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Writing a Business Plan
While it may be tempting to put off, creating a business plan is an essential part of starting your own business. Plans and proposals should be put in a clear format making it easy for potential investors to understand. Because every company has a different goal and product or service to offer, there are business plan templates readily available to help you get on the right track. Many of these templates can be adapted for any company. In general, a business plan writing guide will recommend that the following sections be incorporated into your plan.
The executive summary is the first section that business plans open with, but is often the last section to actually be written as it’s the most difficult to write. The executive summary is a summary of the overall plan that highlights the key points and gives the reader an idea of what lies ahead in the document. It should include areas such as the business opportunity, target market, marketing and sales strategy, competition, the summary of the financial plan, staff members and a summary of how the plan will be implemented. This section needs to be extremely clear, concise and engaging as you don’t want the reader to push your hard work aside.
The company description follows the executive summary and should cover all the details about the company itself. For example, if you are writing a business plan for an internet café, you would want to include the name of the company, where the café would be located, who the main team members involved are and why, how large the company is, who the target market for the internet cafe is, what type of business structure the café is, such as LLC, sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, what the internet café business mission and vision statements are, and what the business’s short-term objectives are.
Services and Products
This is the exciting part of the plan where you get to explain what new and improved services or products you are offering. On top of describing the product or service itself, include in the plan what is currently in the market in this area, what problems there are in this area and how your product is the solution. For example, in a business plan for a food truck, perhaps there are numerous other food trucks in the area, but they are all fast –food style and unhealthy so, you want to introduce fast food that serves only organic and fresh ingredients every day. This is where you can also list your price points and future products or services you anticipate.
The market analysis section will take time to write and research as a lot of effort and research need to go into it. Here is where you have the opportunity to describe what trends are showing up, what the growth rate in this sector looks like, what the current size of this industry is and who your target audience is. A cleaning business plan, for example, may include how this sector has been growing by 10% every year due to an increase in large businesses being built in the city.
Organization and Management
Marketing and sales are the part of the business plan where you explain how you will attract and retain clients. How are you reaching your target customers and what incentives do you offer that will keep them coming back? For a dry cleaner business plan, perhaps if they refer customers, they will get 10% off their next visit. In addition, you may want to explain what needs to be done in order for the business to be profitable. This is a great way of showing that you are conscious about what clear steps need to be taken to make a business successful.
Financial Projections & Appendix
The financial business plan section can be a tricky one to write as it is based on projections. Usually what is included is the short-term projection, which is a year broken down by month and should include start-up permits, equipment, and licenses that are required. This is followed by a three-year projection broken down by year and many often write a five-year projection, but this does not need to be included in the business plan.
The appendix is the last section and contains all the supporting documents and/or required material. This often includes resumes of those involved in the company, letters of reference, product pictures and credit histories. Keep in mind that your business plan is always in development and should be adjusted regularly as your business grows and changes.
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Your Guide to Writing a Business Plan
If you’re starting a new business, then you need an effective plan. Not only does this enable you to plan your company, but it also gives potential clients an insight into how your business works. A business plan is also vital if you want to attract investors or secure a loan from the bank. Drafting a business plan is a complex process, but it doesn’t have to be. This guide will ensure you create a definite plan to impress investors and clients.
When creating your business plan, there are some essential elements you must include. The Executive Summary provides a description of your business, and what you hope to achieve. People usually write at least one page, but leave their Executive Summary until last.
You’ll also need to detail what your business offers and define your target audience. This makes it easier for people to see whether your company has a chance of succeeding. The opportunity section is also an excellent way for you to see what competitors offer and how you can create a USP to stand out from the competition.
Appealing to Investors
Every business that wants growth and prosperity must ensure they promote themselves to potential investors. Business plans aren’t just about what the business is, but who is part of it too. Detail your current team members and explain what they bring to the company. Investors want to know they’re making a wise investment.
Your current finances and financial forecast are also essential aspects of your business plan. Look at your products, how much you’re selling them for and what kind of profit margin you expect to gain. It’s also vital you detail your outgoings and look at how various economic situations could affect your finances.
Writing a Winning Executive Summary
There are problems in every market, and a successful business solves that problem. If you can show how you’ll be able to offer solutions in your business plan, you’ll appeal to investors. Choose your target audience based on research and ensure you show your research. There are many ways to conduct market research including defining SOMs, SAMs and TAMs.
TAM stands for Total Available Market and comprises everyone you want your product to reach. Your Segmented Addressable Market (SAM) is a specific portion of the market you’ll target. This is important because it shows you’re able to direct your product at the right people and not just everyone. Your SOM (Share of the Market) is what you feel you’ll gain with your product.
How to Determine Pricing
Pricing your product is one of the most challenging things you’ll have to do. There are many things to consider, such as how much it’s worth and making sure you don’t charge unrealistically. Many new businesses believe undercharging is the best way to go, but doing this can undermine your company’s authority and cause fewer people to be interested in investing.
Market-based pricing involves looking at your competitors and evaluating their prices. Which company has the most customers? How does their pricing match others? These are all vital aspects you should consider. Remember, customers expect quality and a fair price, so make sure you combine the two.
Investors and banks want to know that you’ve considered what the future will hold for your company. When you write your business plan, be sure to take into account how you see the company growing, what you’ll do to ensure it thrives and that you understand the potential risks. Banks and investors want to know that you can build a business and are aware of the obstacles you’ll have to overcome.
Starting your own business doesn’t have to be difficult. If you ensure you produce a robust business plan, it can be an exciting process. Your business is part of your future, so start by outlining your goals and look forward to seeing results.
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How to Write a Great Value Proposition [7 Top Examples + Template]
Published: April 13, 2023
Your company's value proposition is the core of your competitive advantage. It clearly articulates why someone would want to buy from your company instead of a competitor.
So how do you actually write a value proposition statement that's strong enough to lift conversion rates and sales? In this article, you'll learn the definition of a value proposition, what a value prop isn't, examples of some of the best value props we've seen, and tactics to create amazing value props.
What is a value proposition?
- Value Proposition vs Mission Statement (vs Others)
Elements of a Value Proposition
How to write a value proposition.
- How to Create a Value Proposition Canvas
Value Proposition Templates
Value proposition examples, value proposition canvas examples, tactics to develop an effective value proposition.
- Let's summarize: What makes a good value prop?
A value proposition is a short statement that communicates why buyers should choose your products or services. It's more than just a product or service description — it's the specific solution that your business provides and the promise of value that a customer can expect you to deliver.
Value propositions are one of the most important conversion factors. A great value proposition could be the difference between losing a sale — and closing it.
For that reason, it's important to create one that accurately represents your products and services and makes it clear why you're the best choice. However, writing it from scratch is hard. Download our templates below so you can follow along with the rest of the post.
Free Value Proposition Templates
15 templates to help you brainstorm, write, and promote your value prop.
- Value Proposition Writing Templates
- Value Proposition Canvas Template
- Brand Hierarchy Template
You're all set!
Click this link to access this resource at any time.
Your value proposition is a unique identifier for your business. Without it, buyers won't have a reason to purchase what you sell. They may even choose a competitor simply because that business communicates its value proposition clearly in its marketing campaigns and sales process .
That said, you might think: Isn't my value prop interchangeable with, say, my slogan?
Nope. It's easy to confuse your value proposition with other similar brand assets , such as your mission statement, slogan , or tagline. We break down the differences below.
Value Proposition vs Mission Statement
Your value proposition details what you offer customers and why they should choose you, while a mission statement details your objective as an organization. While the two can have points in common, a value prop is more product- and service-oriented while a mission statement is more goal-oriented.
Here are two examples for HubSpot and our CRM platform:
Value Proposition: "An easy-to-use CRM."
Mission Statement: "To help businesses grow better."
Value Proposition vs Slogan
A slogan is a short, catchy statement that brands use in marketing campaigns to sell a specific product. While your value proposition wouldn't necessarily go in an ad (at least, not usually), a slogan would. The most important thing to note is that a company can have different slogans for different campaigns or products.
Here are two examples from De Beers Group:
Value Proposition: "Exquisite diamonds, world-class designs, breathtaking jewelry."
Slogan: "A diamond is forever."
Value Proposition vs Tagline
A tagline is a short statement that embodies a certain aspect of your brand or business. While a value proposition is more concrete, a tagline can represent a concept or idea that your business stands for. Most businesses have only one tagline that is instantly recognizable and connected to their brand.
Here's an example from Apple:
Value Proposition: "The best experiences. Only on Apple."
Tagline: "Think Different."
Value Proposition vs Mission Statement vs Slogan vs Tagline
Now, let's look at an example of a business that has all four: Nike. Remember that slogans can differ depending on the campaign.
Value Proposition: "Customizable performance or lifestyle sneakers with unique colorways and materials."
Mission Statement: "To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world."
Slogan: "Twice the guts. Double the glory."
Tagline: "Just do it."
TLDR; While your value prop should help differentiate you from the rest of the industry, keep in mind it's not a slogan , tagline, or mission statement. Those types of copy are important accessories to your brand, but your potential customers and employees don't choose one business over the other solely based on these elements.
Your value proposition goes deep into the problems you want to solve for buyers, and what makes your product or service the perfect solution.
Your value proposition will most often appear on your website. While you can include it on marketing campaigns and brochures, the most visible place is your home page and, if you'd like, your product pages.
There are three main elements of a value proposition: the headline, the subheadline, and a visual element.
The headline of your value proposition describes the benefit the customer will receive as a result of making a purchase from your business. The headline can be creative and catchy, but it should be clear and concise, first and foremost.
Subheadline or Paragraph
The subheadline or paragraph should explain in detail what your company offers, who it serves, and why. In this section, you can elaborate on the information in the headline.
In some cases, a video, infographic, or image may convey your value proposition better than words alone can. Enhance your message with these visual elements to capture your audience's attention.
To better visualize these tools, here are a couple templates to follow when formatting a value proposition.
- Identify your customer's main problem.
- Identify all the benefits your product offers.
- Describe what makes these benefits valuable.
- Connect this value to your buyer's problem.
- Differentiate yourself as the preferred provider of this value.
- Use a template to help you brainstorm.
Step 1: Identify your customer's main problem.
While this will require some upfront research, you can get a head start on this aspect of the value proposition by speaking with different members of your team. Customer service reps, marketing specialists, and salespeople can fill in the gaps about what problems your customers are looking to solve by using your product or service.
For example, let's say your business sells tax software on a subscription basis and automated templates are included in the software package. Your ideal customer is looking for an affordable and user-friendly way to access complicated tax documents for their business. In this example, your business's offerings could be the solution they need.
Step 2: Identify all the benefits your products offer.
This step can be as simple as listing out every product you sell and describing its primary benefit. The benefit should be concise and focused on a single customer need.
In our tax software example, you'd list each tax template, explain the benefit it provides, and why a customer would need it.
Step 3: Describe what makes these benefits valuable.
Next, add another sentence that explains why this benefit matters to the customer.
