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How To Determine A Value Proposition

As an agency, it’s our job to communicate some form of value or another on behalf of our clients. Not only that, but the way in which we do it needs to be compelling and attention-grabbing to the point that it translates into rands and cents – all the more essential in this age of data analytics that can tell a client with just a few clicks whether your content is resonating with the people it should.

But in order to do it, we first need a compelling value proposition to work with. We often find ourselves being asked to help our clients with creating a value proposition, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to share our process and model with you.

Though several definitions exist, for me (in the advertising and branding context), the term refers to the degree to which post expectation exceeds initial price. If the expectation is bigger than the price, then obviously there is value to be had. If expectation is less than the price, then negative value – perhaps even anger or resentment – are the natural result.

If we can all agree on this definition, then let’s now have a look at how businesses can formulate their own value proposition. Consider the following process:
Determine the value proposition

The Value Proposition Canvas sets out a view of three things;

  1. Current products and services: lay out your full stack of products and services and determine which of them has the greatest potential to differentiate your brand through uniqueness.
  1. Potential Gain Creators: which areas within your product or service stack has the potential to bring about gain for your audience, drive benefits, and be different?
  2. Pain Relievers: which of your offerings relieves pain for your audience? How do they alleviate customers’ most pressing challenges?

At the intersection of these three lies a clue as to what value you’re offering.

Prioritise which message you’re going to market with

The biggest mistakes our clients make is choosing too many value drivers and trying to be all things to all people. The more focussed your value proposition is, the more likely it is that your messaging will be simple and impactful, driving audience understanding about your offering. I cannot stress simplicity enough. Choose a maximum of two value drivers and then decide which one to prioritise. Using sticky notes is often a good idea.

Compel your audience through rich messaging

This is where the magic happens – where the value driver becomes a message. Here, you want to frame your message around telling the right “STORY”.

S – simple

T – Translatable

O – Original  

R – Relatable

Y – You

Simple. Always keep it simple. make it easy so easy to understand that a child could grasp it with no trouble.

Translatable. The biggest win for any business is giving your audience the ability to tell others what it is that you do, and what makes you different. Your message has to be so simple that it’s easy to translate.

Original. No one else should be saying what you’re saying.

Relatable. Your audience should be able to relate to your message. If you’re taking the time to carefully map out the pains and gains, resonating with your audience should come naturally.  

You. the message should ring out your DNA, conveying your values as a brand and how they translate to value for your potential clients.

Here are some examples of simple, to-the-point value propositions that I believe meet the mark;

  • King Price Insurance: “premiums that decrease monthly”
  • Apple: “Think differently”
  • FNB: “Switch with a selfie”
  • Garmin: “Beat yesterday”
  • Leroy Merlin: “Make your home the best place to live”

The business landscape in the age of digital media is a hive of messaging – a chaotic mix of brand voices that is making it harder and harder to differentiate your brand against increasingly similar competitors. Devising a strong value proposition – and using it to hone your messaging into something trustworthy and reliable in the eyes of your audience, is half the battle toward making your business’s voice stand head-and-shoulders about the rest.

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