How to Utilize the 4 Actions Framework to Devise Your Blue Ocean Strategy?

Mark Bridges
4 min readNov 30, 2023

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Numerous industry sectors are beset by ferocious competition, with organizations contending for frequently identical attributes while offering similar products and services.

This intense competition is defined by distinct boundaries and well-established standards. Enterprises strive to outperform their competitors and acquire a larger proportion of demand for their products or services in this industry.

As market competition increases, opportunities for expansion and revenue growth diminish. Products can either become commonplace or find a unique niche, resulting in intense competition that transforms the industry into a battlefield. This is why these environments are referred to as “Red Oceans.”

Creating an uncontested market domain, also known as a “Blue Ocean,” is one strategy for sustaining profitable growth. The Blue Ocean strategy is a business tactic that encourages the emergence of new markets and Value Propositions that render rivals irrelevant.

This strategy is founded on Value Innovation, which entails simultaneously pursuing distinction and cost effectiveness. Companies disrupt the traditional cost-value trade-off by providing end consumers with substantially greater value at a lower price.

The Blue Ocean Strategy is anchored by the 4 Actions Framework, a potent Strategic Management instrument. Establishing a new market can yield more benefits than competing with entrenched competitors in an existing market, according to the 4 Actions Framework.

When enhancing an existing offering or developing a new one, the framework considers these four actions as critical:

1. Raise

2. Eliminate

3. Reduce

4. Create

The key to implementing a successful 4 Actions Framework strategy is identifying obstacles that can only be overcome by the organization. The framework is intended to evaluate an organization’s extant Value Proposition while developing a new one that resonates with a different consumer cohort or set of needs.

Now, let’s explore some of these actions in greater detail.

Raise

This action addresses questions regarding product, pricing, or service attributes that must exceed industry standards. The essential question to consider is, “What factors justify significantly exceeding standard industry norms?”

This inquiry compels businesses to identify and eliminate the sacrifices that consumers are forced to make.

Eliminate

This action examines portions of an organization or industry that can be eliminated wholly to reduce costs and facilitate the establishment of a new market. The pivotal query to pose is, “What are elements frequently disregarded by the industry that should be eradicated?”

This inquiry requires consideration of eliminating aspects over which competitors have historically competed. The emphasis should be placed on characteristics that necessitate substantial effort and investment, but generate only marginal revenue or new consumers.

Reduce

This action investigates aspects of a company’s product or service that are non-essential but notable in the industry and can be simplified without elimination.

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“Strategy without Tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without Strategy is the noise before defeat.” — Sun Tzu

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Mark Bridges

I blog about various management frameworks, from Strategic Planning to Digital Transformation to Change Management. https://flevy.com