Using the same example above, the value would be that customers have affordable tax documentation at their fingertips — something that would normally cost them thousands of dollars.
Step 4: Connect this value to your buyer's problem.
Next, pair the buyer's problem to the elements that make your product or service valuable. Do they align? If so, you're ready to refine your value proposition to differentiate your offerings from the competition. If they don't align, repeat the steps above until you find a valid buyer need and a viable solution your business offers to meet that need.
There are three templates we think do an excellent job of connecting value to buyer pain points:
Step 5: Differentiate yourself as the preferred provider of this value.
Finally, polish your value proposition to make it unique. Is there a specific customer service offering your business provides that others don't? Do you offer any additional services that other companies charge for? These elements can help differentiate your value proposition from competitors while keeping the focus on the buyer's needs.
Step 6: Use a template to help you brainstorm.
Once you understand the first five steps, you can easily implement them into value proposition templates.
Steve Blank Method
Instead of focusing on the features themselves, Blank saw the need to emphasize the benefits derived from the features in a simple sentence. By following this formula you'll connect the target market and their pain points to the solution:
"We help (X) do (Y) by doing (Z)"
Geoff Moore Method
Moore provides a template that's more specific in identifying the industry categories alongside the benefits customers value. This makes a more clear value proposition formula as follows:
"For [target customer] who [needs or wants X], our [product/service] is [category of industry] that [benefits]"
Harvard Business School Method
According to HBS a value proposition is executed best when it answers the following questions:
- "What is my brand offering?"
- "What job does the customer hire my brand to do?"
- "What companies and products compete with my brand to do this job for the customer?"
- "What sets my brand apart from competitors?"
HubSpot Value Proposition Templates
HubSpot offers 15 free templates to help you brainstorm the perfect value proposition for your brand. Not only can they help you hone in on your business's core values, but they can also give you a boost when working on your actual statement.
Some questions you will ask yourself when using the HubSpot templates include:
- "Why do you do what you do?"
- "How do you do what you do?"
- "What do you do for your customers?"
Download for Free
Now, before you write the statement itself, it's important to create a value proposition canvas.
Taking these three elements into consideration, you'll be able to make your own after you build a value proposition canvas.
Value Proposition Canvas
A value proposition canvas is a visual tool that helps you position your business's product or service around your customers' needs. The goal of the value proposition canvas is to identify how your business provides value within the market. You can use one when introducing a new offer into the market or when enhancing an existing one.
The value proposition canvas is made up of two major components: the customer profile and the value map.
Here's how to make one:
Step 1: Create a customer profile to represent your target buyer.
The customer profile makes up the first half of the value proposition canvas. When performing this exercise, you'll want to start with this section first so that their wants and needs can influence the overall value proposition canvas.
The customer profile consists of three areas:
What is the task your customer needs to complete or the problem they're trying to solve with your product or service? The answer to this question sums up the "customer job" or the purpose of your product or service in the eyes of the customer.
"Expectations" are also referred to as "gains" — in other words, what your customer is hoping to gain from doing business with you. No matter what you sell, your ideal customer will have an expectation of what that product or service will do for them. In this section, you'll use research to explain what your customers expect from you in order to purchase your product.
Customer Pain Points
As your customer completes their "customer job," what pains do they experience? Do they take any risks while they do the customer's job? Do they experience any negative emotions? These pain points should be considered so that you include the most helpful products and services on the value map side of the value proposition canvas.
Step 2: Create a value map for your products and services.
In this section of the value proposition canvas, three specific sectors help describe what the business offers to the customer.
These are features your products or services have that make the customer happy. Think creatively about the elements of happiness your customers experience. Consider their financial and social goals as well as their psychographics .
In the section above, we discussed customer pains. This section will define exactly how your business will help them overcome those pain points.
Products & Services
While this section won't list every single product or service your company offers, it should include the ones that will create the most gain and alleviate the most pains for your customers.
Step 3: Determine value proposition-customer fit.
Once you've completed the value proposition canvas exercise, the next step will be to determine how your value proposition fits within the customer profile. To do this, you'll use a ranking process that prioritizes products and services based on how well they address the customer profile.
All together, your value proposition canvas should look like this:
Next up, let's go over some templates you can use when you're creating your value proposition and publishing it on your website.
We've crafted 15 templates to help you create an amazing value proposition for your brand — and pairing each of them with an example of how they may look for a real business.
This offer has all the tools you need to craft a value proposition that precisely communicates your brand to users and stakeholders, including:
- 10 value proposition writing templates
- 1 value proposition canvas template
- 1 mission statement brainstorm template
- 1 vision statement brainstorm template
- 1 competitive analysis template
- 1 brand hierarchy template
Click here to download these free value proposition templates for your business.
Now that we've reviewed the elements, visual tools, and templates — let's look at some brand examples that effectively identify and satisfy its customer needs.
- HubSpot: An Easy-to-Use CRM
- FedEx: Manage Your Home Deliveries
- LG: State-of-the-art Living Experience
- Subaru: The most adventurous, most reliable, safest, best Subaru Outback ever
- Samsung: Get Ready to Unfold Your World
- Imperfect Foods: Groceries that help you fight food waste
- Hulu: All The TV You Love
Because value propositions are typically internal information and rarely stated publicly, finding a value proposition example to model yours after can be difficult. We've taken the liberty of using the value proposition canvas and applying it to some successful companies that have been recognized by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI).
In these examples, you'll see real-world instances of customer gains and pains aligned with well-known products and services offered by these companies.
1. HubSpot: "An easy-to-use CRM."
Headline: "An easy-to-use CRM."
Subheadline/Paragraph: "HubSpot's CRM platform has all the tools and integrations you need for marketing, sales, content management, and customer service."
Most companies can benefit from using a CRM — even freelance businesses and small family-owned firms. The problem is that most systems are expensive, over-complicated and cobbled together, creating challenges for businesses as they grow.
HubSpot's value proposition aims to target active CRM users who are tired of handling over-complicated systems, and beginners who are intimidated by legacy options. These users want a system that makes growth easier, not harder.
While each product in HubSpot's CRM platform can be used individually, the true benefit comes from using each hub in tandem. Instead of having to deal with incompatible software and productivity tools, you can manage all your marketing, sales, content, and customer service needs in one place. To that end, the product's value proposition emphasizes its ease-of-use and ability to synchronize different teams across the business.
The brand includes an image of a smiling woman to show what it would be like to use the product in your team (hint: it's so easy, it'll make you smile).
2. FedEx: "Manage your Home Deliveries"
Headline: "Manage Your Home Deliveries"
Subheadline/Paragraph: Sending and receiving packages is convenient and safe for individuals who want to ship ideas and innovations across the globe.
If you own a business, shipping and packaging products is likely a significant part of your operations, but it can be a time-consuming, labor-intensive, and plain inconvenient process. If you're a consumer, you've likely experienced driving to a shipping office to get your package after a missed delivery. Both of these are significant pain points for FedEx's target customers.
With FedEx, you can opt to receive notifications about your package's delivery status, provide instructions on how to deliver packages to your home, or even request to pick up at a different location.
Shipping packages with FedEx is just as easy as receiving them. All you have to do is create a shipping label on FedEx's website, choose which shipping service you'd like to use, and then drop your package off. Even if there isn't a FedEx office nearby, you can still drop off at national retailers like Walgreens, Dollar General, OfficeMax, and Walmart.
FedEx's value proposition makes it clear that it will make managing your deliveries much, much easier — whether you're a business or a consumer.
3. LG SIGNATURE: "State-of-the-art Living Experience"
Headline: "State-of-the-art Living Experience"
Subheadline/Paragraph: LG SIGNATURE delivers an innovative product design that creates an exceptional living experience for people who want to achieve a state-of-the-art living experience.
The right home appliances can make your at-home experience easy and hassle-free — or it can quickly create headaches with low power efficiency and outdated features. In its value proposition, LG SIGNATURE targets customers who are willing to spend just a little more on the right appliance in exchange for a comfortable, hassle-free, and luxurious experience.
LG SIGNATURE isn't your typical appliance brand. It doesn't want to sell you a bunch of products you don't need with unnecessary features you won't use. Instead, it's dedicated to crafting premium products that are functional, user-friendly, and aesthetically pleasing.
Even the imagery helps you imagine what your life would be like after purchasing an LG SIGNATURE appliance. Instead of having to replace obsolete appliances every few years, you can enjoy innovative, long lasting products.
4. Subaru: "The most adventurous, most reliable, safest, best Subaru Outback ever."
Headline: "The most adventurous, most reliable, safest, best Subaru Outback ever."
Subheadline/Paragraph: The 2022 Subaru Outback takes drivers to the most adventurous places in style with the most advanced safety technology.
Subaru knows that its target audience uses its Outback SUVs for outdoor adventures. Rather than designing a vehicle solely for utility, Subaru made the 2022 Outback attractive and spacious enough for everyday use as well as reliable and sturdy enough for all terrain and weather conditions.
So in its value proposition, it makes it clear that the Outback will help its drivers go off the road safely and in style. If I were a potential Subaru customer, I'd know exactly what I'm getting from the headline alone. That's why it's so important to think about your wording, because it's likely the first thing potential buyers will see.
5. Samsung: "Get Ready to Unfold Your World"
Headline: "Get Ready to Unfold Your World"
Subheadline/Paragraph: This is everything you'd want in a premium, durable, 5G smartphone. Then we made it unfold — revealing a massive screen so you can watch, work and play like never before.
In its value proposition, Samsung effectively targets its most tech-savvy segment by front-lining its most innovative design to date: a foldable phone that can double as a mini-tablet. Even more, it solves a common pain point for some customers: owning both a tablet and a mobile device can feel unnecessary, so why not get the best of both worlds?
The Galaxy Z Fold4 attracts customers by promising a lightweight, durable smartphone with an ultra powerful processor.
Some of its premium features include hands-free video capabilities, a large screen that's perfect for multitasking, and an advanced camera that's perfect for taking pictures at night. The phone is also crafted with high quality materials that help protect it from water damage, scrapes, and scratches. Plus, its unique design will appeal to anyone who appreciates cutting-edge technology.
6. Imperfect Foods: "Groceries that help you fight food waste"
Headline: "Groceries that help you fight food waste"
Subheadline: "Sustainably sourced, affordable, and conveniently delivered to your door."
Whether you're shopping for an entire family or just yourself, grocery shopping can be a major pain.
Planning out all your meals for the week can be overwhelming and time-consuming, especially if you're trying to ensure no food goes to waste. Even if you do successfully create the perfect shopping list, finding the time to go to the store can also be a challenge.
In its value proposition, Imperfect Foods offers a sustainable alternative to traditional grocery shopping. Unlike other delivery services, Imperfect Foods' grocery selections solely consists of food that would have otherwise been discarded due to minor cosmetic and physical imperfections.
Imperfect Foods' website design further communicates its commitment to reducing food waste with its badge counting how many pounds of food it has saved.
