Continuing along the theme of “Zagging” as a business strategy (ie radical but customer valued differentiation), I thought it would be interesting to highlight examples of businesses which apply such “Blue Ocean” strategies in their core value propositions. By offering something radical and unique yet deeply appreciated by their customers and other stakeholders, they are able to stand out in an increasingly hyper-competitive marketplace. This would mean offering a new innovation that isn’t seen in the existing marketplace and competing on different terms from incumbents.
As expected, many of these examples are in the mouth watering F&B industry, but there are also a few cases of consumer oriented innovation in other domains both digital and non-digital.
1) Gourmet craft beers in a hawker centre: Good Beer Company in Chinatown Hawker Centre. Fine hand-crafted beers in the comfort of your slipper and shorts anybody?
2) Sipping quality Italian espresso from a machine without the fuss of making a trip all the way down to the baristas: Nespresso. While purists say nothing compares to freshly brewed espressos coffee at a real cafe, finding the time to order, sit and wait for one may be harder and harder these days.
3) Hawker food given an exquisite upmarket touch with quality ingredients (like lobsters in laksa and wagyu beef noodles): Space @ My Humble House. There isn’t anything new in offering hawker fare at restaurants, but what’s new here is the use of expensive upmarket ingredients in the creation of these culinary delights.
4) Quality Italian, French, German and American food at local coffee shops and hawker centres. Two notable examples are Botak Jones at various coffeeshops around Singapore and Erich’s Wuerstelstand at Chinatown’s Smith Street.
6) Bespoke and artisanal jewellery, cakes, wines, poetry, art and other similar products and services, created by urban professionals who have found their second callings in life. By eschewing mass manufacturing, these businesses create a new niche for consumers increasingly disenchanted by “me-too” products and services.
7) Unconferences like Barcamp Singapore which have no fixed venues, no fixed speakers, no conference fees, and is determined entirely by democratised decision making. Who needs an agenda when you have passion and interest in the topics being discussed?
8) Music groups and artistes like the Dave Matthews Band which encourage their concert attendees to record their music, film their concerts, and distribute them free on the web. This helps them to seed word of mouth while keeping marketing and advertising costs low, and frankly, attending a “live” concert is never quite the same as watching one on Youtube anyway.
9) Offering a pay for performance model for consultancy services as opposed to a per manhour model. In other words, if your business don’t enjoy increased profits/improved publicity/heightened employee satisfaction, our agency doesn’t get paid.
10) The whole idea of land-scarce Singapore itself being a “city in a garden”. You’ve got to give credit to the originator of this wonderful innovation which we’re all enjoying now. Now, cities around the world are trying to emulate this example.
11) Vertical farming and how it could be a solution to the world’s food woes, particularly in crowded land-scarce cities. By bringing the cultivation of food sources closer to the consuming market, transport and logistic costs are reduced while maximising land use in a productive manner.
12) Of course, Apple’s iTunes itself was a radical innovation which transformed the entire business model for music and led to making it feasible for music and movies to be sold a few dollars at a time online.
I’m sure you know a lot more businesses and companies that embrace the tenets of zagging – feel free to add on!