You don’t get a second chance to make your first impression!
This means one of the most important aspects of brand marketing is having a compelling value proposition!
Your customers won’t buy from you if they don’t understand what your product or service does for them, and they’ll only know that if you have a strong brand value proposition.
What a Brand Value Proposition Is
A brand value proposition is a clear statement that explains how you/your product solves the customer’s problem, quantifies the benefits and tells the customer how your offering is different from the competitions. It’s an essential part of your business strategy that encompasses your promise of the value you deliver, as well as the customer’s belief that the value will be experienced. It can apply to your whole company, parts of it, customer accounts or products and services.
Don’t get confused between a value proposition and any of these things:
- L’Oréal. Because we’re worth it. (This is a slogan or tagline)
- America’s #1 Bandage Brand. Heals the wound fast, heals the hurt faster. (This is a positioning statement)
These steps will help you to get started developing a compelling brand value proposition.
Identify the Problem You Solve
Your claim to provide value isn’t about the features of your product. It’s about what it does for the customer and the problem it solves. To highlight that effectively, you need to first know what the problem is and how it affects the client. Once you know what it is, try to answer these questions about it:
- Does your product / service fix a business issue that has real repercussions if it isn’t solved? In other words, does it affect the customer’s company survival, profitability, staff retention or any other critical business process?
- Is the problem urgent for your customer to resolve?
- Is the problem “underserved” – for example, is there a shortage of solutions to this particular issue, or a scarcity of affordable ones?
Your answers should help to identify if the problem is critical, and determine whether it puts your customer at risk if it’s not fixed.
Evaluate Your Solution
Just having a solution that’s faster, cheaper or even better isn’t enough to create a compelling brand value proposition. Take a long, hard look at your offering and evaluate whether it does any of the following:
- Looks at the problem differently from other solutions. This means you may be able to promote “transformative benefits” as part of your proposition.
- Offers your customer a solution that will contribute to his (or her) competitive advantage. This increases the value of your benefits exponentially.
- Clearly provides a concrete end-benefit for the user or buyer. This offers proof that your claims are true.
- Above all, you need to evaluate whether your offering provides the customer with a fair exchange for his money and a return on his investment.
When you know what your value proposition is, the secret to making it work for you is to communicate it clearly, using the right language and the right channels to reach the right people. Otherwise it’s worthless having one. This is where you might need some help from a professional, unless you’re fortunate to have a top-notch marketer or communicator in your ranks.
Crafting the Message
Your message needs to cover four fundamental elements:
- Appeal – Your customer must WANT it
- Exclusivity – Your customer can get this ONLY from you
- Clarity – Your customer must be able to understand it
- Credibility – Your customer must find the information she needs to believe in you
Develop a statement that tells who your product is for, why they need it, what it does for them and how it’s different from others. Then evaluate it against these elements to see if it fits the criteria on all of them.
Here’s a quick example of two brand value propositions for the same company:
Simple Fix for Blown Head Gaskets
Repairs Blown Head Gaskets in Just One Hour
Both fit the bill by identifying the problem and evaluating the solution, but the second one is much more powerful and in real life it contributed to 58% more sales for the company. The reason? Adding the “just one hour” to it highlights the very specific benefit to using that company. Imagine if you’re searching for head gasket repair and you see this add alongside a bunch of others that promise they’ll fix your gasket. Which one would you choose?
I know it’s a complex issue, but in these days of inbound marketing it’s a critical one. You simply can’t afford to have a brand strategy that doesn’t include a sound value proposition.