Have you noticed how most businesses talk about themselves? Check the “About Us” page and you’ll see that they are actually saying the same message:
“We’ve been around since so-and-so, and we’ve been serving our customers in a friendly environment. What makes us different is that we care about our customers. In fact, our values are respect, integrity, and trust.”
You don’t want to sound like your competitors. In this blog post, you will learn that there is a better way to talk about your business.
The first thing you need to realise is that your brand lives in your customer’s mind, not on your shelf or in your office. A value proposition is a statement of everything that you do that adds value for your customer. It’s a communication of value as a proposition to buy. Imagine your most loyal advocate sitting next to a prospect customer in a bar. The summation of what they say about your business is your value proposition.
All these said, it’s an important part of your marketing to get your value proposition right.
Here are the four important steps to get from what’s great about your business to something customers engage with.
1. Know your purpose and ambition.
Purpose is the reason you’re in business, your mission considerate of values. Ambition is what you aspire to be; this is how you know you’ve won. It should touch, move, and inspire you, your staff, and your customers, and it should guide your business strategy.
These two are so important you should be putting it on your front door and it should be the first thing customers see when they go to your website, so that people would know why your business exist.
One of our clients is a practice from Adelaide that specialises in back and spine surgery. Before Step Change stepped in to help with their strategy, they were called YHY and Associates. They were looking to change the way that care operates with their 3Cs Treatment Approach™: coordinated, collaborative care. They took in the pain medication, psychology, movement, surgical, and intervention.
When our team of strategists sat down with the stakeholders, they all discovered a purpose beyond themselves: to offer people who are suffering chronic back pain hope of a life beyond pain. This newfound purpose led to a new name for their practice that captures their purpose — The International Spine Centre — and it positioned them as thought leaders in their industry.
2. Understand who your customers are and what’s going on in their world.
One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make is trying to speak to too many people. Some would say, “Anyone with a wallet is our customer”. That doesn’t give any differentiation value. Stop asking the question, “How many people can we talk to?” The correct question to ask is “How few people can we talk to frequently enough to be successful?”
The tighter you define your customer audience, the more relevant you can be to that audience, with both your selling messages and your advertising spend working together.
Here’s a case study we did for one of our clients: U by Kotex
The brand had been launched but had no real differentiation in a category where all brands are equally effective. Languishing at less than 2% share, it was in very real danger of being delisted. Young girls were introduced to the category by their mums and generally just kept using that brand from there on in.
The solution? By positioning U by Kotex as a fashion brand rather than a femme care brand, we can allow girls to live this daring life vicariously and at the same time get away from the “yuckiness” of the category.
The results? It lifted brand share from less than 2% when we started on the brand to now just under 16%, the “Beaver” ad received over 1 million hits on YouTube within launch week, it gained over $4 million of free media, and the brand strategy is replicated in the USA.
3. Craft your value statements.
What makes your product or service valuable and unique? Most businesses talk about the same thing and forget to mention the things that make them truly stand out; they forget to give their most persuasive reason people should notice them. Focus on what makes you different.
- Start by listing all the features. These are aspects of your business that deliver value for your customers. They have to be specific, measurable, and exact.
- Identify the benefit. This is the value your customer gets from a corresponding feature.
- Think about the implication. This is the outcome that is now possible in your customers’ lives that was not there previously. While product features are important, remember that customers are not buying your product or service — they are buying the benefits they get from it.
4. Know your brand personality.
We buy from people we like, and we like people for different reasons. What’s important is that as a business, you stand for something and then act consistently with that over time. Your brand personality is your guide to how you need to act to build a relationship with your customers.
These are the 12 archetypes Step Change refer to for their work with clients. An in-depth discussion about brand archetypes can be found here.
Instead of beginning every conversation and introduction with how long you’ve been on business — like what most other businesses are doing — begin with your purpose and your ambition, know your target customers, craft your value statements, and identify your brand personality. Follow these steps for a powerful and more effective value proposition that will make you stand out and make people want to buy.
Written by Ashton Bishop, CEO at Step Change
Ashton Bishop is Australia’s Predatory Thinker — an expert in pinpointing how businesses can grow by outsmarting their competitors. His niche is in strategy, where he has spent the last 14 years working internationally on some of the world’s biggest brands. He’s a business owner and serial entrepreneur; challenging, sometimes even controversial; but always focused on what gets results.