their directly competing products face the daily fight for survival every day. The “blue ocean” is the opposite.  According to Blue Ocean Strategy authors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne a blue ocean product is one that’s built into uncontested market space. These are products or services so unique in their boundaries that there are no competitors.

Blue Ocean “positioning” evolved from blue ocean “strategy”.

Blue ocean product positioning, or perception, in the market place is the development and management of a product marketing strategy based on the values offered by the product outside the products physical boundaries. This is an important move when the product’s boundaries cannot be changed sufficiently to create a blue ocean product strategy but can be modified and presented to its market positioned to create the perception of an uncontested product. This strategy repositions an existing company’s product into uncontested market space while making the competition irrelevant. Without needing to reconfigure their basic product, those implementing Blue Ocean Positioning are able to attract customers from an expanded existing market, or a totally new market.

What is the inspiration for this unique approach?

Charleen Swansea, a renowned neuroscientist, presents as the challenge to marketers, “The real target of our efforts is not defined demographically (statistics), or psycho-graphically (lifestyles) or even syncro-graphically (timing)… the target is the brain…and the challenge is to change attitudes, which in turn change behavior. Attitude changes occur through changes in brain chemistry … so think of yourselves as chemists … working on penetration and retention.” The paradox: The quirky unknown doesn’t stick unless you successfully help your reader relate it to the known. The four most feared words in marketing communications? I DON’T BELIEVE YOU!

Blue Ocean Positioning is designed to specifically relate the known details of the offering to the previously unknown re-positioning with a logic that makes the positioning credible.

How is this planned?

The Audit… The Blue Ocean Positioning process begins with external audits of product, market and competitors as well as social media drivers. Internal audits are done to identify any potential misalignments which need to be addressed.  Based on the Six Paths Framework, a study of current market boundaries versus industry perceptions will help define the paths your positioning strategies must follow.  The outcome of a Strategy Canvas leads directly to the next step.

The Marketing Positioning Strategy… For products in startup mode we recommend the lean startup process to document your positioning hypothesis and identify prospects for testing. From there you can explore definition of your minimum viable product (MVP) and move on to customer validation ahead of execution.

For products in growth mode the strategy canvas is used to drive a market development check list which contains the details of all target customers, communications objectives, strategies, and tactics. This is followed by development of a value proposition design and value innovation to form the basis for a creative strategy.

The Creative Strategy… Last module of the Planning process consists of core intelligence & theme/image standards carefully aligned with the new Blue Ocean Positioning. This step is where the audit and strategy modules become core intelligence, and are blended with raw creative power to produce the driving message that shapes a new marketing theme/image platform. 

How is it executed?

Putting it in motion… Upon completion of the Planning stages the Execution stage will begin by sharing the data with a digital marketing firm or the client’s in-house marketing staff to build the arsenal, develop the deployment tactics and manage the analytics required for measurement statistics.

Build… After developing the Blue Ocean Positioning strategy and the creative strategy it becomes time to build the communications materials arsenal and develop a media plan for both social and traditional.

Deploy… With the arsenal defined, the next step is to form a tactics deployment plan for both online and offline media. It is also important to identify and then put a great deal of effort into developing influencer relationships.

Measure… Measurement involves listening, analyzing, and measuring ROI for all aspects of the execution, including both Social Media and Word of Mouth components.

I hope this leaves you with an incentive, and some meaningful tips, to do some serious thinking about the process required to move into a blue ocean environment while leaving your competitors in the red ocean to become irrelevant.

For those attracted to Blue Ocean Strategy you should know that a new book on the topic was published in September of 2017 titled Blue Ocean Shift Beyond Competing.

 

If you live in Chicago and want to visit send me an email: keithbates@kbates.com

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Keith Bates has enjoyed a lifelong, around the world, passion for helping people communicate whether it was school buddy book reports or his former ad agency client’s marketing. Keith is different.

A content writer/strategist’s ability lets them see things others don’t. Keith learned early in life that provocative content and imaging were required to change attitudes and beliefs.

This skill came in handy with Keith’s more than 200 clients over the years, most of them software vendors, who found the requirement of translating developer language to end user language pretty challenging.

And today we have a new challenge, only it’s not inventor vs. end user but messaging vs. media. It’s OK to add digital media complexity for message distribution, but not for messaging requirements. 

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