April 15, 2010

Blue Oceans of Jellypods

Posted in Blue Ocean, Competition, ERIC, Marketing, Strategy at 8:01 am by Kilo

Earlier on this blog we mentioned that ERIC helped us refine our the valuable characteristics we built into each Jellypod. Who the heck is ERIC?

ERIC stands for Eliminate-Reduce-Increase-Create. It is a way of looking at a competitive situation and changing the mix of product attributes to establish a new product, or even market, category. This is exactly what we did from the very first moment with Jellypods, driven by a process now famously and fashionably known as Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS).

Chan Kim and Renee Maubourgne are the now quite well-known INSEAD business school professors who invented Blue Ocean Strategy, and we have been lucky enough to study the subject under their tuition – naturally back before they were famous. Since then, their book on the subject has gone on to sell millions of copies. Here is a nice picture of the two of them looking very much like people who just sold a few million copies of their book:-

The main point of BOS is that you should look for ways to break out from the bloody red seas of intense price and feature competition by inventing new offers that create entirely new market categories with more attractive attributes. These new markets are the “blue oceans” that allow clear sailing. Some classic examples of BOS are Nintendo’s Wii, Cirque du Soleil, and Southwest Airlines. You can find quite interesting case studies and interviews on these and others knocking about the internet.

BOS offers some quite simple techniques to help you explore different parameters of competition, from the degree of current product attributes to things you can invent that don’t exist yet. Underpinning these options are the decisions you take to eliminate, reduce, increase or create various parts of the mix, like pushing the sliders up and down on an audio mixing board. Here’s the visual mix for Jellypods:-

You can hopefully just about see that the green line (Jellypods) is clearly very different on a number of attributes to things we are defining as existing offers. Some things have been eliminated entirely, others increased drastically, still others created from nowhere – in other words, ERIC.

You will have seen the very first version of this in the post below where the initial idea was sketched out in a Moleskin, and it has been quite fundamental in our thinking. Many of the final Jellypods properties and values are derived from BOS/ERIC, and we think we have created a new category that will be quite appealing to a large number of travellers and others over time.

But it’s still a risk – it might not work out, and maybe very few people will want one. Unfortunately nobody is able to guarantee success!