SINGAPORE: Thinking outside traditional category norms and being where other competitors aren’t can put a brand at an instant advantage, according to analysis of more than 180 Asian campaigns.

WARC’s Asian Strategy Report, released last week, analyses the strategic trends shaping marketing campaigns across the region, based on entries to the annual WARC Prize for Asian Strategy.

(For more about building a “blue ocean brand strategy”, read: Insights from the 2017 WARC Prize for Asian Strategy.)

“Blue Ocean strategy is increasingly important at a time when most brands are having a tough time differentiating through mere function alone,” wrote Yoshi Matsuura, Executive Planning Director at McCann Tokyo, in the report.

Creating a “blue ocean strategy” requires agencies to approach briefs differently, even considering the product’s business model. “One hint is to think about the meaningful role the brand can play in people’s lives. Try to think bigger and different,” Matsuura suggested.

He cited Clear Shampoo’s campaign in Japan as an example of blue ocean strategy done right – the brand moved from a crowded B2C category with lots of competitors into a B2B channel, positioning its products as an employee welfare benefit for companies with staff who wore headgear, such as firefighters and factory workers.

“It highlighted the conflict that they faced between honour and the harsh conditions under their headgear… This strategy allowed the brand to be more than the product itself,” Matsuura said.

“It didn’t change the product, nor did it change its packaging, but it did change the distribution strategy. It turned sales revenue to a subscription model, which is an attractive, stable, and profitable business model,” he added.

“It gives the brand a whole new channel of growth, on top of the traditional sales channel it originally had. Buyers became subscribers, meaning a long-term relationship with customers that entails higher loyalty and frequency.”

Sourced from WARC