What’s your value proposition?

Your organization’s value proposition is exactly that: a promise of the value you provide to customers. It’s the reason to buy from you instead of your competition.

Defining your value proposition is vital. Because if you yourself don’t have a clear understanding of the value you provide to the world, then potential customers won’t either. Your value proposition – clearly and honestly defined – makes it easy for you to describe and differentiate your offering, face-to-face and in your marketing communications – and compel potential customers to give your offering a try.

Crafting your value proposition is a straight-forward process. All you have to do is define these six essential elements.

The six elements of your value proposition:

1. Who are you in business to serve?

These are your customers. You might have just one type of customer, or multiple types. Describe your customers as clearly as you can, with these criteria:

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics – interests, influences, affiliations, opinions
  • Pains, needs, wants (at a high level – what are their daily challenges?)
  • What does a day in their life look like? Describe it from waking up in the morning to turning the light off at night.

2. What are you offering your customers?

Describe your product or service offering – what it looks like, what it does, how it works.

3. What pain/need/want does your offering solve for your customers?

4. What are competing offerings?

  • Directly competing products
  • Alternative solutions – entirely different products, services or methods that solve your potential customers’ pain/want/need

5. How is your offering different and better than the alternatives?

Create a specific, meaningful list of your points of differentiation and advantages.

6. Beyond functional benefits and price, why would customers choose to buy from YOU instead of your competitors?

Is your company more than just your product? In other words, do you have a brand?

Brand: your ultimate differentiator

Your brand is the reason to buy from you beyond product and price benefits. It is the emotional connection customers make with your company. That connection is based on customers’ perception of your company’s:

  • Values – ethics, morals, and the principles you stand for – how you behave as a company and how you treat customers. Which words describe your company’s values?
  • Character – like a person, companies with a brand have a character – unique attributes such as “innovative,” “classy,” and “youthful.” Which words describe your company’s character?
  • Personality – like a person, companies with a brand have unique personality traits, such as “outgoing,” “irreverent,” and “jovial.” Which words describe your company’s personality?
  • Aesthetics – how do you present yourself visually and in writing? Do you look and sound well put together, or sloppy? People trust brands with a sharp presentation, but perceive brands with a sloppy presentation as risky. Logos, fonts, colors, good graphic design and good writing really do matter.

Everything in your value proposition is important. But brand may be the most important. Because if your offering is essentially commodity – meaning, you have competitors who offer a product or service with the same functionality as yours, and at essentially the same price – then the only way for you to stand out and win customers is with a unique, attractive brand. This concept is so important that it deserves its own blog post, so stay tuned…

Next

How well defined is your value proposition? Do you have specific, believable answers to the six questions above? If not, it’s time to get out your pad and pen and start listing what makes your company and its offering unique!

See you next time on the brander’s journey.