Are you swimming in the red or blue ocean? Dominate your market through a “Blue Ocean” strategy

Dominate new markets rather than competing in the existing consulting market. Can a consulting company do that? Yes, if they succeed with their “Blue Ocean” strategy and communication, they will have a guaranteed strong brand and high demand from customers who never consider any other choice than theirs.

When Berotec was founded, the founders didn’t know they were creating a “blue ocean” in the consulting world, but that’s exactly what they did. From the very beginning, Håkan Mildh Svensson and Urban Gjers set their own rules and broke new ground without being aware of it. Consulting was meant to benefit the individual and help the client. Not to pay middle managers high salaries and indirectly encourage more people to burn out.

Blue Ocean Strategy

The Blue Ocean Strategy (Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne) deviates from classical strategies and urges companies to find innovative ways to differentiate themselves from competitors. The book with the identical title has inspired business leaders worldwide to reconsider their models and strive to create and dominate new markets rather than just competing in existing ones. The goal is to create a “blue ocean” of opportunities, where the company can thrive and grow without being constrained by the frameworks of existing competitors. The opposite is the “red ocean” – that’s where the competition is, and everything is more equal. In the red sea, one can fight endlessly without making progress.

But consulting firms are fundamentally quite similar, aren’t they?

Berotec was founded in 2000 with a business model and concept centered around senior consultants operating as independent entrepreneurs. This allowed for a new way of bringing together senior engineering consultants with high drive and demanding clients.

Previously, clients had never been able to access such a high density of experience and commitment through a single supplier. Experienced consultants also had not previously had such a strong platform to operate from, and Berotec had no direct competitors.

The consulting industry has evolved, and Berotec’s initial offering is no longer unique. So, what can we and other consulting firms do instead? Is collaboration outside the industry a possibility? Can the consulting offering be complemented with entirely new services? Are there new models for how we sell that have not been explored before?

How is the market for you, does the following hold true?

  • Traditional companies and markets are challenged by new players?
  • Offered products and services are becoming more similar within the industry?
  • There is increased price pressure?
  • Is your company more focused on reducing costs and quality control than on growth, innovation, and building a strong brand?

A ‘yes’ to these questions indicates a significant risk that you have swum into the red water. However, there is always an opportunity to navigate out, even in our industry.

Four action framework

Use Blue Ocean’s “four action framework” to identify what you need to begin the journey toward the calmer and bluer ocean. This framework includes the following four areas of action:

  1. Reduce: Identify factors that can be reduced to lower costs or redirect resources towards more profitable areas.
  2. Eliminate: Consider which factors, traditionally part of the industry, should be completely removed from your offering to reduce unnecessary complexities and focus on the essential.
  3. Raise: Challenge industry standards by identifying and strengthening factors that can exceed expectations and differentiate you from competitors.
  4. Create: Introduce new and innovative factors that can create unique value for customers, setting you apart from other players in the market.

By systematically considering these four areas, you can formulate a strategy that opens the path to a “blue ocean” and establishes a unique position in the market.

The framework can be applied to virtually all types of industries and companies. Tesla and Cirque du Soleil are excellent examples of how to create something entirely new for a new market, choosing to discard elements that were previously considered standard in their respective industries. In their cases, elements such as circus animals and gasoline in luxury cars were things they chose to abandon right from the start. Instead, Cirque du Soleil created a high-cultural experience with specially composed music and dance, something never seen on a circus stage before. Tesla, on the other hand, created a sporty electric car with great driving pleasure and a smoothly functioning battery charging system.

Be a rebel and strengthen your brand

We have always had a unique approach to consulting, balance, and self-leadership. That’s how we found ourselves in the blue waters from day one. Berotec will always be more than just an engineering consulting company. We are a movement for change, innovation, and community. The latest evidence of that is our greenhouse initiative, and our belief that the power of entrepreneurs becomes even greater when they collaborate!

Just as we have invested in entrepreneurs and offerings that stand out from the rest of the consulting world in recent years, you have the opportunity to create something entirely new and attractive. Succeeding with a Blue Ocean strategy requires courage, creativity, and a deep understanding of the market and customer needs. It also demands strong leadership, adaptability, and effective risk management.

Use the uniqueness your company creates in all communication so that the audience truly understands that you offer something beyond what they are accustomed to. Being sustainable and responsible can create additional differentiation and appeal to a growing group of responsible customers and conscious consultants.

What offerings are unique to us in the consulting industry today? Is there any old truth or approach to completely eliminate? Use the framework, and together we can revolutionize the industry!

Guest Blogger - Helena Torhage, Communications Manager at Berotec

Guest Blogger - Helena Torhage, Communications Manager at Berotec

Helena Torhage is the communications manager at the engineering consultancy firm Berotec, where they realize the entrepreneurial dreams of engineers. She also runs Konsultpodden along with Berotec's founder Håkan Mildh Svensson and Mattias Loxi, co-founder of Cinode. The podcast is the largest in the industry and has been around for five years.

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