Blue Ocean Strategy: Creating a Zen Entrepreneurial Splash in the Market Space

Discover 5 secrets on how Zentrepreneurs can leverage the Blue Ocean Strategy to create new market space and make the competition irrelevant in the world of branding.

Blue Ocean Strategy Book by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

Blue Ocean Strategy Book by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

In the spectrum of innovators and game-changers, Zen entrepreneurs, or zentrepreneurs, stand distinguished. With their unique blend of entrepreneurial aptitude and Zen-inspired mindfulness, they forge ahead, making waves in the realm of business, networking and branding thanks to the tools and frameworks from the concept of the red and blue ocean shift. 

The publication at Zentrepreneur was inspired by the Blue Ocean Strategy, which encouraged us to carve out a fresh niche for entrepreneurs who seek Zen-like wisdom. Influenced by figures such as Steve Jobs, Bruce Lee, Tim Han, Master Sri Akarshana, Napoleon Hill, Thich Nhat Hanh, and many more luminaries, we aimed to differentiate ourselves in a crowded entrepreneurial landscape. While the entrepreneurial publication industry is typically competitive (often referred to as a red ocean), our introduction of the concept of a Zen entrepreneur transformed our space into a blue ocean opportunity. This shift was validated when our publication reached the number one spot on Google, and as you read on we hope you learn the key strategies on how to innovate your way into your blue ocean too.

Screenshot of no.1 ranking for brand keyword Zentrepreneur

Calm, intuitive, and innovative, deriving pearls of wisdom from one of the most iconic and impactful strategy books ever written – the Blue Ocean Strategy book by Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. It's our journey to create blue oceans in the business strategy scene that separates us from the red ocean of rivals fighting over the known market space where industry boundaries are defined. This article will dive into five philosophies from this impactful strategy book to make the competition irrelevant for the Zen entrepreneur aiming for branding success to grab a greater share of the blue oceans of a market.

Looking over the blue ocean of Dubai contemplating the strategies for differentiation and value innovation. Picture of Long Nguyen taken by Tim Han

Long Nguyen founder of looking over the blue ocean of Dubai. Picture taken by Tim Han in Sonder, Dubai.

1. Embody the Current: Embrace Value Innovation

The first step in adopting blue ocean strategies is to embrace value innovation. This development means moving away from the bloody red ocean of competition to blue oceans where you can imagine a market space and make a strategic move, creating high-value products at a cost your consumers and your budget will equally appreciate. Embracing value innovation as part of blue ocean strategies is integral for organizations looking to surpass mere competitive strategies and venture into new, uncontested market spaces. Firstly, let's dive deeper into what value innovation truly entails and why it is pivotal amidst a tumultuous business environment.

Understanding Value Innovation

Value innovation is not just about beating the competition or making incremental improvements to products or services. It's about breaking away from the competition altogether where companies try to outperform each other by creating unquestionable value for both the company and its customers. This approach requires a blend of differentiation and low cost, aiming to create a leap in value for buyers and the company, thereby opening up new and uncontested market spaces — the so-called "blue oceans."

Why Value Innovation Matters

  1. Breaks Value-Cost Trade-Off:

    • Traditional strategies often prioritize either high value at high costs or acceptable value at low costs. Value innovation challenges this by aiming for high value at lower costs, rendering competition irrelevant.

  2. Focus on Non-Customers:

    • Instead of solely competing in existing markets, value innovation pushes companies to look at "non-customers" - market segments often overlooked or underserved, leading to market expansion.

  3. Generates New Demand:

    • By targeting non-customers and underserved segments, value innovation creates fresh demand crucial for sustaining growth, especially in saturated or declining markets.

  4. Drives Cost Innovations:

    • Value innovation not only focuses on consumer-facing aspects but also on internal processes, encouraging cost-saving measures while maintaining or enhancing value output, enhancing overall efficiency and value proposition.

Implementing Value Innovation in Turbulent Times

  • Reassess the Market:

    • Understand existing and potential markets, identify pain points, unmet needs, and areas of low customer satisfaction.

  • Engage Across Boundaries:

    • Collaborate with different industries, disciplines, or customer segments to gain insights for breakthrough innovations.

  • Challenge Industry Assumptions:

    • Question industry norms, identify and challenge underlying assumptions to uncover opportunities for value innovation.

  • Experiment:

    • Conduct quick, low-cost experiments to test new market hypotheses and value propositions without heavy resource commitment.

  • Be Agile and Lean:

    • Stay flexible for rapid adjustments based on feedback and market changes, seizing opportunities arising from market turbulence.

Value Innovation Case Study Amazon

At the core of Amazon's success was its unwavering dedication to meeting customer needs. By offering a wide range of products, easy purchasing, simple returns, and speedy shipping through services like Amazon Prime, they set a high standard for customer satisfaction.

Amazon used technology and data to understand customer behavior, providing personalized shopping experiences through smart algorithms. This boosted sales and kept customers happy. Their Amazon Web Services division not only supported many online businesses but also brought in substantial revenue.

