You’ve probably heard the term “value proposition” thrown around at a few meetings before. While it might seem like a buzzword, it is one of the most important things for you to define and take ownership of. In branding, we talk about the importance of knowing your “why”.
With your value proposition, you need to focus on the “what”. The value proposition defines just what it is that you have to offer your key stakeholders.
Put another way, you can look at your value proposition as being your “niche”. It’s the thing that makes you stand out from the crowd.
What’s a stakeholder?
A stakeholder is anyone that holds a stake in the work you do. For the business owner, the stakeholder is usually the end user/audience for the work itself.
But here’s the thing: More often than not, the value you THINK you are providing to your stakeholders is different than the value that THEY are seeing. So when defining your value proposition, it is vital to keep an open mind and evaluate both the value your business is projecting and the value that is being perceived by your target audience.
Here’s how you can define your value proposition:
First, begin by digging into as many things as you can that shed light on the way in which you have been projecting your value. This might look like a collection of public-facing material (like social media posts, website content, etc.). If you don’t have any of that, think back to the last time you explained to someone what it is that you did. Read through all of this, and take some time to reflect.
Next, evaluate the way in which your value is being perceived by others. Take some time to speak to existing customers, and ask them what it is that they think is valuable about what you do.
Based on what you’ve learned thus far, write a short description (no longer than 3-4 sentences) that defines your value proposition. This should be informed by both the projected and perceived value that you’ve just uncovered, but also a range of other factors, including thoughts around the following:
I will be honest, this is not an easy task. That said, if you see your value proposition as something that is in a constant state of further definition and evolution, it takes some of the weight off of the process as a whole. The best thing you can do is start. Know that it is natural (and actually great!) for this value to change! A few final tips, selected from the best practices section of our Value Proposition toolkit:
- When developing your value proposition, work with your existing audience to get an understanding for how you are being perceived, and see how that differs from the value and unique differentiation you’re projecting in your current marketing material. If you are starting something from scratch, and do not have an audience to get feedback from, you can also have conversations with previous coworkers or employers about your work in general.
- A common mistake is to spend too much time thinking about your competition, as well as all of the features and benefits of your organization. Don’t get tunnel vision! Instead, think about your users. What do they need? How are those needs currently being fulfilled by your competitors? How do you fulfil those needs in a better way? Take the time to understand how the need that you are meeting fits into the ecosystem of their other needs (which may be fulfilled by others!).
- The value proposition has to speak to your core competency. Stay true to what you know you can deliver well.
If you need some help with defining your value proposition, we can help you with a marketing strategy session. Get in touch to book one now.