What is Blue Ocean Strategy®?

What is Value Innovation?

Value Innovation: The Cornerstone of Blue Ocean Strategy

Defy the Dogma: The Cost-Value Trade-Off

It is conventionally believed that companies can either:

1️⃣ Create greater value to customers at a higher cost; or

2️⃣ Create reasonable value at a lower cost.

Using traditional thinking, strategy is seen as making a choice between differentiation and low cost.

For example: Normally, if a law firm wants to differentiate itself from its competitors based on standard established legal industry competing factors, it would need to decide how much $$$ to spend on owning/leasing office space.

The law firm then has a conventional choice, to locate in an expensive CBD office at a higher cost, or to locate in a less expensive suburban office at a lower cost.

Value Innovation Example: "Co-working" v. Expensive Offices

In contrast, those that seek to create blue oceans pursue both differentiation and low cost simultaneously.

By adopting a co-working arrangement Blue Ocean Law Group uses offices which are shared with other companies + used when required to meet our clients (which only occurs in limited circumstances).

Co-working has effectively allowed us to locate our client-facing activities in an expensive CBD office at a lower cost than even the less expensive suburban office.

This achieves both differentiation and low cost simultaneously, defying the dogma of the traditional cost-value trade-off.

Source: blueoceanstrategy.com

The ERRC Grid

Value Innovation is created in the region where a company's actions favourably affect both its cost structure and its value proposition to clients.

Cost savings are made by eliminating and reducing the factors an industry competes on which do not add value to the client.

Value is lifted by raising and creating elements the industry has never offered before which do add value to the client.

Source: blueoceanstrategy.com

Eliminate / Reduce

In our above example, Blue Ocean Law Group have eliminated the fixed cost of owning/leasing expensive office space in the CBD.

Incurring this significant cost does not add value to the client.

Raise / Create

These cost savings have allowed Blue Ocean Law Group to invest time and resources into delivering value to clients which have not traditionally been offered directly by a law firm.

A few examples include the following:

✅ An easy to use, online 24/7, access from anywhere (including from your phone if required), Self-Service Legal Document generation portal, with support from our legal team as and when required;

✅ The option to add Authentic*/ Genuine Document Security for Fraud + Litigation Protection; and

✅ Physical + Digital Safe Custody Vault options.

Over time, costs are reduced further as scale economies kick in due to the high sales volumes that superior value generates.

Value Innovation: A Leap in Value for both the Company and the Client

Value Innovation is achieved only when the company's utility, price and cost and people are properly aligned.


This FAQ was created by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.

Who are the 3 tiers of Non-Clients?

“Our law firm’s products + services are specifically designed for the large (85%) untapped Blue Ocean market represented by the 3-tiers of existing Non-Clients of the legal industry who:
1️⃣  Only use lawyers out of necessity and are constantly looking for a better alternative so they can jump ship;
2️⃣  Consciously do not seek legal advice or support + believe lawyers are to be or can be avoided, or they simply cannot afford them; or
3️⃣  Have not previously been recognised by the legal industry as potential clients.

For example:

Blue Ocean Law Group℠ offer Corporate Governance incl. Blue Ocean Strategy® services in additional to our innovative legal services to ➲ proactive clients.

The legal profession has traditionally been a reactive “clean-up the mess”, problem-solving industry which has not sought to add-value outside of narrow band of legal services.

3 tiers of Non-Clients:

The 3 tiers of Non-Clients is a strategy tool used within Blue Ocean Strategy® to help identify Blue Ocean markets.

In a nutshell, the basic idea is to take the time to observe + understand:

🧩 Who are not your clients?

🧩 Why they are not your clients?

Then focus on designing and delivering value innovation which is compelling to your Non-Clients.

This provides the potential for true innovation within your exisiting “business as usual” Red Ocean as well as the opportunity to open up unchartered Blue Ocean markets where you have no competition.

If you take the same old traditional approach of attempting to create innovation by focusing exclusively on your existing clients:

➲ You may find it more difficult to differentiate from your competitors and obtain the insights you need to open up new market space.

Further Reading:

"Blue Ocean Strategy Basics ➲ Non-customers: Blue Ocean non-customers aren't just new customers; they're a new type of customer.” by Michael Olenick posted in his Blog “Blue Ocean Thinking”.

The concluding paragraph of the article is extracted below [emphasis added]:

“The idea of non-customers is one of the most misunderstood components of blue ocean strategy. I’ve all too often seen it approached as a marketing strategy to loop in more customers or to poach customers from a competitor, which isn’t the idea at all.
Rather, the point of non-customers is to redefine the rules of the game, to change the boundaries of an industry in blue ocean terms and to make competition irrelevant.”


This above description of our Non-Clients was developed using Blue Ocean Strategy® by our founder ➲ James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Blue Ocean Strategy® is developed & owned by W. Chan Kim + Renée Mauborgne Professors of Strategy at INSEAD, one of the world's top business schools, and co-directors of the INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute in Fontainebleau, France.

For 10 years straight, Kim + Mauborgne have been ranked in the top 5 management gurus in the world by Thinkers50.

6 Red Ocean Traps ➲ Mental Models to Avoid

Blue Ocean Opportunities in the Legal Profession

*An estimated 70-80% of Australians fail to contact a lawyer when experiencing a legal issue

When Blue Ocean Strategy® is applied to the legal profession globally a large untapped market* can be quickly identified.