The company also appeals to customers' sustainability concerns by delivering to neighborhoods in one trip to reduce CO2 emissions and only using recycled packaging.
7. Hulu - "All The TV You Love"
Headline: "All The TV You Love"
Subheadline: "What full seasons of exclusively streaming series, current-season episodes, hit movies, Hulu Originals, kids shows, and more."
In July 2022, streaming services outperformed cable and broadcast TV for the first time ever. However, as streaming becomes more and more popular, customers are at risk of getting fatigued by the overwhelming amount of on-demand content to choose from.
Hulu's value proposition aims to target TV consumers who are tired of having to pay for multiple streaming services in order to have access to all the content they want to watch. Each Hulu subscriber gets access to a vast catalog of exclusive series, popular movies, original content, and more.
One of the ways Hulu makes good on its promise of providing "all the TV you love" is by offering subscription bundles with ESPN+ and Disney+, which can save consumers money if they were to subscribe to each service separately. Hulu also has premium network add-ons that give users access to even more content without having to leave the platform.
Samsung's value proposition for its foldable mobile device is smart, well-targeted, and visually stunning.
You've seen some brilliant value proposition examples, now let's review some examples of value proposition canvases.
- HubSpot Value Proposition Canvas
- FedEx Value Proposition Canvas
- LG Value Proposition Canvas
- Subaru Value Proposition Canvas
- Samsung Value Proposition Canvas
- Imperfect Foods Value Proposition Canvas
- Hulu Value Proposition Canvas
1. HubSpot Value Proposition Canvas
- Customer Jobs: HubSpot customers need to effectively enable their sales teams to do their best work while avoiding complicated workflows.
- Gains: Customers want to increase their sales rep productivity levels and boost sales.
- Pains: There are plenty of CRM options, but they're often over complicated and create silos.
- Gain Creators: The HubSpot CRM platform offers streamlined contact management software and productivity tools that will help sales teams do their best work.
- Pain Relievers: The user-friendly interface and unified platform offers ease-of-use and high visibility across systems.
- Products & Services: The HubSpot CRM platform includes Sales Hub, an enterprise-level sales software that's simple yet powerful enough to cater to the needs of businesses small and large.
2. FedEx Value Proposition Canvas
- Customer Jobs: FedEx customers want to share ideas and innovations with other individuals by shipping goods around the world.
- Gains: Customers want a hassle-free way to return online orders and are looking for a safe and secure way to receive their packages.
- Pains: Returning a package at a FedEx shipping center can be inconvenient, and managing home deliveries can be a hassle.
- Gain Creators: Customers can drop off their FedEx packages at places they shop most like Walgreens or Dollar General, and have peace of mind knowing where their package is at all times.
- Pain Relievers: Thousands of FedEx drop-off locations across the country, receive notifications when a package is en route and inform the driver where to leave the package.
- Products & Services: FedEx Drop Box locations make returning packages convenient, and the FedEx Delivery Manager reroutes or reschedules deliveries to work with the customer's schedule.
3. LG Value Proposition Canvas
- Customer Jobs: LG customers want simple, yet innovative technology that helps them achieve a state-of-the-art living experience.
- Gains: Customers have an intuitive and responsive experience with each appliance they interact with inside their homes.
- Pains: There are too many unnecessary buttons and features on appliances that get in the way of a simple living experience.
- Gain Creators: Customers can use technology to enhance their home experience without needing to read a manual.
- Pain Relievers: LG offers a simple design that focuses on the user and their lifestyle.
- Products & Services: LG SIGNATURE delivers an innovative product design that creates an exceptional living experience.
4. Subaru Value Proposition Canvas
- Customer Jobs: Subaru customers want to explore the world's most adventurous places in a reliable and safe vehicle.
- Gains: Customers want to explore the land in a stylish and spacious SUV and look for advanced technological elements in their vehicles that enhance performance and safety.
- Pains: The safest vehicles are not the most visually appealing, and some SUVs aren't equipped for all-weather or all-terrain environments.
- Gain Creators: Subarus have a stylish exterior and interior with ample ground clearance that protects the vehicle against damage from the environment and advanced technology to reduce crashes and make long road trips safer.
- Pain Relievers: Subarus have a rugged blacked-out trim for style and protection, 9.5-inch ground clearance for better stability and performance, and driver-assist technology that helps drivers see better, prevent crashes, manage cruise control, and brake automatically in emergency situations.
- Products & Services: The 2022 Subaru Outback with standard eyesight assist technology, automatic pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-centering.
5. Samsung Value Proposition Canvas
- Customer Jobs: Samsung customers are tech-savvy and follow the latest trends, driven by efficiency and aspirational lifestyles.
- Gains: Customers want an all-in-one way to enjoy media, work productively, and have a fun experience all in the palm of their hands.
- Pains: Common smartphones have size limitations that strain entertainment viewing, gameplay, and work capabilities.
- Gain Creators: Samsung offers a unique and expansive design with capabilities beyond that of an average smartphone, offering the most advanced technology to help customers perform tasks to fulfill work and play.
- Pain Relievers: Samsung provides a smartphone that displays content in tablet-like viewing and displays up to three apps simultaneously.
- Products & Services: The Galaxy Z Fold3 5G folding 6.2-inch smartphone with dynamic AMOLED 2X screens, ultra-thin glass with S Penfold edition, and super-strong lightweight armor aluminum frame.
6. Imperfect Foods Value Proposition Canvas
- Customer Jobs: Imperfect Foods customers want a simple and sustainable option for buying fresh produce.
- Gains: Customers prefer to have their groceries delivered rather than going to the store each week.
- Pains: Produce can go to waste easily, and grocery delivery is expensive.
- Gain Creators: Imperfect Foods sources and delivers food that would have otherwise been wasted because of minor imperfections.
- Pain Relievers: Waste is minimized by delivering area groceries in one trip and recycling packing.
- Products & Services: Imperfect Foods curated food selection includes produce, pantry staples, dairy products, snacks, plant-based foods, meat, and wellness products.
7. Hulu Value Proposition Canvas
- Customer Jobs: Hulu customers are overwhelmed by the amount of video streaming options and want a platform that has all of their favorite shows and movies in one place.
- Gains: Customers primarily watch movies and TV shows via streaming services.
- Pains: There is an abundance of streaming platforms, and customers can easily get overwhelmed with the amount of TV and movie options.
- Gain Creators: Hulu's streaming library features full seasons of exclusive series, popular movies, original content, and more.
- Pain Relievers: The different subscription plans and premium network add-ons allow customers to curate their streaming experience to their tastes and can help minimize the amount of services they subscribe to.
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- Conduct research to determine the value proposition of your competitors.
- Explain the value of your products and services.
- Describe the benefits your ideal customer will experience when they choose your product or service over the competition.
- Develop a unique value proposition for each buyer persona you serve.
- Test your value proposition with your audience using various marketing channels.
1. Conduct research to determine the value proposition of your competitors.
Because your value proposition is the differentiating factor between your business and the competition, it's important to research the propositions of your closest competitors. You can use the value proposition canvas in this post to determine how each company meets the needs of your buyer persona.
Be honest here — it's tempting to focus on the areas in which your competition doesn't excel, but you'll have a better idea of where your product or service fits within the market if you key in on your competitors' strengths.
2. Explain the value of your products and services.
You're probably familiar with outlining the features and benefits of your product and service offerings. This tactic takes that concept a step further. By matching the benefits of your offerings to specific values that your customers have, you'll be able to align what your business provides with what your customers need.
3. Describe the benefits your ideal customer will experience when they choose your product or service over the competition.
When crafting this part of your value proposition, include details about how your product or service will benefit the customer and use examples where you can. Videos, photos, and live demonstrations are all effective ways to illustrate your value proposition because they show the customer exactly what they can expect from your business.
4. Develop a unique value proposition for each buyer persona you serve.
Ideally, you'll be focusing your marketing efforts on a specific target audience. You'll also find that this audience will have different needs based on their buying behaviors. Buyer personas can help you segment your larger audience into groups of customers with similar desires, goals, pain points, and buying behaviors. As a result, you'll need a unique value proposition for each persona. Different products and services you offer may solve certain customer pain points better than others, so developing a value proposition for each persona will better serve each one.
5. Test your value proposition with your audience using various marketing channels.
Each of these tactics will likely be developed internally by your team which means you'll want to validate your work with your target audience. Your value proposition will be communicated through various marketing channels like your website, social media accounts, video, audio, and in person. Test your proposition with members of your audience (both existing customers and non-customers) using each of these channels. Tools like UserTesting can help you streamline this feedback process so that you can implement changes quickly to finalize your value proposition.
We know the makings of a value proposition, so how can you make it a good one? Here's the last three tips we have for you.
What makes a good value proposition?
Your value proposition should aim to address a primary customer need. This limited focus helps keep your value proposition clear and easy to understand. With just one main idea to comprehend, your audience will be able to quickly decide whether or not your product or service will be the best solution for them.
Next, you'll want to communicate the specific outcomes your customer can expect to receive from your product or service. Will they save time? Demonstrate how. Will their workflow become more manageable? Show a before and after workflow diagram. The specific outcomes will be critical components of your value proposition as they'll exemplify exactly how your customers will use your solution to solve their problems.
Points of Differentiation
Not only are your potential customers evaluating your business's offerings based on their own needs, but they're also comparing what you offer against competitors. As a result, your value proposition will need to include detailed points of differentiation. These key points will help customers understand exactly what sets your company apart.
Compose a Remarkable Value Proposition
The factors that influence a potential customer to become a loyal customer are limited. Whether your industry has a lot of opportunities to differentiate (like retail) or virtually no unique identifiers (like dairy), you'll find that a value proposition will help you understand your ideal customer and position your business as the best solution for their needs. Use the tactics, tips, framework, and examples in this post to craft your unique value proposition.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in June 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
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How to Write a Value Proposition (+ 6 Modern Examples)
Leaders often work tirelessly to improve their company’s product or service, thinking that it’s the most valuable role they can play. But for your business to “click” with your target audience, you need to stay just as close to your customers as you do to your offerings.
The details of customers’ needs and wants should be just as familiar to you as the features of your product or the details of the service that you provide. A value proposition serves as the bridge between these two aspects of your work. It’s a mantra that unites the two halves of the whole business.
We’ve demystified the nuts and bolts of how to write a value proposition, complete with examples, so you can ensure that all your hard work manifests in value for your customers every day.
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What is a value proposition?
A value proposition is a simple statement that summarizes why a customer would choose your product or service. It communicates the clearest benefit that customers receive by giving you their business. Every value proposition should speak to a customer’s challenge and make the case for your company as the problem-solver.
A great value proposition may highlight what makes you different from competitors, but it should always focus on how customers define your value . Likewise, conversations around brand strategy and taglines should stem from a value proposition, but they aren’t one and the same.
You may be wondering: Why bother learning how to write a value proposition? It’s like investing in the foundation of a house. You may not see the foundation, but everything you do see — and the long-term safety and security of your home — rest on it having a strong place to start from.
