Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Business English Lesson - Blue Ocean Strategy

My textbook has recently had a section on business English and it brought up this very interesting lesson on blue ocean strategy. This is a theory that suggests that rather than trying to beat competitors in a crowded market (a red ocean) companies should create clear uncontested blue oceans. They do this by creating demand for a new product that was not previously there.

The metaphor of red ocean/blue ocean comes from an ocean being red due to the blood of sharks fighting and competing, while the blue ocean is completely free of competition.

In my lesson I started of with the example of Cirque De Soleil. This is a great example of a company creating a blue market as they completely changed what people expected from the circus and started selling circus tickets to a completely different target market.

The first activity I did therefore was to ask my students what they expect to see at the circus. They all gave the expected answers such as animals, clowns, jugglers etc.

Cirque de Soleil is not famous where I teach so I then showed them a preview for one of Cirque de Soleil's shows. After watching the preview the students then had to discuss how the Cirque de Soleil is different to a normal circus.

I then taught the students some vocab, before they did an activity from the book where they had to read about Cirque de Soleil's blue ocean strategy. Obviously I can not share the text from my book, however there is a lot about Cirque de Soleil's blue ocean strategy on the web. Including at this link.

The next activity was to get the students to choose the differences between red ocean and blue ocean strategy. I wrote out  three features of each one in no particular order on a ppt and the students had to choose which ones were blue ocean and which were red ocean. Here is a great table with the differences between blue oceans and red oceans clearly explained.

For the final example I showed the students good examples of products that used blue ocean strategy (Nintendo Wii and the iPhone) and asked the students to discuss how the companies created blue ocean space with their products.

If you have time you could then ask the students to find/research some other ideas that use blue ocean strategy.

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