To find out more please read our blog article: How to Achieve Zen-Like “Peace of Mind” knowing your Legal Affairs are in Order

*An estimated 70-80% of Australians fail to contact a lawyer when experiencing a legal issue.

Blue Ocean Law Group℠ have packaged our legal services to provide simple [Self-Service] online 24/7 solutions for everyday personal + business legal needs + made them available anywhere (even via mobile phone if necessary) via a fixed price per document, or an affordable subscription model.

⭐️ We are in the process of 'Charting New Markets' in New Zealand & California where we understand the same large untapped market exists.

Think Blue Ocean Strategy® ➲ Think "Blue Cow"!

Blue Cow!

"Every day, clients are faced with a lot of boring stuff - a lot of brown cows - but you can bet they won't forget a Purple Cow!

Our goal is to be truly remarkable in everything we do."

When your business brand + the way it is positioned stands out boldly, it attracts attention…

Blue Ocean Strategy® describes this as a key enabling concept using the term "Differentiation".

What is a Purple Cow?

One way to Differentiate your business so that it can capture and hold the attention of new Blue Ocean markets is to follow the lead of Seth Godin who coined the term "Purple Cow" when he wrote the book "Purple Cow: Transform your Business by Being Remarkable".

Publisher's Summary (Penguin)

"You're either a Purple Cow or you're not.
You're either remarkable or invisible.
Make your choice.
What do Apple, Starbucks, Dyson and Pret a Manger have in common?
How do they achieve spectacular growth, leaving behind former tried-and-true brands to gasp their last?
The old checklist of Ps used by marketers - pricing, promotion, publicity - aren't working anymore.
The golden age of advertising is over.
It's time to add a new P - the Purple Cow.
Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat-out unbelievable.
In his new best seller, Seth Godin urges you to put a Purple Cow into everything you build, and everything you do, to create something truly noticeable.
It's a manifesto for anyone who wants to help create products and services that are worth marketing in the first place."

©2020 Seth Godin (P)2020 Penguin Audio (copied for illustrative purposes using Fair Use principles).


This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Standing out in the "Sea of Sameness" of traditional law firms?

Standing out in a "Sea of Sameness"

Looking very similar to your competition, copying or trying to incrementally improve using the same traditional competitive factors the legal profession has been using for centuries is an exercise in irrelevance.

Competing using these traditional factors are forms of uniqueness that clients simply do NOT value!.

The view expressed by Legal Industry thought leaders & consultants is that being a "full-service" or deep generalist lawyer limits a lawyer/law firms ability to differentiate.

The mantra being repeated is that the path to standing out, and finding your niche is to be found via specialisation.

Our view is that specialisation is a Red Ocean Strategy which seeks to carve up the existing legal marketplace into smaller and smaller niches competing for existing clients with increased cost pressures.

This creates a highly competitive environment where it is difficult for law firms to grow and prosper.

Blue Ocean Strategy® takes a Blue Ocean Strategy® perspective

One strategy tool used in Blue Ocean Strategy® to generate alternative competitive factors -> see the below Buyer Utility Map.

Source: blueoceanstrategy.com

Finding Uniqueness that Clients' Value

As examples, Simplicity, Fun, Time-Saving + Long-term deep knowledge of the client developed from having one lawyer/law firm as a trusted advisor are competing factors which we submit clients highly value.

An overall perspective of a client's business supported by deep expertise can improve the odds that risks + opportunities are not lost.

Being a deep generalist lawyer or law firm does not mean knowing everything about all areas of law... it just requires the humbleness to know you/your law firms limitations to help determine when to refer a matter or collaborate with the required expert/s (as and when required).

New and even old technology tools (which have been ignored for far too long by the legal industry) and a change in mindset (refer Blue Ocean Strategy ®) regarding which new competitive factors lawyers can use to increase value to clients -> translates to a transformed + remarkable client experience.

Example Points of Differentiation:

🌊 Innovative pricing models (away from time-based billing);

🌊 Self-service 24/7 top-tier law firm quality legal documents across multiple jurisdictions (we currently cover all jurisdictions of Australia);

🌊 Automation of many transactional tasks, etc.;

🌊 This list goes on ... to include fun quizzes to help educate clients and/or collect matter details.


The article that inspired this FAQ discussion is Claiming to be Full Service is an Exercise in Irrelevance by Patrick McKenna.

For further curated links which further the debate of Generalist v. Specialist see our Smartlist: The Generalist v. Specialist Debate

How is a Strategy Canvas used in Blue Ocean Strategy®?

Strategy Canvas is a central diagnostic tool and an action framework for building a compelling blue ocean strategy.

It graphically captures, in one simple picture, the current strategic landscape and the future prospects for an organization.

The strategy canvas is developed by Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.

The strategy canvas is a one-page visual analytic that depicts the way an organization configures its offering to buyers in relation to those of its competitors.

It crisply communicates the four key elements of strategy:

1️⃣ The factors of competition;

2️⃣ The offering level buyers receive across these factors; and

3️⃣ Your own; and

4️⃣ Your competitors’ strategic profiles and cost structures.

And it tells a story: It allows you to see and understand – where you and your competitors are currently investing; the product, service, and delivery factors the industry is competing on; and what customers receive from existing competitive offerings.

Sample: Strategy Canvas
Sample: Strategy Canvas


This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

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