How to write a value proposition: 3 options
If you’re intentional about creating a value proposition, it can help clarify the way forward for your entire company. However, including too many voices early on can water down your intent in an effort to make everyone happy, and, ironically, the results won’t work for anyone.
Rather than get everyone involved, start with a small group of people (no more than three) who can set aside the time to hone a few compelling options.
Here’s how to write a value proposition three different ways, from complex mapping to a simple formula. Start with one or try all three in a workshop to refine your ideas with greater precision.
1. Map out a value proposition canvas
Peter Thomson’s value proposition canvas explores the different components of a company that contribute to a strong value proposition. Thomson believes that a process like this can help team members get to “minimum viable clarity,” which can be whittled down into a one-sentence value proposition.
Thomson calls a value proposition “a crunch point between business strategy and brand strategy,” and he created a model that syncs the two strategies. There are seven areas to explore, each of which takes up a section in the map:
When you explore each section of the canvas, do so from the perspective of the customer. While writing out the benefits of your product, imagine how it increases pleasure or decreases pain for the person using it. Approach the features and the experience that way, too: How do the features make the customer’s life better? How does the product experience make a customer feel?
Next, you’ll dive into the customer’s wants (emotional drivers), needs (rational motivators), and fears (undesired outcomes). Remember that even when consumers are making purchases or investments on behalf of a company, they can still be guided by emotions .
In particular, try to understand whether a product or service affects a buyer’s perceived likelihood of failure, their anxiety, or their reputation at work. You can use Bain & Company’s 30 “ Elements of Value ” and its B2B counterparts as a roadmap for articulating the ways your company gives the customer value within this context.
2. Ask Harvard Business School’s essential questions
Harvard Business School’s Institute for Strategy & Competitiveness simplified how to write a value proposition with just three prompts. Just as Thomson does, Harvard argues that a value proposition serves as the connection between a company and its customers:
“While the value chain focuses internally on operations, the value proposition is the element of strategy that looks outward at customers, at the demand side of the business. Strategy is fundamentally integrative, bringing the demand and supply sides together.”
To create an integrated, cohesive value proposition, start by brainstorming as a group around these three questions:
Which customers are you going to serve?
Which needs are you going to meet?
What relative price will provide acceptable value for customers and acceptable profitability for the customer?
Depending on your product and service, it may make sense for you to start with the first or second question in the list. Together, all three create a triangle that can lead you closer to a succinct value proposition.
As you move through the exercise, consider which one is the primary “leg” of the triangle. For example, is the greatest value that you offer in cost savings? Or is it that you’re offering a better product or experience at a premium?
Also, think about whether your company is expanding the market by meeting a need that hasn’t been realized. Harvard’s experts use a great example — the iPad. Apple created a new demand that hadn’t existed before the technology hit the market.
3. Try the Steve Blank formula to distill your insights
Steve Blank , a former Google employee who runs the Lean Startup Circle , noticed that many startup founders emphasize features instead of benefits when they try to transform more detailed insights into a succinct value proposition. Instead of summarizing how a company offers value to customers, leaders often get stuck in the weeds.
Blank saw the need for a simple formula to transform a brainstorm into a simple sentence. We love distilling more detailed insights with his method:
We help (X) do (Y) by doing (Z).
Use Blank's intuitive template to come up with your own value proposition. Remember that the first thing that comes to mind may be the best. Your gut instinct could be spot on here, and that’s what makes this simple solution so valuable.
Here’s my value proposition for my copywriting business, for example:
I help marketing teams to resonate with their target audiences by communicating with clarity and compassion.
Your local coffee shop may have a value proposition that’s similar to this one:
We help our local customers to feel good and do good by fueling them up with artisanal coffee in a community-focused space.
Although you may have brainstormed as a group with the other two methods, this time, ask team members to complete this exercise individually. Comparing and contrasting answers afterward can yield helpful insights about each person’s priorities.
Most importantly, as you draft your value proposition, use the language your customers use. At Help Scout, we say things like “emails slipping through the cracks,” because that’s what our customers say about the problem we help solve. If you don’t write your value proposition the way your customers would write it, there will be a big gap between what you say and what they hear. When you use their voice, you cut through the noise.
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6 value proposition examples
Beyond grasping how to write a value proposition, it helps to see how a strong statement influences and infuses a company’s strategy. Because value proposition examples aren’t necessarily the same thing as brand copywriting , we don’t have access to the exact words a company uses internally.
However, if a company does a great job situating their value proposition within the market, you can tell because their message resonates far and wide. Here are six modern value proposition examples that will help you to understand how value propositions can help you break into a market or create a new one.
Slack is a collaboration tool for teams with a simple, easy-to-use platform and instant message capability. The platform is equally beloved by enterprise teams and scrappy startups for its ability to keep work flowing, no matter the everyday barriers or the complexity of a project.
Everything that the company does hinges on their value proposition: Slack saves time by tearing down communication and systems silos. Their product aspires to take the pain out of working together online — and maybe even make it fun. That’s something no other product has tried or claimed to do.
Because they’ve built such a powerful value proposition, Slack is perceived as an enjoyable alternative to the dreaded email inbox and other tools. Their approach works. Slack is the fastest-growing SaaS startup ever, and it’s used by 77% of Fortune 500 companies.
Despite this legendary growth, Slack famously said it was a business with a pared-down sales team, which is only possible because of the foundation they set with a formidable value proposition.
2. Bloom & Wild
Bloom & Wild is an online flower delivery company that simplifies the process of ordering and receiving luxury flowers. Aron Gelbard, founder and CEO, explained their value proposition in their 2017 funding announcement: “We’re enabling [our customers) to order flowers and gifts from the palm of their hand with better product, designs and payments.”
Bloom & Wild makes it possible for customers to deliver flowers in under a minute using their smartphone or computer; going from thought to action is almost instantaneous. As Gelbard says, “Our mission is to make sending and receiving flowers a joy, using technology to turn emotions into an action in the simplest and most beautiful way possible.”
The flowers are just as simple to receive. They’re packed in flat boxes so they can be delivered through letterboxes (or mailboxes) so there’s no need for someone to be on hand to receive them, and they’re sent as closed flower buds for a longer bloom.
While many companies deliver flowers, Bloom & Wild differentiates itself by offering a smooth customer experience for everyone, as well as competitive pricing, with significantly cheaper blooms than average.
Bloom & Wild communicates its value proposition so clearly that its customers perform much of the hard task of marketing for them through word-of-mouth referrals.
When Airbnb began to disrupt the hospitality industry, it needed to market to two separate groups: guests who wanted a place to stay and hosts who wanted to rent out their spaces. Their two-in-one value proposition: Travelers benefit from a truly local experience and hosts benefit from extra income.
In their own words, “Airbnb exists to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere, providing healthy travel that is local, authentic, diverse, inclusive and sustainable.”
Their rooms often have more character than hotels, and they’re usually located in neighborhoods people live in. Guests learn from local knowledge shared by hosts and feel at home wherever they go. These different sources of value wrap together into Airbnb’s tagline: Belong Anywhere.
As a business goes through different stages of growth, its value proposition is likely to change, too. Originally marketed as much cheaper than staying in a hotel, Airbnb has now become an experience-driven, mainstream staple with a premium wing called “Airbnb Plus,” with its own value proposition.
The classic Swedish outdoor clothing and equipment company Fjällräven was founded by Åke Nordin in 1960. He designed functional (and warm) products for professional researchers taking expeditions into northern Scandinavia.
Now, the 60-year-old brand is experiencing a resurgence amongst younger generations across Europe and North America. Their core proposition is that they sell high-quality, sustainably made products that balance form and function. Yes, customers look great wearing their backpacks and they can still hike up a mountain in the middle of winter.
Their commitment to sustainable business practices appeals to the same conscious consumers who value the outdoors, which fortifies their value proposition. Fjällräven manufactures many of its own products using its own G-1000 material, as well as its own Greenland Wax, contributing to its value proposition of offering quality and durability.
Because they “craft products for a lifetime of memories,” customers are more than willing to pay their premium prices.
5. Juniper Print Shop
When Jenny Komenda launched her first blog, Little Green Notebook, in 2007, she was a young designer sharing her DIY projects with the world. An entrepreneur at heart, Komenda evolved her skillset and online following into another award-winning blog, Juniper Home, and its beloved counterpart, Juniper Print Shop .
Komenda built a cohesive brand that championed affordable design and spoke to a key value proposition that motivated her customers: helping non-designers create a beautiful home without breaking the bank.
Her content answers this question in thousands of different ways, and the new arm of her business offers a simple fix for finding affordable art — one of the most difficult challenges along the way. She launched a print shop featuring the work of women artists and photographers with simple digital downloads and physical prints that are cost-effective and easy to install.
Juniper’s value proposition comes to life in the details of the print shop — from links to affordable IKEA frames — and Jenny’s one-of-a-kind suggestions (buy a vintage frame, invest in a custom mat).
6. Found My Animal
Found My Animal is a company for rescue dogs and their owners. In 2006, Bethany Obrecht and Anna Conway met by coincidence — they both had rescue dogs named Walter, and they quickly became friends.
Their shared interest in crafts (and a fisherman relative) led the two dog moms to design and create leashes from nautical rope that withstand hundreds of pounds of pull. Each leash has a brass tag with the word “FOUND” written on it in simple font.
The company has since expanded their product lines to include other dog accessories and supplies like dog beds, totes, and toys.
Found My Animal’s value proposition is simple: Support a company that donates a portion of its profits to animal rescue groups by outfitting your own rescue in quality products. The company has given money (and leashes) to over 64 nonprofit organizations that help abandoned or neglected pets, so customers know their purchases are making a difference.
This value proposition is baked into every aspect of Found My Animal, especially their marketing. Their team features rescue dogs in need of homes front and center on their website and their social media accounts. Plus, their social media tag #foundmyanimal brings awareness to animal adoption.
They even launched The Rescue Orange Project: A buy-one-donate-one leash program. For dog owners who are as devoted to rescuing other pups as they are to their own, buying from this company is a no-brainer.
The best value propositions evolve with your customers
Now that you can answer the question “What is a value proposition?” a few different ways, you’re ready to get to work. Even if you already have a value proposition in place, consider carving out the time to revisit it.
As customers and markets change over time, your company should evolve as well. Rather than make assumptions about your community based on their past needs and buying behaviors, create feedback loops so you’re always in the know.
By listening to customers in real time, you set your company up to evolve its value proposition and meet the needs of your community as it grows.
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Liz writes about business, creativity and making meaningful work. Say hello on Twitter or through her website.
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What is a unique value proposition (UVP)?
What is the purpose of a value proposition, how do you write a unique value proposition, 4 examples of great value propositions, create a compelling value proposition, how to create a unique value proposition + examples.
