Learn how to Outline Your Worth Proposition
You have probably heard the term "value proposition" at some meetings. It may seem like a buzzword, but it is one of the most important things that your company needs to define and take ownership of. When it comes to branding, we often talk about how important it is to know the "why". When it comes to value proposition, we really focus on the "what". Your value proposition defines what you have to offer your most important stakeholders. Simply put, your value proposition is your niche. It is what sets you apart from the crowd.
What is a stakeholder?
A stakeholder is everyone who is involved in your work. For designers, the most important stakeholder is commonly seen as a customer. The customer is certainly central to your work, but he is not the only stakeholder involved. Other common interest groups for designers are your team, employees, the entire industry and the end user / audience for the work itself.
Here's the tricky thing: Most of the time, the value you THINK that you offer your stakeholders is different from the value YOU see. For this reason, when defining your value proposition, it is important to be open and to evaluate both the value that you personally project and the value that is perceived by your fellow human beings.
We recently released a series of toolkits called "Give All" that capture all the methods we've used with hundreds of customers over the years. One of these toolkits, Value Proposition, is great for working through this important process.
Below is a brief activity from the toolkit that you can use to define your value proposition:
First, start by examining as many things as possible that show how you projected your value. This could look like a collection of publicly available material (such as social media posts, website content, etc.). If you have none of this, think back to the last time you explained what you did. Read everything through and take some time to think.
- What message is projected about the value of your work?
- What keywords do you use to describe what makes you or your service / product unique?
Next, evaluate how your value is perceived by others. Take some time to talk to existing customers and ask them what they think is valuable, what you do.
- How do these interpretations of your value match the value that you projected?
- How can you refine your messages to make this value clearer?
Based on what you've learned so far, try to write a short description (no longer than 3-4 sentences) that defines your value proposition. This should be determined by the projected and perceived value that you have just discovered, but also by a number of other factors, including the following considerations:
- The greatest need of your key stakeholders and the way your work fulfills that need.
- Your biggest competitor and the main differences between your work / approach
- Your personal values and your view of the world.
I'm not going to gloss it over, it's not an easy task. This means that if you see your value proposition as something that is constantly being further defined and developed, it relieves the whole process. The best thing you can do is start. Know that it is natural (and indeed great!) That this value changes! A few final tips selected from the "Best Practices" section of our Value Proposition Toolkit:
- Work with your existing audience to develop your value proposition to understand how you are perceived and how it differs from the value and unique differentiation that you project in your current marketing material. If you're starting from scratch and you don't have an audience to get feedback from, you can also talk to past colleagues or employers about your work in general.
- A common mistake in designing value propositions is spending too much time thinking about your competition and all the interesting features and benefits of your business. Don't get a tunnel view! Instead, think of your users. What do you need? How are these needs currently being met by your competitors? How can you better meet these needs? Take the time to understand how the need you satisfy fits into the ecosystem of your other needs (which others can meet!).
- TThe value proposition must speak to your core competence. As a result, it will be impossible to soothe every pain point of your users. Stay true to what you know you are good at and identify the weaknesses identified that are determined by this reality.
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The article How to define your value proposition was first published on HOW Design.