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In a recent post on launching your clothing line brand, one of the most critical elements of a brand that I wrote about was Brand Value Proposition. Most businesses do not really understand or are not even aware of this concept. Understanding it and applying it to your business will help your business ascend to the next level like how one of our clients used the message of positiveness to stand apart from the crow.

Because of the sheer volume of product and service providers in virtually every market category, most businesses are now commoditized. The competition in every segment is fierce and because the customers have so much choice, it would be quite fatal to believe that customers would beat a path to your door and buy what you are offering.

Most business owners truly believe they are offering something unique and of superior quality. Most believe they are the best option for their customers and hence would be fools not to purchase from them. This is the kind of company-centric thinking that can deter your business from taking off. By placing yourself in the customer’s shoes, you should be able to identify how your brand appears to them.

In fact you are a customer for a lot of businesses from whom you purchase goods or services. How do you make your decisions when you need to purchase something? What factors do you take into consideration? Why do you buy from Brand A and not from Brand B? Such critical thinking and asking yourself questions is the starting point in understanding and communicating your own brand value to your target market.

By definition, Brand Value Proposition is a business or marketing statement that summarizes why a consumer should buy a product or use a service. This statement should convince a potential consumer that one particular product or service will add more value or better solve a problem than other similar offerings.

Most often than not, it is not your product or service features and specs that would motivate people to buy from your brand. It is more about the emotional decisions that people make that determine if you are just scraping by or if your brand is commanding premium prices. To connect emotionally with your target market, having the best quality product or service is simply not enough. You should come up with a differentiating factor that appeals to the emotions of your prospects.

Here are a few examples:

If you are a clothing brand, then simply opening your physical or online store, displaying your apparel and then expecting people to come in hoards to buy is a recipe for disaster. You would need work out what makes your brand unique and valuable. Do you have a story of heritage that you can connect with? Does clothing line have a unique local tradition tie up? Was your idea born of a desire to make a difference in this world and to contribute? Or like Zappos, are you so confident in the quality of your apparel design that you offer free shipping on items returned along with a 100% refund?

If you are a real estate agency, then why should people chose your to manage their properties or to buy properties that you represent? Do you offer a special insurance policy that gives your customers a peace of mind? Can you customers meet your CEO directly and do business him/her? Do you provide after sales support by helping sorting out any management issues?

If you are beauty salon, do you offer beauty tips and workshops to your local customers? In fact that is one of the 7 ways to build a booming beauty business that I advocate. Do you offer products that are actually good for your customers rather than the ones that make your highest margin? Do your staff get re-certified periodically? Please don’t tell me that you are doing well and your local market would come to you even without having a special value proposition. It may well be so, but you are perhaps having an opportunity cost.

If you are a design agency, can clients talk to your CEO on the first call? Do you prescribe to a code of ethics and promise to uphold the design profession? Are you provide after sales support even after a year or two? Do you treat design as an art and refuse to commoditize it?

I can give many more examples, but I guess you get the idea. If you want to get some ideas specific to your business, drop me a line from our contact page and I will see if I can help.

Here are 10 more value proposition examples as described by

  1. Newness
  2. Performance
  3. Customization
  4. “Getting the Job Done”
  5. Design & Usability
  6. Price
  7. Reducing Costs
  8. Reducing Risk
  9. Accessibility & Convenience
  10. Brand Or Status

How Does Your Brand Provide Value to Your Market?

A key element of any positioning strategy is how you deliver value to your market at the highest level. Are you: better/faster, more complete, or cheaper? A thorough brand audit will uncover valuable insights about your brand and take it to the next level.

This focus should be reflected in your positioning, brand, pricing, distribution and messaging. Aligning them and understanding how your competitors deliver value to the marketplace will guide you when creating new campaigns and sales strategies, and improve the results of your marketing activities.

To help this process there are 3 steps you can take:

1) Select The Type Of Value Proposition

Product Leadership: Your focus is innovation: new technologies, better products/services. Because your products are new, different and unique, your prices are likely to be higher than those of your competition, but you’re delivering a superior product/service.

Apple does this effectively with their innovative technology and products and charging a premium for them.

Operational Excellence: You can deliver your product/service at a lower cost than that of your competitors, thanks to better manufacturing processes, better economies, or other advantages.

Customer Relationship: Your goal is to solve your customers’ problems with a broad portfolio or a customized set of products/services. You’re selling a relationship that is superior to the relationship offered by your competitors.

This is what we do at SpellBrand. We do not want to create innovative services nor do we want to cut corners to reduce costs. Instead we want to create special bonds with our customers were we become stake holders in their success and that happens through one on one care and consulting.

2) Review Competitors’ Value Propositions

It’s a good idea to understand the value propositions of your competitors in the marketplace. This will help as you consider your competitive positioning and the mindshare that you’d like to own.

For example, if all your competitors deliver value through operational excellence and you have an opportunity to focus on customer intimacy, you’ll have a better chance at differentiating yourself.

Walmart doesn’t focus on innovation and product leadership – it focuses on creating cost efficiencies to deliver products at the lowest possible price. Its entire business model is built on operational excellence.

3) Analyze the Market

After you’ve rated yourself and your competitors on your ability to deliver value to the market, consider the marketplace and the value propositions that you and your competitors deliver.

Are they identical? Are they different?

Think about the problems your customers face, and take an objective look at the market. Pretend you’re a prospect. How cluttered is your market? Do you stand out? Does the competition stand out? Are there potential opportunities for delivering additional value to your market?

This isn’t the end result of your competitive positioning strategy, so don’t be frustrated if you find that everyone is delivering the same type of value to your market.

If that’s the case, there’s still room for differentiation and owning mindshare; it’s simply a good idea to have an objective view of your market as you consider the mindshare you’d like to own.

And remember, mindshare is a perception, so you don’t always have to change your product/service to change the market’s perception of you – to change their perception, you have to change your marketing.

Mash Bonigala

Mash B. is the Founder & CEO of SpellBrand. Since 1998, Mash has helped conscious brands differentiate themselves and AWAKEN through Brand Strategy and Brand Identity Design. Schedule a Brand Strategy Video Call with Mash.