10 min. read
Updated October 27, 2023
If you’re starting your own business you’re probably already thinking about what sets you apart from competitors in your space. Coming up with your unique value proposition (UVP) or unique selling proposition (USP) creates a strong foundation for all your marketing messages and strategies for engaging new customers.
This article is a handy guide that will define what a UVP is, and help you write your own.
Your unique value proposition (UVP) is the promised value customers can expect from your business. It explains what separates your business from your competitors, how your solution solves your customers’ problems, the specific benefits, and why your target customers should choose you.
In a nutshell, your UVP covers:
- How your product or service works
- What makes it valuable
- Why it’s better than the rest
Your UVP should be front and center on your website, and it should be completely free of jargon—it’s like a very short elevator pitch that someone who has never heard of your company before would understand immediately.
Your value proposition is designed to introduce your company’s brand to potential customers. It defines what you stand for, what you do, how you operate, and why you should be chosen over the competition.
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Every competitor in your field is vying for attention. From marketing plans to advertisements, consumers hear a lot of noise. To cut through this clutter and turn your target audience into loyal customers, you need a value proposition that mere mortals can understand easily—and remember. You want your customers to hear your name and think, “oh, that’s the company that does (your unique solution).”
Finding a value proposition takes some time and legwork. A real UVP is more than a clever tagline. For it to be meaningful, you have to know your customer and your business. Plus, you have to understand how your product or service fits into our consumer-driven world.
So while your UVP is probably always in the back of your mind, don’t write it based on what you think is true about your solution and your customers. Do some research and testing so that you are sure.
And for that matter, keep testing. Once you’ve come up with your UVP and put it all over your marketing materials and website’s landing pages, it might be tempting to set it and forget it. Keep testing it over time—the more your business grows, the more you’ll know about your customer’s pain points and how your solution helps them. Here are the five steps needed to develop a value proposition.
1. Define your target market
First, you need to figure out who your customers are. Who will buy (or is buying) your product or service? A lot of first-time business owners want everyone to be a customer; this is a rookie mistake. Marketing to everyone is the opposite of marketing to your target market. If you try to appeal to everyone, your business and product will get lost in the noise. An example of this kind of mistake is a shoe company trying to market to everyone with feet! You’ll waste a lot of time and money that way.
Instead, hone in on exactly who your audience is. Do some market research—both based on your existing customers (if you have them) and other populations you think might be good potential customers. You want to know and understand their pain points—the problems they have that you might be able to solve.
But you’re also interested in their demographic information, income statistics, and family makeup. How old is your target audience ? Are they male or female? What kind of income does your target audience have? Get specific. What does your target audience do on the weekend? What kind of music do they listen to?
You might think these last questions are a bit far-fetched, but you want to create a buyer or user persona of your target audience. A buyer or user persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer—but it’s a very useful tool to help you hone your messaging and who you consider to be a part of your target market.
You can’t create a unique value proposition alone in your basement, either. You have to test it. Run it by a small group of customers, or people you think are in your target market to ensure it resonates with customers you’re trying to reach.
2. Explain why customers should buy from you instead of a competitor
To separate yourself from your competitors, you have to know who they are and what they stand for. Research your competitors inside and out , from their mission statement to the types of employees they have. You can only set yourself apart if you know what’s already been done.
Putting together a competitive matrix can be a helpful way to visualize how you stack up against them. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you don’t have any competition. Every business has competition , even if you’re in a brand new industry. When you’re writing your UVP, see if you can articulate why your customers should buy from you instead of your competitors in ten words or less. If you can’t, keep revising.
3. Define the pain point your product or service solves
Write down how your business or product solves a problem or alleviates a pain point for customers. Can your product do something that other products can’t? Does it save time? Is it more affordable than other products? What about your product or service makes it a must-have for customers—why can’t they live without it?
Take that list and cross off any need pain point that your competitors can claim to address too. Your competitive matrix might be helpful here. Below is an example of how a competitive matrix should look:
This exercise is meant to help you find areas where your business is different than others. Simply having the best product or the best customer service in the market isn’t enough differentiation.
Remember, every business thinks they have the best product. Take some time to figure out how your product meets the needs of your target audience in a way that others can’t.
4. Connect to your company mission and what you stand for
What does your business stand for? It’s a big question, one that takes some time to figure out. Once you have a solid and clear answer, see if your mission overlaps or coincides with the list of things that sets your business apart. Now you’re starting to hone in on your value proposition.
Once you’ve done your digging, write down a few different possible value propositions that fit your business. Again, this isn’t going to be something you whip up in 20 minutes. Write a few down, stew on them for a bit, and refine them. Ask yourself if someone could read your UVP and think it’s talking about another company. If the answer is yes, you have a selling or value proposition, but it’s not unique yet.
Rework it until you have one succinct sentence that makes you stand out from your competitors. What do you want your customers to remember about you when they hear your brand or product name?
5. Craft a single message
Once you’ve defined what you will cover in your value proposition, you need to land on a single core message. Not every pain point or benefit needs to be listed here. You’ve done the research to ensure you are landing on the right message for your audience, the last thing you want to do is overcomplicate communications
Focus on communicating one key value that connects to your customer’s pain point. The goal is to hook their interest so that they want to explore what else you have to offer. If they take that first step, then look for opportunities to elaborate on the additional value you provide.
Additionally, just because you’ve honed in on a core value proposition, doesn’t mean that it can’t change. You may need to make adjustments for sub-sections of your audience, change out keywords for different platforms, and even fully restructure your UVP if it doesn’t resonate.
The key here is to not just write up your UVP and walk away. Look for opportunities to test it directly with your target audience either through interviews, surveys, or even through live testing.
One of the best ways to learn is by example, so let’s take a look at a few businesses that have created unmistakably unique selling propositions.
The Mast Brothers Chocolate
This duo of bearded, lanky brothers creates chocolate bars by hand . Their dedication to their craft alone is unique, but the brothers have infused their love of old-time traditions into their business.
When they need to purchase more cocoa beans, they charter a wooden sailboat to stay true to their pioneer-like roots. Now that’s a unique position you can market.
Dollar Shave Club
This online business sells and ships razors and blades to its audience for a buck. They poke fun at the fancy, vibrating 10-blade razors that are on the market today and encourage men to go back to basics.
But, don’t think that means they’re selling an inferior product. Their slogan is: “Our blades are f***ing great,” a tagline that points to (but isn’t the same as) their selling proposition. Remember, if other companies can also say their product is “great,” you have a catchy tagline, not something that sets you apart from the competition.
Here’s a business that created a value proposition by catering to a very specific audience. Ellusionist is an online store that sells playing cards to magicians.
Some of the decks are marked, others have a vintage appearance, but the variations are meant to build showmanship for its unique target audience.
Palo Alto Software
Shortly after publishing this article, one of our readers asked if we could share our own USP. Bplans is a resource offered by Palo Alto Software, so here’s what Noah Parsons, our chief operating officer, has to say about our UVP:
For Palo Alto Software, our goal is to provide entrepreneurs with the tools, knowledge, and know-how to help them grow faster and better than their competition.
We’re not just in it to make a buck—we actually want to help people succeed in business as much as possible. Our commitment to entrepreneurs is shown in our thousands of pages of free content that helps demystify the complexities of starting and running a business.
We also provide simple yet powerful tools for entrepreneurs so they can focus more on doing what they love and less on trying to build and understand complex reports and spreadsheets.
The process to land on what differentiates your business and resonates with your audience is well worth the effort. Not only will it help you define a compelling value proposition, but it will make it far easier to streamline your focus as a business owner. Everything from developing audience personas to crafting and testing copy, it encourages you to work through the needs of your customer.
If you’re struggling to work through these steps the best thing you can do is revisit your business plan . It should have everything you need including the problem you’re solving, how your business operates, who your ideal customers are, and what your business stands for.
*Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2018. It has been updated for 2021.
See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan
Lisa Furgison is a multimedia journalist with a passion for writing. She holds a graduate degree in mass communications and spent eight years as a television reporter before moving into the freelance world, where she focuses mainly on content creation and social media strategies. Furgison has crisscrossed the U.S. as a reporter, but now calls Key West, Florida home. When she's not conducting interviews or typing away on her laptop, she loves to travel.
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What Is a Value Proposition?
Understanding value propositions, special considerations, frequently asked questions.
- Value Proposition FAQs
- Business Essentials
Value Proposition: How to Write It With Examples
A value proposition in marketing is a concise statement of the benefits that a company is delivering to customers who buy its products or services. It serves as a declaration of intent, both inside the company and in the marketplace.
The term value proposition is believed to have first appeared in a McKinsey & Co. industry research paper in 1988, which defined it as "a clear, simple statement of the benefits, both tangible and intangible, that the company will provide, along with the approximate price it will charge each customer segment for those benefits."
- A company's value proposition tells a customer the number one reason why a product or service is best suited for that particular customer.
- A value proposition should be communicated to customers directly, either via the company's website or other marketing or advertising materials.
- Value propositions can follow different formats, as long as they are "on brand," unique, and specific to the company in question.
- A successful value proposition should be persuasive and help turn a prospect into a paying customer.
Investopedia / NoNo Flores
A value proposition stands as a promise by a company to a customer or market segment . The proposition is an easy-to-understand reason why a customer should buy a product or service from that particular business. A value proposition should clearly explain how a product fills a need, communicate the specifics of its added benefit, and state the reason why it's better than similar products on the market. The ideal value proposition is to-the-point and appeals to a customer's strongest decision-making drivers.
Companies use this statement to target customers who will benefit most from using the company's products, and this helps maintain a company's economic moat . An economic moat is a competitive advantage. The moat analogy—coined by super-investor Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway—states that the wider the moat, the bigger and more resilient the firm is to competition.
A great value proposition demonstrates what a brand has to offer a customer that no other competitor has and how a service or product fulfills a need that no other company is able to fill.
Components of a Value Proposition
A company's value proposition communicates the number one reason why a product or service is best suited for a customer segment. Therefore, it should always be displayed prominently on a company's website and in other consumer touch points. It also must be intuitive, so that a customer can read or hear the value proposition and understand the delivered value without needing further explanation.
Value propositions that stand out tend to make use of a particular structure. A successful value proposition typically has a strong, clear headline that communicates the delivered benefit to the consumer. The headline should be a single memorable sentence, phrase, or even a tagline. It frequently incorporates catchy slogans that become part of successful advertising campaigns .
Often a subheadline will be provided underneath the main headline, expanding on the explanation of the delivered value and giving a specific example of why the product or service is superior to others the consumer has in mind. The subheading can be a short paragraph and is typically between two and three sentences long. The subheading is a way to highlight the key features or benefits of the products and often benefits from the inclusion of bullet points or another means of highlighting standout details.
This kind of structure allows consumers to scan the value proposition quickly and pick up on product features. Added visuals increase the ease of communication between business and consumer. In order to craft a strong value proposition, companies will often conduct market research to determine which messages resonate the best with their customers.
