It’s now time to turn the page on 2009 and focus on the year ahead: 2010, year of the Tiger. In Chinese tradition, the Tiger is smart, determined and socially oriented. It doesn’t mind a challenge and is thrilled to be in new places.

So with this in mind, the start of the new year is a great time to review your business plan and explore areas of growth for 2010. One way to do this is by bringing your team together and looking at what is called a ‘blue ocean’ strategy.

Explore the blue ocean

The Ansoff growth matrix (below) is a tool that helps businesses decide their product and market growth strategy. Businesses located on the left hand column compete in an existing market where they have to constantly beat the competition and exploit the existing demand. It can be a comfortable and safe place to be.

On the right hand column, the blue ocean is a space of innovation and little competition. It can help build brands. Businesses in that space are creating and capturing new demand and making their competition irrelevant. Although more challenging and risky than working with existing products, the blue ocean can bring most rewards when executed well.



 Businesses in the blue ocean quadrants are generally ones with fantastic PR potential. They have great stories to tell because they are differentiated. As we say at DRPR, ‘new is news’. Newness has a promotional advantage and this news value should really be capitalised on.

Public relations is a very competitive industry in Australia, with about 145 PRIA-registered agencies around the country (with more than half of them located in NSW) and I suspect many more non-registered PR firms. So we have decided at DRPR to take the bull by the horns in 2010 and work on a few new products, positioning ourselves right in that most desired blue space (stay tuned for our new products launches!).

Here are two tips for businesses wanting to develop a blue ocean strategy. First, if you have an existing successful company, never forget your core business. Second, always ‘test the waters’ before a big launch. The first impression is essential and you should get at least most of it right from the word ‘go’.

DRPR is very lucky to be part of an international network of independent PR agencies, Public Relations Network, which means we can exchange ideas, learn new trends and share practices with 20 odd agencies all across the world. This has already come in handy in developing a new service for our existing clients.

 So what about your business? Where do you want to position it in 2010? Are you focusing on your existing products and customers or are you looking at expanding your offering?