Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stand Out from the Crowd

As attractions facilities and suppliers struggle to find ways to thrive in a difficult economy, cutting costs, programs, and projects are most definitely a reality. But tough times can also present opportunities to reevaluate your business, add value, and beat the competition.

During IAAPA’s next webinar on Friday, April 10 at 2 p.m. EDT, Dr. Roch Parayre, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and senior partner of Decision Strategies International, will tackle this topic during a presentation on “Blue Ocean Strategy,” which shows how companies can differentiate themselves while simultaneously cutting costs by reinventing their business models. Using “Cirque du Soleil” and other case studies, Parayre will help attendees understand how this methodology applies to the attractions industry.

Parayre answered a few questions about the webinar and what attendees can expect from the discussion.

FUNWORLD: What will be the main focus of your webinar?
Dr. Roch Parayre: The main focus will be on the topic of “Blue Ocean Strategy” which argues that instead of trying to have offerings out there that compete head on with competitors, you should try to reinvent your value offering to become so distinctive that you make the competition irrelevant. The webinar will present tools on how can go about reinventing your value offering away from competition.

FW: For potential attendees who are not familiar with “Blue Ocean Strategy” and how it can relate to their companies, could you give a brief description and example that illustrates what it is?
RP: “Blue Ocean Strategy” is as much about what you are not going to do as what you are going to do. Rather than having a plain vanilla offering, where you perform many things equally well, “Blue Ocean” thinking would suggest cutting some of the things that everyone pursues and are less distinctive to your customers, and focusing instead on fewer dimensions where you can really shine. In launching the Wii, for example, Nintendo moved away from the high-graphics trend that everyone had been competing on, taking the savings from using a lower graphics platform and focusing its resources instead on sophisticated sensor technology—thereby fundamentally changing the gaming experience.

FW: How does your message relate to small parks and family owned businesses?
RP: The core to the “Blue Ocean” story is the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost, which is new thinking because generally people go for one or the other. Particularly for smaller operators who may be more cost-constrained than their larger counterparts, “Blue Ocean” asks what can you let go of that is a me-too offering in order to focus on the few things you can absolutely shine at?

FW: In a difficult economy, what considerations should be made when applying “Blue Ocean Strategy?”
RP: You know that everybody is going to be cutting costs and shedding high-cost or less profitable activities. But many organizations will tend to cut so deep that they cut into muscle and bone, and as a result end up in a weak competitive position when the economy rebounds. Ironically, that presents opportunities to organizations with a strategic perspective to position themselves for the economic rebound, by picking up cheap resources and skills to bolster their chosen pathways of excellence.

FW: What can attendees expect to take away from this session and apply to their businesses?
RP: One, a better understanding of the value dimensions that customers really care about. Two, a set of tools to apply with their teams back home around how to reinvent themselves away from the competition. And three, it will force them to broaden the definition of “what business are we really in?” They will walk away with a new frame or mental model around that question.

For more information about Dr. Parayre, visit, and for more details on upcoming IAAPA webinars and other educational updates, click here.

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