Value propositions can follow different formats as long as they are unique to the company and to the consumers the company services. All effective value propositions are easy to understand and demonstrate specific results for a customer using a product or service. They differentiate a product or service from any competition, avoid overused marketing buzzwords , and communicate value within a short amount of time.
For a value proposition to effectively turn a prospect into a paying customer, it should clearly identify who the customers are, what their main problems are, and how the company's product or service is the ideal solution to help them solve their problem.
What Is the Purpose of a Value Proposition?
A value proposition is meant to convince stakeholders, investors, or customers that a company or its products or services are worthwhile. If the value proposition is weak or unconvincing it may be difficult to attract investment and consumer demand.
What Is an Employee Value Proposition?
An employee value proposition (EVP) applies to the job market. Here, a company that is hiring will try to frame itself as a good place to work, offering not only monetary compensation but also a range of benefits, perks, and a productive environment. In return, the job candidate will need to convince the hiring company that they have the appropriate skills, experience, demeanor, and ambition to succeed.
What Happens if a Value Proposition Fails?
If a company cannot convince others that it has value or that its products or services or valuable, it will lose profitability and access to capital and may ultimately go out of business.
Lanning, Michael J., and Edward G. Michaels. "A business is a value delivery system." McKinsey staff paper No. 41. July, 1988.
CNBC Warren Buffett Archive. " Morning Session - 1995 Meeting ."
Alexander Osterwalder et al. " Value proposition design: How to create products and services customers want. Vol. 2." John Wiley & Sons, 2015.
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How to write an inspiring value proposition (with template and examples)
A value proposition (VP) explains how customers can benefit from purchasing your product. In this declarative statement, you’ll convince your target audience why they should buy your product instead of your competitors’. Read on to learn how to write an inspiring and effective VP.
Every time someone buys your product or service, they’re making a choice. They’re choosing you over your competitors because they’ve decided your product is more valuable. But when two companies offer similar items with similar features, how do customers reach that decision?
That’s where a value proposition comes in. An effective value proposition convinces your target audience why you’re better than the competition. This statement is a way for you to differentiate yourself from others in your market and explain what customers will gain by purchasing from you. In this article, we walk you through how to craft your value proposition to set yourself apart.
What is a value proposition?
A value proposition (VP) convinces customers to buy your product or service by highlighting your product’s value and unique features. A value proposition goes by various other names, including:
Unique selling proposition (USP)
Unique value proposition (UVP)
Regardless of the term you use, the meaning is the same. Your goal should be to develop a succinct statement—often paired with a visual element—that declares how your services are notable and unique.
A company can also have multiple value propositions for different campaigns or to show different areas of value.
The four main types of value propositions include:
Price value: You’re highlighting why your product or service is the most cost efficient option.
Unique product value: You’re highlighting the unique features of your product or service.
Customer ease or convenience: You're highlighting how your product makes your customers’ lives easier.
Customer results: You’re highlighting how your product or service gets customers results.
Value proposition vs. mission statement
You may show your mission statement to others outside of the company, but it’s meant to be your internal “why” statement. The value proposition should be your “why” statement for customers, explaining why they should buy your product.
4 questions of a value proposition
There are a variety of strategies to write your value prop, but all of them harken back to four key questions. If you can answer these questions about your company and the product or service you offer, then you have all the tools you need to write an effective value proposition.
What do you offer? Explain what your product or service is.
Who is your audience? Identify your target audience .
What value do you deliver? Outline the need you’re meeting or the opportunity you’re providing your audience.
What makes you different? Explain the features and benefits that set your product or service apart.
Other tips to consider when crafting your value propositions include:
Be direct with your audience. Clarity is key.
Use your value prop to explain clear results the customer can expect when purchasing your product.
Avoid sales jargon and buzzwords.
Keep it brief.
How to create a value proposition
The tools below will help you dive deeper into the customer experience and get to know your product or service better. Not only will this help you when crafting your value proposition, but it’ll help you in various aspects of your go-to-market strategy .
1. Map your value proposition canvas
The value proposition canvas is a tool where you map out your customer profile and product side by side in order to visualize how they connect. Your potential customers will have needs, expectations, and pain points. Your product should seek to meet these areas.
Jobs to do: Customers use products and services because they have physical, social, and emotional tasks to complete.
Gains or expectations: When searching for a product or service, a customer will have expectations for the product, including things like price point, ease of use, and design quality.
Pain points: Customers won’t buy products if it has certain pain points, including things like high price point, bad customer service, if they are too complex, or of subpar quality.
Products or services: Your product or service should help the customer accomplish a specific task.
Gain creators: Your product should seek to create gains for the customer, such as providing the highest quality product for the lowest price.
Pain relievers: Your product should seek to relieve pains, be easy to use, and reliable.
The value proposition canvas is the best way to see how you’re meeting your customer’s needs with your product. This tool is also useful during product creation because you can map out the customer journey first, then use that information to align your product or service to their needs and expectations.
2. Go deeper with your questions
After you’ve mapped out your value proposition canvas, you’ll have a solid idea of how your product features meet the needs of your customer. But because you can never do too much analysis, here are more questions from Harvard Business School that you can use as you brainstorm possible statements with your team:
Which customers are you going to serve?
Which needs are you going to meet?
What relative price will provide acceptable value and profitability for the customer?
The unique question here is analyzing the price point of your product. HBS explains that price can be an important factor for your value proposition, depending on your target audience and what needs you’re trying to meet. While companies like Apple place more emphasis on product quality and service, other companies like Walmart rely on low prices to bring in business.
3. Use a value proposition template
Many business leaders have created formulas to make value propositioning easier. Once you know your customer and your product value, you can input your information into these formulas and the result will be a succinct and powerful statement to your audience.
Here are a few options from Steve Blank , founder of the Lean startup movement; Geoff Moore , consultant and organizational theorist; and Guy Kawasaki , author and Apple alumni.
Steve Blank’s formula: We help [target customers]do [customer need] by offering [product features and benefits].
Cooper & Vlaskovits’ formula: [customer] with [customer problem]. Our [product] offers [customer solution].
Geoff Moore’s formula: For [your target customer] who [need or opportunity] our [product or service] in [product category] that [product benefit].
An SEO company may use the slogan, “We help others find you.” But when using the above formulas, their value proposition could read something like this:
Example 1: “We help businesses get seen on the SERPs by offering a user-friendly content optimization tool.
Example 2: “Get seen with a content companion that makes SEO simple.”
Example 3: “For businesses who struggle to understand Google algorithms, our user-friendly content optimization tool makes SEO simple so you can rank in the SERPs.”
Use the free value proposition template below for each of these formulas.
Value proposition examples
Here are some examples of companies and their value propositions. Many companies use a version of their value proposition in their tagline, but if you go to their website’s homepage, you’ll learn even more about the value they offer.
Another strategic place for companies to display their value proposition is in the sub-headline on their main landing page. After a short and punchy headline, a sub-headline can be a great place to elaborate on what problem you hope to solve for your customers. Look below.
1. Asana: “Work works better with Asana.”
Here at Asana , our slogan is, “Work works better with Asana.” The goal of our work management software is to make it easier for companies to perform their work processes.
One version of our value proposition is, “Asana helps cross-functional teams overcome their organizational growing pains and ensures that goals, processes, and collaboration can continue to scale.” One thing to note is that you don’t have to stick to a single value proposition as long as you stay consistent with your messaging.
2. Pinterest: “Welcome to visual discovery.”
If you check out Pinterest’s About page, you’ll find a value prop that says, “Welcome to visual discovery.” Their sub-headline expands on the message by tying in the idea-based function of their discovery platform. It says, “When it comes to a great idea, you know it when you see it.”
On the Pinterest homepage, they use visual elements to give you a teaser of how the platform looks once you sign up. It prompts you to scroll down as images appear, tempting you to dive in.
3. Spotify: “Listening is everything.”
Spotify keeps their message simple with three large words displayed across their homepage: ”Listening is everything.” In the sub-headline, they elaborate on what their platform provides by saying, “Millions of songs and podcasts. No credit card needed.”
You can find different versions of their value proposition on other parts of their website. For example, on their Contact page, it says, “Soundtrack your life with Spotify. Subscribe or listen for free.”
Put plans into action with Asana
You must set yourself apart if you want to build a strong customer base. When creating your value proposition, remember to point out the needs of your audience, show what you have to offer, and explain how you’re different.
Use work management software , like Asana, to plan, organize, and execute your value proposition. Incorporate your VP into a larger digital marketing strategy so your brand will have room to grow.
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How to Write a Value Proposition and Why They Are Important For Your Business
Why do you think your customers want to buy something from you?
Today, the business world is more competitive than it has ever been in the past, and from large to small businesses, you need to find a way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. If you can communicate effectively with your customers, you will have an easier time beating the competition, all while developing quality products and services in the process.
If you have an effective value proposition, you can boost your conversion rate, maximize your marketing strategies, and increase your revenue. You need to present the value provided by your company, its products, and its services if you want to get the most out of your marketing activities.
That is why you need to have a strong value proposition example to showcase what you can offer customers. Learn more about the value proposition definition below, and make sure you get the most out of the products and services you have to offer. In this guide, we'll provide some of the best value proposition examples so you can create a strong positioning statement to boost your marketing efforts and attract more leads.
What is a value proposition?
A value proposition is a statement that clearly communicates why your target market can benefit from the product or service you have to offer. What makes your product or service attractive to your target audience? When you put together a value proposition, you need to clearly show what your business does better than any other business on the market. That way, you can show the benefits your products or services add to the lives of your customers, as well as convince businesses to partner with you and employees to work for you. With a strong understanding of the value proposition definition, you can draft one that helps your product or service align with your company’s core values and beliefs.
When you put together a strong value proposition example, there are several criteria that you need to meet. They include:
- Specificity : Your value proposition has to be specific. If you take a look at the customer journey , what are the specific benefits your customer is going to receive by purchasing your products or service? By being specific, you can create marketing campaigns that highlight what your company offers.
- Pain-Focused : If you want to build customer relationships , you need to target a pain point. What are some of the problems that your customers have, and how will your product or service benefit their lives? A value proposition makes it easy to collect data and measure analytics to better serve your customers.
- Exclusivity : What makes your company different from others? Why do you think your target audience should purchase your products and services? What is the competitive advantage that your business has when compared to other businesses in your field? Asking these questions can help you create a value proposition that highlights how your product or service stands out from the competition.
When you put together your customer or employee value proposition, it is important to think about the brand values reflected by your company. If you can find a way to stay on message as you create your own value proposition, you will have an easier time communicating effectively with your target customer. This is not necessarily a catchphrase or brand slogan. It should be a clear statement that can separate your business from the others in your field.
Why should you create a value proposition for your business?
As a business owner, you have countless responsibilities on your plate, which is why you might be wondering why you should spend your time crafting a value proposition. There are several reasons why you should craft a strong value proposition, with benefits including:
- Providing a strong foundation : Your value proposition is going to provide a strong foundation for everything that your company does. You need to make sure that your employees are working toward the same goal, and that goal has to be reflected in the products and services that can benefit your target customer. With a strong value proposition, you will have a firm foundation in place for everything else that your company does.