Initially starting with books, Amazon's move to include third-party sellers expanded its offerings and created a platform for global sellers. Amazon Prime, originally for free shipping, evolved into a subscription service with added benefits, making it hard for competitors to match.

Amazon ventured into consumer electronics, cloud computing, groceries, and healthcare, showcasing their innovation and ambition to redefine industries.

Through strategic acquisitions like Whole Foods Market and Twitch, Amazon entered new sectors, attracting new customers and solidifying its market dominance.

Amazon's journey highlights the importance of customer focus, innovation, and adaptability in creating a successful business to make the competition irrelevant. By evolving and disrupting their operations, Amazon remains ahead of the competition and continues to expand its influence across various industries. Other businesses can learn from Amazon's success by prioritizing innovation, flexibility, and customer satisfaction for long-term growth.

Questions to ponder

  • How can my business and brand make use of effective strategies to amplify value yet control the cost?

  • Can my brand provide an offering that keeps consumers more satisfied than my competitors in the red ocean of competition would?


Embracing value innovation is not just an option but a necessity for businesses seeking to succeed in today's dynamic market. By focusing on creating uncontested market spaces and adapting to change swiftly, businesses can thrive amidst uncertainty beyond market boundaries.

2. Finding Your Blue Ocean Strategy Zen in Uncharted Territory

The next philosophy covered by professors of strategy Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, is creating a new demand. Instead of battling for existing market space - in the bloody red ocean of rivals - this principle urges zentrepreneurs to create a blue ocean by forming customer needs.

Let's draw inspiration from Salesforce's innovative approach to revolutionizing customer information management through cloud-based CRM systems. To embark on a Blue Ocean Strategy journey successfully, cultivate a deep understanding of the market and a keen curiosity for unmet customer needs. Here are tailored steps for you:

Embracing Your Brand’s Essence

  • Uncover Your Unique Value: Identify what makes your brand exceptional.

  • Evaluate Your Expertise: Assess if your skills align with exploring new market horizons.

Navigating Uncharted Waters

  • Listen and Learn: Engage with customers to discover untapped needs.

  • Expand Your Horizons: Seek opportunities beyond industry boundaries and explore new intersections.

Aligning with Your Brand’s Spirit

  • Stay True to Your Beliefs: Ensure your ventures align with your brand’s core values.

  • Craft a Purposeful Path: Focus on how your new endeavors can bring value to both your business and society.

Executing Your Vision

  • Validate Innovations: Test your ideas with an MVP or pilot program.

  • Educate Your Audience: Educate customers on the benefits of your new offerings.

  • Grow Mindfully: Scale operations while preserving quality and staying true to your brand values.


Applying a Blue Ocean Strategy demands vision, courage, and persistence. By challenging industry norms, making competition irrelevant, and attracting non-customers, you can create a market where your brand leads without fierce rivalry. Remember to:

  • Redefine industry boundaries.

  • Change the competitive landscape.

  • Convert non-customers into loyal supporters.

Questions to ponder

  • What untouched aspects in the market space can align with my brand’s philosophy and address an unrecognized need?

  • Does my expertise allow me to create a new market space - a blue ocean - that’s unique to my brand?

3. Synchronization with the Universe: Following the Strategic Sequence

To align with the universe's flow, Zen entrepreneurs can draw inspiration from the concept of strategic sequencing. This involves organizing your offerings in a way that ensures they are viable, affordable, and acceptable in a harmonious order.

Nintendo Wii's Blue Ocean Strategy

Nintendo Wii's strategic shift exemplifies a successful application of a blue ocean strategy. Instead of engaging in fierce competition, they focused on creating a fun, family-oriented gaming experience. By moving away from the competitive hardware-focused environment, Nintendo opened up a new market space emphasizing enjoyable and accessible gaming for everyone.

Lessons from Nintendo Wii:

  1. Viability: Nintendo identified a market gap and introduced an interactive gaming experience with the Wii console. This approach appealed to a wide audience, including families and casual gamers, showcasing the viability of their idea.

  2. Affordability: The Wii console was priced competitively and offered simplicity in design and gameplay, making it accessible to a broader audience. This affordability, both in price and ease of use, was crucial for capturing new market opportunities.

  3. Acceptability: Nintendo marketed the Wii as a family-friendly entertainment tool, promoting social interaction and physical activity. This strategy helped reshape the perception of gaming and made it socially acceptable to a wider audience.

Applying the Concept:

To synchronize with the universe through unique offerings, brands can follow Nintendo's footsteps:

  • Strategic Sense and Affordability: Brands should strive to differentiate themselves strategically while maintaining quality. Identifying unmet needs and catering to overlooked customer segments without compromising on excellence is key.

  • Shifting to Blue Oceans: Instead of competing fiercely in existing markets, brands can explore new territories ripe for innovation. Understanding customers' unaddressed needs and being open to creating new market spaces are essential for success.

By aligning offerings with the strategic sequence, Zen entrepreneurs can create a balanced approach that resonates with both the market and the universe's flow.

