Brand Strategy and Value Propositions

The key to an effective brand strategy is the creation of a value proposition that fits with what a customer wants and needs. As we mentioned in the previous article Brand Strategy: A 10 step guide to creating an effective brand, the third step is to map out your products/ services and value proposition(s).

According to Wikipedia, “a value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered, communicated, and acknowledged. It is also a belief from the customer about how value (benefit) will be delivered, experienced and acquired.”

This definition should be simplified to read: “A value proposition is a product, service, or experience that creates desired gains or relieves existing pains.”

To develop a compelling value proposition, you must understand the desired gains and existing pains of the people you aim to serve. More often than not, we also get the benefit of discovering new pains and gains you were not previously aware of.

When you are discovering your customer needs, you must identify, and in many cases segregate each customer market/segment you want to target and then identify for each respectively. Often multiple segments can be served with the right value proposition; it just takes a little bit more time. This small amount of additional time will add immense value to your brand.

Through observing the customer segments, you can create profiles that map out the following

– Jobs or tasks customers are trying to get done, problems they want to solve, or needs they must fulfill.
– Pain points – annoyances, costs or risks.
– Gains or benefits/ outcomes customer would like to attain.

The challenge is, when you ask a customer about their jobs and problems directly, they tend to look at things as a whole, and at the end results rather than the process. You must guide them deeper by deconstructing what they are trying to achieve into specific steps. The resulting “job map” provides a structure that will allow you to identify and capture all the customer’s wants, needs, and pain points, and systematically identify opportunities for growth throughout the process.

While this is very time consuming, it is well worth it as the insights are extremely valuable.

With a clear understanding of the jobs, we can then look at pain relievers and gain creators. Pain relievers need to demonstrate explicitly how the product or service will relieve or eliminate the specific annoyances, costs, or risks. Gain creators must show clearly how the product or service leads to beneficial outcomes.

Value Pyramid, from Bain&Co, maps out four kinds of needs: functional, emotional, life changing, and social impact.

Social Impact
– Self-transcendence

Life changing
– Provides home
– Self-actualization
– Motivation
– Heirloom
– Affiliation/ belonging

– Reduces anxiety
– Rewards me
– Nostalgie
– Design/ aesthetics
– Badge value
– Wellness
– Therapeutic value
– Fun/ entertainment/ attractiveness
– Provides access

– Saves time
– Simplifies
– Makes money
– Reduces risk
– Organizes
– Integrates
– Connects
– Reduces effort
– Avoids hassles
– Reduces cost
– Quality
– Variety
– Sensory appeal
– Informs

Your next step is to figure out how to match your value proposition perfectly with the jobs, needs, and pain points you discovered and clarified. And when the market validates this, you have that perfect fit.

Unfortunately, that is not enough in itself. We tend to use the solutions already around us, and getting people to change is often like pulling teeth, even if what we offer will help them greatly.

But consider a somewhat straightforward equation: The problems with the current situation and the benefits of a new solution need to outweigh existing habits, switching costs, and any concerns the customer may have about your offering. This is what determines the motivation they need to make the change.

By taking into account a well mapped-out value proposition, fit, and the necessary motivation, you empower your brand strategy to mitigate the risk that the customer will say no. As we like to say, the better informed your decisions are, the better chance you have to succeed.

We hope this helps paint a clear picture of the steps necessary for this phase of your brand strategy. If you have any questions, comments, or need help in the process. Please contact us today.

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