- Boosting your conversion rate : The next reason why you have to have a strong value proposition is that you can increase your conversion rate with potential customers. You need to maximize your marketing dollars, and having a strong value proposition can help you do that.
- Standing out from the crowd : The business world is more competitive today than it has ever been in the past. You need to find a way to make your company stand out from the crowd, and having a strong value proposition can help you do that.
- Targeting quality over quantity : Even though you probably want to make a customer out of everyone, you need to identify quality leads who are genuinely interested in what your company does. Even though a value proposition can help you attract more potential customers, it can also help you attract better ones.
- Improving teamwork : Finally, a strong value proposition statement can help you improve teamwork within your organization. You need your employees to work together toward one common goal. When there is a value proposition statement in place, your employees will have an easier time understanding how they fit in with the rest of the company
These are a few of the biggest reasons why you need to have a unique value proposition statement within your company. You need to put together a comprehensive value proposition that clearly differentiates your business from the others in your field. This can make a significant difference when you want to turn your leads into paying customers.
How to write a value proposition
If you are wondering how to write a unique value proposition, you need to think carefully about your customer service philosophy . You need to provide the best possible service for your customers and clients, and that should be reflected in your value proposition. There are several steps you should follow to write a great value proposition, which goes as follows:
1. Conduct market research
As you think about how to separate your company from the others in your field, you need to think carefully about how to do market research . You need to take a look at the competition to figure out what is already out there. After all, you need to find a way to convince your target customers to purchase products and services from your business instead of your competitors to drive sales. What do your competitors do, and how can you separate yourself from the crowd? By conducting market research, you can get a better idea of customer behavior and how you can differentiate yourself from the other companies in your industry.
2. Craft a strong headline
Next, you need to craft a strong headline. The best value propositions draw customers in right away. Today, customers have shorter attention spans than they ever did in the past. If you want to convince people to purchase your products and services, you must grab their attention as quickly as possible. Think carefully about the headline you put together, and make sure you grab their attention. You might even want to try out a few headlines on your employees. Collect their feedback, and see what headlines they like. This will make it easier for you to decide which headline to go with to catch the eyes of your target buyer.
3. Understand your customers
You need to think about your target market as well. Who do you think would benefit most from the products and services you have to offer? This refers to gathering your customer's voice. Ideally, you should use the words of your current customers to grab the attention of your future customers. For example, if you were to conduct some research, asking your customers for some feedback on your current products and services, what do you think they would talk about? This is what you should use in your marketing materials as you put together your value proposition. Figure out what your current customers like, highlight it in your value proposition, and use that information to attract future customers.
4. Explain your value
Next, hone in on your brand. Why do you think people should purchase your products and services? What do you stand for? What do you offer that other companies in your industry do not? You need to highlight the value you bring to the table. For example, is your customer service better than the other companies in your industry? Do you have better prices than other companies in your industry? Is there something that sets the quality of your products and services apart from the others in your field? What is the value that you bring to the table?
5. Be specific and clear
If you take a look at a lot of marketing materials shared by other companies, you will probably see a lot of vague statements. If you want your value proposition to make an impact, you need to be specific. Some of the questions you might want to answer include:
- What is the specific product that you are trying to sell right now?
- If someone purchases your product, what are the benefits it will bring?
- Why should a potential customer purchase your product instead of products provided by our competitors?
If you can be as specific as possible, your value proposition will be more effective.
6. Highlight your benefits
Even though it may be tempting to hype up everything that your company does, this is not necessarily going to result in a higher conversion rate. You need to be specific about the benefits that you provide. If you have specific numbers you can point to, that would be even better. Is the product going to last longer than the others on the market? Is it going to help someone save a significant amount of time? Can it address a specific problem, making it a thing of the past? If you can be clear about the benefits your product provides, your value proposition will be even stronger.
7. Include strong visuals
Finally, do not forget to include strong, relevant visuals. There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that is definitely true when it comes to your value proposition. If you have images of your product you can share, you need to include them. If you can include images of someone directly benefiting from the product you provide, that would be even better. If you have text you want to include in the visual, use the text to enhance the picture. You do not want the text to be the focus of the image.
If you can repeat these steps, you can craft a great value proposition for the products and services you have to offer.
Effective value proposition examples
You might be wondering how to craft a unique value proposition for your online store or brick-and-mortar business. There are a few examples from which to choose. Some value proposition examples you might want to draw inspiration from include:
One of the first value proposition examples you should take a look at is Demandwell . If you take a look at the website, you will immediately see what they stand for. Their value proposition is “The Future of SEO for B2B SaaS Marketers.” Then, the website proceeds to talk about how you can drive more demand for specific products and services that you have to offer, and they mentioned that they specialize in search engine optimization.
The home page also has a variety of other features you can explore. There is a call to action that you cannot miss, the headlines are very compelling, and they provide social proof that you can explore to learn more about what the company stands for. Given that the company specializes in B2B marketing, it should come as no surprise that they have a very strong value proposition. This is one example that you might want to consider.
Another example that you might want to check out is called Unbounce . This is a company that specializes in conversion rate optimization, so they also have a very strong value proposition. When you take a look at the home page, you will immediately see that they focus on building, publishing, and testing landing pages without the requirement of an internal IT department. It is obvious what the company is promoting, and they are saying that they are different because you do not require an internal technology department. They are also highlighting a specific pain point, believing that companies are looking for a way to maximize their digital marketing without having to hire technology professionals.
The homepage also clearly explains how they go through their process. The first step is to build a page, the second step is to publish it, and the third step is to test and optimize it. It is not hard to figure out what they do, and they are clearly targeting a specific market. Therefore, this is another unique value proposition example that you might want to emulate yourself.
3. Target Pickup and Delivery
If you are looking for a more general example, you can also take a closer look at Target . This is one of the biggest retail brands in the world, and they do an exceptional job of hooking their customers. If you take a look at their website, regardless of whether you are doing pick-up or delivery, it is clear what they offer. Some of the highlights from the page that you might see include:
- Free shipping
- Next day delivery
- Easy pickup
- Contactless experience
- Save time and money
These are buzzwords that are included in the value proposition to get your attention. Then, they have additional text on the screen that clearly explains the pricing model, why it works, and who it is for. It is difficult for the value proposition for each of their Individual services to be any shorter or clearer. They do not waste your time, they get right to the point, and they are designed to grab your attention as quickly as possible.
These are just a few examples of value propositions that you might want to incorporate into your business model. Do not hesitate to test different types of value propositions to see what works best for your needs. With access to the right tools, you can figure out which value proposition is right for your business.
Incorporate your value propositions into your marketing strategies
Ultimately, these are a few of the most important points that you need to keep in mind regarding your value proposition. Your target market has a shorter attention span than it ever did in the past, and you need to find a way to grab their attention as quickly as possible. With a value proposition, you can clearly explain the benefits of your products and services, focusing on enhancing your brand identity while also generating quality leads. This process can help you expand your footprint in the market.
You might be wondering how you can create the best value proposition for your business. You need to take advantage of all of the tools at your disposal, and that is why you should partner with Mailchimp. Mailchimp provides you with a wide variety of tools that you can use to test various aspects of your digital marketing strategy, including your value proposition. You can figure out what works and what doesn't while saving time during the process. If you want to maximize the value of your go-to-market strategy , you should use Mailchimp tools to craft a strong value proposition that you can incorporate into your digital marketing strategy.
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Step-By-Step Guide To Writing A Unique Value Proposition [10 Examples]
Crafting an Effective Value Proposition: 8 Winning Examples (2024)
Discover the secret weapon of successful businesses - a compelling value proposition. Think of it as a business’s North Star, guiding customers through the labyrinth of the marketplace towards their product or service.
Your companies value proposition distills the unique blend of benefits and features that sets a business apart from its competition, a beacon that signals, “Here’s why you should choose us!”
Yet, a study shows that only 64% of businesses have developed their value propositions. Are you part of the 36% that haven’t? Or perhaps you’re wondering how to refine your existing one?
This guide will equip you with the understanding and tools necessary to craft a value proposition that not only resonates with your customers but also gives you a competitive edge.
What you will learn in this post:
Understand your target audience and company values to craft a value proposition that accurately reflects the soul of your business, and value delivered to customers.
Utilize visual tools like value proposition canvas and customer profile to differentiate from competitors, showcase capabilities, identify customer needs, wants and pain points.
Review 8 winning proposition examples in various industries for inspiration & regularly test & refine value propositions for relevance & effectiveness.
Understanding the Value Proposition
A value proposition is the heartbeat of a business. A top proposition expresses a simple sentence with a clear headline with exact words outlining how the value your company brings to the table addresses pain relievers for customers.
It’s a succinct explanation of a company’s identity, core values, advantages, and distinguishing features. It’s unique selling proposition is not just about what you sell, but the unique way you offer it.
Your companies value prop is about painting a picture of your own company's product that resonates with your target audience and leaves an indelible mark in their minds.
But why is a value proposition so essential? Imagine a customer standing at a crossroads, your product or service on one side and your competitors on the other. Your value proposition is the signpost that directs them towards you.
It provides a comprehensive understanding of the target market’s requirements, desires, and apprehensions, and how your product or service can address them.
The journey towards a compelling value proposition begins with understanding your target audience, identifying your company values, and pinpointing what makes you unique. It’s the compass that guides your marketing efforts and forms the foundation of your business strategy.
So why not embark on this journey and craft a value proposition that truly reflects the soul of your business?
Key Components of a Great Value Proposition
Crafting a great value proposition is like creating a masterpiece. It requires some essential elements, each playing a crucial role in the final outcome. At its core, an effective value proposition should be clear, concise, customer-oriented, and emphasize distinct advantages and solutions.
In fact, the best value propositions often possess these qualities, which is hard to realize until your company starts to test your value proposition in net new sales conversations
Clarity is the canvas upon which your masterpiece is created. It helps communicate the message effectively to the target customer, ensuring that they understand exactly what you offer and why it’s valuable. A value proposition should be concise, ideally expressed in two to three sentences.
Think of it as a tweet that encapsulates the essence of your business.
A customer-centric approach is the paint that brings your canvas to life. It ensures that your value proposition is based on how customers perceive the value of the products and services offered. Lastly, highlighting specific points of differentiation is the finishing touch.
It assists potential customers in understanding what makes a company distinct from its rivals. It’s about showcasing your unique selling points, creating an image that lingers in the minds of your customers.
The Value Proposition Canvas
Now that we’ve understood what a value proposition is and its key components, let’s dive into a tool that can help you craft one - the Value Proposition Canvas.
This is a visual tool designed to assist businesses in aligning their offering with the needs of their ideal customer profile, effectively creating a whole proposition makes a strong value prop. It comprises seven areas of exploration, each offering a unique perspective on your offering.