Questions to ponder

  • Can my brand harmoniously combine strategic thinking and affordability while maintaining quality and performance?

  • Is it possible for us to transition from intense competition (red ocean) to exploring untapped market opportunities (blue ocean) with our products or services?

4. Surfing the Blue Ocean: Overcoming Organizational Hurdles

Overcoming key organizational hurdles is a central part of the blue ocean strategy. Aligning resources to seize the identified blue ocean opportunities is vital, even if it means breaking away from traditional methods that no longer serve you.

Dismissing Traditional Strategies:

  • Question: Are we ready as a brand to let go of traditional red ocean strategies and venture into the blue ocean with our new approach?

  • Answer: To embark on this transformative journey, a brand must embrace change and innovation wholeheartedly. This shift requires a mindset change at all levels, fostering a culture that values creativity, experimentation, and the courage to explore new territories. Moving away from traditional strategies should be supported by thorough market research, consumer insights, and a clear vision of the untapped potential in the blue ocean.

Resource Alignment:

  • Question: Can we effectively align our resources to capture this new market?

  • Answer: Aligning resources effectively involves strategically evaluating current capabilities, assets, and processes to ensure they can adapt to the evolving market dynamics. This may include retraining staff, reallocating budgets, and adjusting supply chain logistics to support the new direction. It's also crucial to adopt innovative technologies and methodologies that can improve efficiency and scalability in seizing the blue ocean opportunities.

Success Story: Netflix
Netflix's transition from DVD rentals to online streaming exemplifies a successful blue ocean strategy. Recognizing the limitations of the existing market and anticipating the shift towards digital media consumption, Netflix innovated beyond traditional boundaries. By focusing on customer needs, reallocating resources, and forming strategic partnerships, Netflix transformed itself into a major player in the online streaming industry.

In essence, embracing a blue ocean strategy involves redefining industry boundaries, viewing competition differently, and aligning resources effectively to capitalize on new growth prospects. Netflix's journey serves as a testament to the power of embracing change and innovation in navigating the uncharted waters of the blue ocean.

Questions to ponder

  • Are we ready as a brand to dismiss traditional red ocean strategies and explore the blue ocean's uncharted waters with our new strategy?

  • Can we align our resources effectively to capture this new market?

5. Making Waves with Effective Execution

This philosophy emphasizes that a strategy's true worth is only realized through its execution.

Airbnb serves as a prime example of how effective execution can lead to groundbreaking success. Despite facing initial challenges, Airbnb managed to carve out a unique position in the travel accommodation industry by focusing on executing their distinctive value proposition.

Embracing blue ocean strategies involves transitioning from the familiar "red ocean" market space to the unexplored "blue ocean." - where competition is irrelevant. This shift is crucial as it enables businesses to move away from cutthroat competition in the red ocean towards creating new market spaces where they can thrive and untainted by competition.

The importance of executing strategies effectively cannot be overstated. It plays a vital role in setting businesses apart and driving success, especially in competitive markets. By looking at Airbnb's journey, we witness how dedicated implementation of a unique value proposition can pave the way for creating new market spaces and fueling growth.

When venturing into blue oceans, the rules of the game is that innovation goes beyond just ideas—it requires unwavering focus on execution. This entails a blend of strategic vision, operational excellence, and adaptability to navigate challenges and deliver value effectively.

Distinguishing between operational effectiveness and strategy is also crucial within the blue ocean context. While operational effectiveness focuses on outperforming rivals in similar activities, strategy, essential for blue ocean creation, centers on performing activities differently or innovatively. Airbnb's success stemmed from not just improving upon existing practices but revolutionizing the entire experience.

In essence, riding the waves of effective execution within the blue ocean framework underscores that success isn't merely about finding a niche—it's about excelling in strategy execution to dominate and flourish in new market spaces. This highlights the significance of turning vision into reality through meticulous execution as the pathway to entrepreneurial triumph.

As you contemplate aligning strategic propositions and venturing into blue oceans, remember that the Blue Ocean Strategy advocates for simultaneously pursuing differentiation and cost-effectiveness in untapped market spaces. This entails not just understanding strategies but embodying the principles of the Blue Ocean Strategy, leveraging insights from esteemed sources like the Harvard Business Review, and crafting impactful strategies tailored for success. Are you prepared to embark on your journey towards unparalleled entrepreneurial achievement?

Questions to ponder

  • How can you effectively transition from the competitive "red ocean" market space to the uncharted "blue ocean" to create new opportunities for growth and success?

  • In what ways can you blend strategic vision, operational excellence, and adaptability to ensure the successful execution of innovative strategies, inspired by examples like Airbnb's groundbreaking journey in the travel accommodation industry?

So, as you come to a point of aligning the three propositions of strategy and creating and capturing blue oceans, are you ready to set sail and chart your unique path towards unrivalled entrepreneurial success for profitable growth? Be sure to remember, that the Blue Ocean Strategy is about the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost in a new or unknown market space.