Value Proposition, the Foundation of Every Brand Strategy
A value proposition is a set of benefits a brand promise to deliver to its target customers. You might have heard something about the Unique Selling Proposition (USP), where you offer something different than your competitors. Well, USP is a part of the value proposition, since the latter encompasses a bigger part of your brand strategy.
So yes, a value proposition proposes a set of values that customers need and/or want. It is a promise from a brand to the audience and it states how a brand is unique and different from their competitors. While a USP only says what the unique factor is, value proposition covers physical, functional, emotional and social benefits.
The value proposition is not a slogan, tagline, vision, mission or a brand positioning statement. Instead, it is a clear statement of how your product or service solves a customer problem, satisfies a need and makes their lives better. It’s usually written on the homepage of the company’s website to tell customers from the get-go on what to expect.
You can see an example of our value proposition. It highlights our professional services that help businesses grow and add value to their end customers.
What makes a good value proposition statement:
Short, sweet, and comprehensive
State their benefits to the customers
Clear and understandable
Use terms that the target audience can understand
Now that we know what value proposition is, let’s look at how to develop a value proposition statement and kickstart an effective brand strategy.
We love to use the Brand Ladder framework as an exercise for the value proposition. Here, the ladder has four levels of benefits (i.e. values) that your brand promise to provide. These benefits are physical attributes, functional benefits, and emotional benefits. You can even up the top level for social benefit.
‘Physical attribute’ is the first level of your value proposition. It states the tangible aspects of your product or service. These attributes have to be what your customers are seeking. If you’re targeting weight-watchers, common attributes can be ‘zero MSG’ ‘natural flavours’ or ‘stevia as sugar substitute’.
The second level is ‘functional benefit’. How does the thing you’re offering works to solve the customer’s problem or add value to their life? A shampoo brand can say that their product makes hair more voluminous in 30 days. A fashion brand can say their clothes can be worn for both work and casual events.
The next level is ‘emotional benefit’. This is where you state how your product or service makes customers feel. Thick luscious hair can make the customer feel more confident and attractive, for example. Stevia coffee can lower sugar levels and help them live healthier, safer lives. Ultimately, customers want to feel happy, so your value proposition should help them achieve happiness.
The last level of the Brand Ladder is optional if you want to go a step further in providing benefits to your customers. ‘Social benefit’ is how your product or service can contribute to the social aspect of the customer. Luscious hair makes one attractive and therefore more appealing to the social circle, be the centre of attraction. Healthier diets enable one to do activities with the family.
As you look at the Brand Ladder and figure out your benefits, try to ingrain a unique factor that other competitors have not offered. Thus, your brand would be built by a robust strategy that is competitive from the core.
And with the value proposition, you can move forward on the next step of the brand strategy development and grow your brand. As the foundation of your brand, the value proposition is a valuable and useful method of making your brand relevant to the customers, differentiating from the competition while staying true to your identity. Since it is an essential brand-building tool, we recommend our guidebook on the topic as well as other brand strategy elements that you can try.
Article updated on March 2020 to keep content relevant and fresh.