What are 'Value Propositions' and How Can a Business Use Them?

28/06/18

If your business doesn’t already have one, it could be worth defining a unique value proposition. This could not only give your customers a clear idea of what your company offers and how it is differentiated from your competitors, but may potentially help you to achieve and measure business growth.

In this post we’re going to look at what a value proposition is and discuss some of the potential benefits of having one in place. We’re also going to study the characteristics typical of successful value propositions, briefly show how to develop one for your business and explain how it can be used.

What is a Value Proposition?

In short, a value proposition is an expression of the reason why a customer should purchase a product from a company or use that company’s service. The expression is usually a simple statement that explains how the product or service will add value, solve a problem or otherwise benefit the customer.

This meaning of value proposition should not be confused with an employee value proposition, which is closely related but instead defines what a company offers to an employee and expects in return.

The Benefits of a Customer Value Proposition

Businesses with a strong value proposition in place could experience the following advantages:

Improved Engagement

A clear proposition will allow customers to understand more clearly what a business offers and why it should be used. 

Greater Focus

Once a value proposition is identified, it will help business departments to pull together and work towards more sharply defined goals.

Marketing Leverage

A value proposition can provide a clear focus for advertising campaigns, social media posts and other marketing activities, enabling a company to achieve consistent results when communicating with customers.

Successful Value Propositions

When looking at some of the best value proposition examples from the business world, it is possible to group them according to how they were created. In other words, there is no one single approach to value proposition design, but instead a number of routes to choose from.

A successful value proposition could focus on:

Benefits

This approach can be very inward looking, in that it might be tempting to simply list the services that a company offers. However, when executed successfully, a benefits-driven proposition will show how these services add value to a customer’s life.

Differentiators

In this approach, a company highlights the aspects of its product or service that make it stand out from similar businesses. This can be particularly successful in a competitive or crowded market.

Emotions

When taking this approach, managers in a company identify the feelings that they wish customers to associate with their product or service. In this way, they strive to achieve a deeper level of resonance than they might when referencing tangible benefits or differentiators.

Creating a Business Value Proposition

If you are creating a value proposition for your business, it could be worth following any one of the three approaches above. You could also combine all three methods into one, creating a proposition which not only defines your product or service, but has emotional depth.

Although it is possible to find value proposition templates online, these might be better treated as inspiration rather than as strict rules. If your business is unique, your company value proposition should reflect this. 

Once you have a proposition that you feel is valid, the next step is to ensure that the entire organisation is on board with the message, because it can be used as a valuable tool to help you achieve your business goals. 

Using a Value Proposition

Having a written proposition statement can be useful – and at times even invaluable – in areas such as the following:

Briefing Advertising Agencies

Your value proposition is an important statement for advertising or design professionals as it will allow them to create focused work that is relevant to your goals. This statement could comprise the essence of any initial briefing and be used as a means of measuring success.

Reporting to Shareholders

A value proposition could be used by stakeholders in the company as a yardstick against which to measure results. If a company’s activities are aligned with the proposition, the business could be considered to be on track.

Improving Onboarding

When training new employees or working with a new partner, a value proposition could prove to be useful in getting across succinctly what a company offers and stands for. This will help to make the entire onboarding process easier and keep misunderstandings to a minimum.

Motivating Employees

Existing employees can use a new value proposition as a signpost showing where they should be focusing their activities. This could even provide inspiration for future achievements.

Communicating with Customers

A value proposition is usually communicated to customers via marketing campaigns. But sometimes it is possible to pass this message on directly to customers, such as on the ‘About’ page of a website or in a social media message.

The more a value proposition is used, the more effective it could potentially be, with the ultimate aim being to successfully position a company in a marketplace and pave the way for long-term success.

Image courtesy of iStock

Whilst care has been taken in the production of this article and the information contained within it has been obtained from sources that Aon UK Limited believes to be reliable, Aon UK Limited does not warrant, represent or guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or fitness for any purpose of the article or any part of it and can accept no liability for any loss incurred in any way whatsoever by any person who may rely on it. In any case any recipient shall be entirely responsible for the use to which it puts this article.

This article has been compiled using information available to us up to 20/08/21.

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