The Blue Ocean Strategy and the BABYMETAL phenomena 

Mr. Akihisa Ishida, Japan Marketing consultant for foreing companies wrote a very interesting report about BABYMETAL and the Blue Ocean Strategy. Blue Ocean Strategy is a book published in 2005 written by Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne both Professors of INSEAD and Co-Directors of the INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute. 

BABYMETAL and Blue Ocean Strategy

To put you in context before reading the report of Mr. Akihisa Ashida.

What is Blue Ocean Strategy?

The Blue Ocean Strategy argue that companies can succeed not by battling competitors, but rather by creating ″blue oceans″ of uncontested market space. They assert that these strategic moves create a leap in value for the company, its buyers, and its employees, while unlocking new demand and making the competition irrelevant.

Report of Akihisa Ishida on IT Media Japan

The Blue Ocean strategy is a one of the most famous marketing strategies that we work with, but I would like to focus in on the Blue Ocean strategy of the popular band Babymetal that has garned the worldwide popularity of acquiring the number 1 position for overseas albums on the current Billboard chart.

First of all I would like it if you would view the following music video. Babymetal, a group formed under the concept of fusing together Idol with Heavy Metal music has chocked up over 29 million views on Youtube and have gone on to be a world-wide sensation that includes their success in live performances in North America and Europe.

1) The creation of an ‘Only one’ position that lies outside of competition with a reduction in cost and an elevation of value.

For example, ‘Circus of the sun’ has reduced costs by eliminating the usually considered essential presence of clowns and animals from its performances and by adding highly valued tents and twists and turns of the storyline that appeal to the customer they have established an original and unique position in the entertainment world.

In the same manner, Babymetal has by performing on a simple stage set with a story unfoldment done by projectors and by taking out the performance of MC and costume changes that are part of other concerts, reduced the costs that are therein involved. And by adding on to this the element of ‘Metal’ that could not be achieved by a simple Idol band, were able to by the addition of Metal been able to establish an original position that has an added value not available to other bands.

This is by its very definition the creation of ‘Value Innovation’ (erased on July 9th)

I received many opinions regarding cost reduction.

Since of course the people involved are not directly related to this topic this is not a report that is based on factual information and there may in fact be mistakes due to pure supposition.

Please be aware of this situation. The main point of this category is not the concept of ‘not adding costs’ but is rather that of ‘using costs to their highest potential’.

In the example of the ‘Circus of the sun’ in place of not adding costs regarding animals and clowns, money was spent on tents and adding value to the performance.

In other words, they separated the items that customers would value as having high value with those they may not have felt much value from and changed the distribution of the budgetary amounts therein.

In the case of Babymetal they obviously granted great cost to the creation of making songs and to their presentation, and the main point is that they paid close attention to the separation of how the money was used regarding the separation of these points.

In other words, by reducing the costs in areas that other companies didn’t realize the customer did not place much emphasis on and by cutting back on costs other than those that the customer really placed value on they were able to create a value emphasized marketing strategy.

I would like to introduce when the time is right and I have a chance to do so, an analysis using value charts in the future.

2) 4 actions of the Blue Ocean strategy

So, in fact there are really very few examples of totally new valued acts.

Most are things created using ‘combinations’.

In the Blue Ocean strategy the combination of the following 4 actions creates new value.




Added value

In the case of Babymetal, there is the addition of POP music to the side of Heavy Metal and from the POP side there is the possibility of adding a new musical genre from the Heavy Metal side.

3) How to create new value by studying Babymetal

There is no doubt that for industries there is the incredibly important element of creating a market in which there is no element of competition. However, in creating a new market there is no need to have a totally new element.

By considering existing items and thinking about what are the complaints of customers and what elements need to be added to resolve those complaints or unsatisfied needs it is possible to provide a totally new value.

So, for you what and what would be needed to be fused together to be able to create a new value?

While I know that this aricle is only a superficial treatment of the properties of Babymetal and its relation to Blue Ocean strategy in creating a new innovation by carrying out these 4 actions in accordance with the ‘values felt by customers’, I hope to, and am thankful for, the possibility of a furthered specified analysis using the comments provided. The comments made in recent interviews about ‘creating a new genre’ may be part of creating a Blue Ocean strategy.

Further, I have received comments talking about the decline in the Heavy Metal world let it be known that in the Blue Ocean strategy example of the ‘Circus of the sun’ that this had already been in a state of decline. By reducing some elements of this industry that were in decline and by adding some things to it, it was possible to innovate a new genre. It may be quite interesting to bring to the surface for examination this fact as well.

I feel from the lengthy comments I have received that this is proof of the importance of examining this phenomena.

Thank you very much.

Report by: Akihisa Ashida.

Translation by Thomas Malone