3 common mistakes in value proposition creation
Your value proposition should be an accurate representation of your business’ capabilities. But, mistakes are often made when designing and employing a VP.
We discuss three ways to prevent these mistakes from happening and how to implement your perfected VP.
- 12th January
Your value proposition is the beating heart of your business, but without this solid foundation, your company’s message can quickly become confused. As we enter the new year, it’s time to consider whether your value proposition is telling the story you need it to.
A value proposition (VP) needs to be a unifying message that encompasses your entire business. It is how you want to be seen by your customers, your team and your competitors. It is the single version of your business’ truth. As such, you need to make sure that your story is articulated in a way that truly represents your business’ capabilities. This sets the tone for your marketing and sees that all of your content conveys a consistent story, highlighting your expertise while also evidencing your value and credibility.
Businesses often don’t know how to get their VP down on paper. Doing so successfully means establishing:
- Who you are
- Why you matter and your beliefs
- What you do
- How you do it
We’ve honed countless value propositions in our time. Through this process, we’ve encountered many common misunderstandings around composing a watertight VP, and what steps should be taken after it has been created. Here are 3 common mistakes businesses run into when trying to define their VP.
1. Reaching for a USP
Organisations often feel pressure to discover a unique selling point. But in the search for something original, they often end up identifying something that sounds good, but that isn’t a genuine reflection of themselves or their capabilities, and might not even be what their customers are looking for. Your VP has got to be authentic to you, so you should only anchor your story to things you can genuinely offer or that represents your business’ true offering. Value propositions quickly unravel when businesses reach for something that isn’t really them. Projecting a version of your business that doesn’t stack up will see that your brand is miscommunicated, affecting your ability to connect with your customers and get the buy-in of staff, and ultimately impacting your revenue.
If you’re scratching your head over your USP, you may not have one, but that’s ok. There’s no harm in anchoring your VP to something that does not feel entirely original. It’s more important that you focus around something you believe your customer is seeking, and in areas where you can legitimately evidence your credentials. You can still show your business’s uniqueness in the way that you articulate your proposition, and in the way you express certain practices or methodologies that form part of your approach.
Your VP needs to correspond with everything you believe your business is today, with a story that you can genuinely stand behind, and services you can deliver.
2. Your VP is not just a one-time event
What a business’ story looked like 5 years ago will be totally different today. Just because you have previously defined your value doesn’t mean that it still hits the mark today.
There must be a continuous refinement of your VP to make sure it is always in line with your company’s expertise and ambitions. Does your VP’s positioning statement still align with not just your own goals, but the needs and desires of your customers? If not, do you need to re-evaluate?
Your positioning statement is your ultimate VP deliverable, it can act as a valuable check and balance, but is only beneficial when it accurately reflects the story you need to tell today. But let’s not get distracted, this blog details the positioning statement’s importance in more detail.
If you are actively or even indirectly looking at your VP, it’s probably because there is an air of change in your business. Perhaps there’s a customer win in a new sector, the launch of a new service, or maybe a company acquisition or merger. However your business is evolving, you need to ask yourself if your existing messaging corresponds to this change.
It’s also important to understand that the process is the same, irrespective of the size of your organisation. Businesses are always changing, and it is important to revisit your VP regularly as part of your annual marketing plan.
3. Your messaging architecture has been formed, what’s next?
Now that you have your VP perfected, you may be wondering how to use it. Many businesses fall short in how they actually communicate their message. Your business’ sentiment must carry forward into everything you do, through all services offered and any supporting content you may create. Marketing assets that can be harmonised around this story show consistency through better communication, which in turn creates trust with customers.
Crucially, it is important to avoid trying to run before you can walk. Jumping straight into a targeted campaign built around your new messaging will fall flat if the rest of your brand can’t support that story.
There are several ways to distil your VP into your marketing assets, but the following examples are often the most obvious and helpful items on the list:
A refreshed website – A website is often your opportunity to make a first impression, and your VP must be conveyed throughout every page.
A separate ‘About us’ section – This will employ the messages of your VP and the story of your business.
A pitch deck/first meeting deck – You need to articulate your message, both to your employees, customers and prospects, in a way they can understand and believe in.
Case studies – Show how your products and services have delivered successful outcomes for your customers, conveyed in a way that aligns with your VP.
Social media presence – Your social media presence is increasingly important. Make sure all of your channels accurately convey your message to a wider audience.
Is it time to get your story straight?
Our Value Proposition Design workshop offers an advanced, collaborative investigation of your business’ story. Using a time-tested methodology, we work with nominated stakeholders from across your business to define your value. Importantly, we’ll help you traverse common pitfalls and land on a positioning statement and extended messaging architecture that sets a foundation for your wider marketing strategy.
Want to know how we do it? Get in touch and we can share (some of) our secrets!
The latest Asgardian to join the ranks, Emily Fellows is our new Marketing Assistant. She's come on board to help support all of our clients, and the wider team, to keep delivering top notch work. Ask her about her love of French Martinis, but don't mention running...