Here’s another great post by our upcoming webinar presenter, David Solomon.
Don’t forget to join us at our free webinar on August 19. (Sue Heins)
One of the things I love most about a Cirque du Soleil production is that the curtain separating the artist from the audience has been removed.
In a traditional circus (or live show of any sort really), the artist can go past the curtain and drop his/her role.
Cirque du Soleil shows create an environment where the artist has to remain in character for the full length of the production. In this way, both the audience and the artist feel part of a larger show.
This opens up endless performance possibilities – of all sorts.
Any Cirque du Soleil show is unconventional. Sure, there are tumblers, but they are bouncing on beds, not trampolines. There are trapeze artists, but they twirl in the centre of giant chandeliers, not between platforms. And what garden-variety circus is likely to begin with a death-bed scene starring a midget and a dying clown, with a band of acrobat angels hovering overhead? It could only be Cirque du Soleil!
This all reflects the attitude of Guy Laliberté (founder of Cirque du Soleil) who has been described as “an amazing entrepreneur…one who will always provoke people to go to their limits”.
The creative and business risks behind Cirque du Soleil have now brought performances to an audience of close to 100 million in 270 cities on 5 continents. What started as a small troupe of street performers has grown to a 4,800 person operation with an annual revenue approaching $1 billion.
Laliberté has a love for all things absurd and eccentric. He has created a high-wire act of smart risk-taking, innovating around the clock, and staying uncomfortable. The Cirque shuns the traditional use of animals and instead embraces acrobats, music and dance. The troupe hinges on Laliberté’s creativity and international vision. It wows it audiences with unique, highly skilled acrobats combined with over-the-top lighting, stage design, art, music and dance.
Each show is a synthesis of circus styles from around the world, with its own central theme and storyline.
They draw the audience into the performance through continuous live music. They even have the performers changing the props (rather than stagehands).
For over 25 years Cirque du Soleil has used its creative energy and unique approach to create a new form of entertainment and bring it to the world.
Effectively they have no competition.
This is exactly what W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne wrote about in their 2005 bestseller Blue Ocean Strategy – How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant.
Instead of dividing up existing (and often shrinking) demand and competitors who benchmark your business, blue ocean strategy is about growing demand and breaking away from the competition.
What Cirque did was to stop trying to beat the competition. They reinvented the circus.
Blue oceans – unlike red oceans which are defined by competitors trying to outperform their rivals and grab a greater share of existing demand – are defined by untapped market space, demand creation, and the opportunity for highly profitable growth.
In blue oceans, competition is irrelevant because the rules of the game are waiting to be set.
Blue ocean thinking implies a mindset of abundance as opposed to scarcity.
Rather than say “How do we get a bigger piece of the pie?” the blue ocean entrepreneur says “How can I bake a totally new pie?” We need blue ocean thinking now, more than ever.
However, the key message to take away is that every business, small or large, can adopt blue ocean thinking, and in this way create a unique positioning for themselves in their marketplace.
Just as Cirque du Soleil did over 25 years ago.
Grab your swimming costume and let’s jump in…