Let’s break it down into its three main components: Customer Profile, Value Map, and Assessing the Fit.
Our exploration of the Value Proposition Canvas starts with the Customer Profile. This is an essential step as it outlines customer preferences and behavior. This is where we delve into the minds of our target customers or audience.
Effective customer profiles are all about understanding their needs, wants, and pain points, the tasks or problems that they seek to address through the utilization of a product or service. This is the customer’s job, the reason they are looking for a solution.
The Customer Profile also identifies the customer’s pain points - the negative experiences, risks, or emotions they may face while trying to fulfill their job. It’s important to take into account customer pains, their emotional drivers, rational motivators, and undesired outcomes.
By gaining a deep understanding of the customer’s wants, needs, and fears, you can craft a value proposition that truly resonates with them.
The next step in our journey is the Value Map. This tool outlines the distinctive advantages and attributes of your offering. It’s like a treasure map, guiding you towards the unique benefits that your offering can provide.
These benefits, known as gain creators, are the key features, that provide customer gains and satisfaction. This is where you can get competitive advantage and truly differentiate yourself from the competition.
In essence, the Value Map is the reflection of your business’s capabilities. It’s about showcasing what you can offer to the customers, how your products and services can enhance their lives, and how you can solve their problems. It’s about painting a vivid picture of the many value propositions that you bring to the table.
Assessing the Fit
The final step in our journey through the Value Proposition Canvas is Assessing the Fit. This is where we ensure that our value proposition addresses customer needs and provides an edge over competitors.
It’s about making sure that the puzzle pieces fit together perfectly, that our offering aligns with what our customers want and need.
Assessing the Fit also involves ranking your products and services according to their alignment with the customer profile. This can help you prioritize your offerings and marketing strategies to ensure that you’re focusing on the ones that provide the most value to your customers.
After all, a value proposition is only effective if it resonates with your target audience.
Crafting Your Unique Value Proposition
Now that we’ve explored the Value Proposition Canvas, it’s time to get our hands dirty and start crafting our unique value proposition. This isn’t just about using catchy slogans and putting together a catchy slogan or a marketing tagline.
The objective is geared towards creating a whole positioning statement, that powerfully conveys the unique benefits and solutions that your product or service offers.
This process begins with researching your target audience. It’s about delving deep into their needs, aspirations, challenges, buying behaviors, and purchasing habits.
Once you’ve collected this data, the next step is to analyze your competitors. Identify the key differences in your offerings and recognize the advantages your product or service can provide that set you apart from them.
But crafting a unique value proposition isn’t a one-time task. It’s an ongoing process that involves incorporating the customer’s voice, ensuring that there’s no discrepancy between what is stated and what is understood.
Remember, a unique value proposition can provide a competitive advantage, but only if it resonates with your niche customers within your companies total addressable market.
Winning Value Proposition Examples
To help you understand and apply the principles we’ve discussed so far, let’s look at some of the best value proposition examples from real-world companies, as well as other value proposition canvas examples.
These are eight companies from different industries, each with a winning value proposition that effectively communicates their unique benefits and solutions.
Let’s see what lessons we can learn from these best-in-class proposition examples .
Example 1: tesla.
Tesla, the renowned electric vehicle and clean energy company, has a compelling value proposition centered around innovation, sustainability, and superior performance. In an industry dominated by traditional fuel-powered vehicles, Tesla’s commitment to electric technology sets it apart.
Tesla’s value proposition is a powerful and simple statement of its mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
Tesla is not just about selling electric vehicles; it’s about offering a solution to one of the world’s most pressing problems - climate change. This compelling message resonates with environmentally conscious consumers, helping Tesla carve out a unique position in the crowded automobile market.
Example 2: Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime, a subscription service offered by the e-commerce giant Amazon, focuses its value proposition on swift delivery, competitive prices, and an extensive selection of products and services. It offers the convenience of shopping from the comfort of your home with the added benefit of fast shipping and exclusive content.
In an online marketplace crowded with retailers, Amazon Prime differentiates itself by providing a seamless shopping experience. From same-day delivery in certain areas to exclusive access to movies, TV shows, music, books, and other content, Amazon Prime’s value proposition caters to the diverse needs of its subscribers.
It’s not just about marketing campaigns selling products; it’s about customer jobs and providing products and services customers need, as well as services customers can rely on to enhance their lifestyle.
Example 3: Spotify
In the world of music streaming services, Spotify stands out with its value proposition of providing personalized music streaming experiences and an extensive library of songs and podcasts. It’s not just about offering access to music; it’s about curating a unique listening experience for each user.
Spotify’s value proposition is centered around accessibility, customization, and performance. It offers a comprehensive library of songs, personalized playlists, and a user-friendly interface to ensure a unique music streaming experience for its users. It’s about understanding the listener’s tastes, moods, and preferences, and delivering a service that resonates with them.
Example 4: Mailchimp
Mailchimp, a marketing automation platform and an email marketing service, has a strong value proposition, that revolves around convenience, accessibility, and risk reduction. It offers a simple to use platform with email templates and collaboration options such as multi-user accounts, making it an attractive choice for businesses of all sizes.
By assisting customers in understanding how to craft more compelling emails, Mailchimp assists users in strengthening relationships and increasing revenue. This focus on customer success is a key component of their value proposition, demonstrating their commitment to helping customers succeed.
Example 5: Peloton
Peloton, a fitness technology company, strives to provide its members with an accessible and affordable fitness program, while bringing the convenience of boutique fitness classes into people’s homes. Its value proposition is about offering a unique at-home fitness experience that includes both live and on-demand classes.
In addition to its innovative fitness technology, Peloton fosters a sense of community among its users. It encourages users to engage with one another through their classes, thus fostering a sense of community and motivation. This holistic approach to fitness sets Peloton apart from other fitness technology companies.
Example 6: Warby Parker
Warby Parker, an online retailer of prescription glasses and sunglasses, has a value proposition that focuses on providing fashionable, high-quality eyewear at an accessible price. It disrupts the traditional eyewear industry by offering direct sales to the consumer, thereby allowing them to offer competitive prices.
In addition to its affordable pricing, Warby Parker is dedicated to making a positive impact on the world through various social initiatives.
For every pair of glasses purchased, they donate a pair to someone in need. This commitment to social responsibility is a key component of their value proposition, showing that they’re not just selling glasses, but also making a difference.
Example 7: Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club, a company that delivers razors and other grooming products by mail, has a value proposition that focuses on delivering high-quality products at an economical price, along with the convenience of doorstep delivery.
It’s about making the time consuming task of buying razors and grooming products as easy and hassle-free as possible.
In addition to its affordable pricing and convenient delivery, Dollar Shave Club also offers a subscription model. Customers can enjoy the convenience of having their products delivered directly to their doorstep on a regular basis. This commitment to customer convenience sets Dollar Shave Club apart from traditional retailers.
Example 8: Zoom
Zoom, a video conferencing software company, offers a dependable and superior video conferencing platform with user-friendly features, cross-platform integrations, and adjustable pricing plans tailored to individuals, small businesses, and large enterprises.
It's value proposition revolves around maximizing the potential of its users by providing a reliable and efficient communication solution.
In a market saturated with communication tools, Zoom differentiates itself by addressing common pain points such as inconsistent experiences, difficult platforms, and hidden pricing.
This approach provides a versatile and reliable solution that caters to the diverse needs of its users, from individuals to large enterprises. This focus on user experience is a key component of Zoom’s value proposition, demonstrating their commitment to delivering the right value proposition to their users.
Testing and Refining Your Value Proposition
Once you’ve crafted your value proposition, the journey isn’t over. It’s important to continuously test and refine it to ensure its relevance and effectiveness.
After all, your value proposition is not set in stone. It should evolve as your business grows, as market conditions change, and as you gain a deeper understanding of your customers.
There are several methods you can use to test your company's value proposition and evaluate its effectiveness. These include the five-second test, where you determine if people can accurately understand your site and value proposition and answer questions only after a five-second exposure, and message testing, where you gauge customer perception of your product pages value proposition by presenting it to the target audience.
Tools such as UserTesting and Wynter can streamline the feedback process for assessing the effectiveness of your company's compelling value proposition.
Unique Value Proposition Summary
In this journey through the world of value propositions, we’ve explored what a value proposition is, its key components, how to craft one using the Value Proposition Canvas, and some real-world examples of winning value propositions.
We’ve seen how a compelling value proposition can set a business apart from most companies its competition and resonate with its target audience.
We’ve also emphasized the importance of testing and refining your value proposition to ensure its relevance and effectiveness. As you embark on the journey of crafting your own value proposition, remember this: a value proposition is more than just a catchy slogan or a marketing tagline.
It’s the heartbeat of your business, the unique blend of benefits and features that sets you apart from the competition, and the beacon that signals to your customers, “Here’s why you should choose us!”
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the 3 elements of a successful value proposition.
A successful value proposition should offer customers a unique solution, demonstrate tangible benefits, and showcase a clear understanding of customer needs.
It should be tailored to the customer’s specific needs and provide ideal customer a compelling reason to choose your product or service over the competition. It should also be easy to understand and communicate, so that customers can quickly grasp the concepts.
What is a good value proposition?
A good value proposition articulates why a customer should invest their time and finances into a company, how the company will solve a problem for them and what unique offering the business offers or specific benefits it has to offer compared to competitors.
It also demonstrates how it can fulfill a need that no other company is able to fill.
What is value proposition with an example?
DuckDuckGo’s value proposition is protecting users’ personal information while Death Wish Coffee offers its customers “the world’s strongest coffee”. These offerings set them apart from their competitors and create a strong, memorable impression.
Both companies have found success by offering something unique that resonates with their target audience. DuckDuckGo has become a popular search engine for those who value privacy, while Death Wish Coffee has become a go-to for those who value privacy.
What is the Value Proposition Canvas?
The Value Proposition Canvas is a visual tool that helps businesses align their products and services with customer needs. It’s a simple yet powerful way to identify what customers really want.
How can I test and refine my value proposition?
Test and refine your value proposition using five-second tests and message testing tools such as UserTesting and Wynter. Utilize the feedback process to evaluate the effectiveness of your value proposition.
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How to Create an Effective Value Proposition
- 28 Jul 2020
Starting a business comes with many unknowns, but the value of your brand shouldn't be one of them.
Before launching a venture, all entrepreneurs should determine what market need their product or service fulfills, and what separates their offering from other available options. Without this differentiation and definition of opportunity, a new business isn't likely to succeed.
To communicate the need your product fills and its differentiating factors, you need to create an effective value proposition.
Before diving into how to craft yours, here's a look at what a value proposition is and why it's important for your business.
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What Is a Value Proposition?
A value proposition is a statement that conveys what a brand does and how it differs from competitors. It's typically developed as part of a broader marketing strategy and no more than a few sentences long. The initial proposition can be bolstered with statistics and facts that prove the brand's stated value.
Having a value proposition is important because it clearly and concisely communicates what customers can gain from selecting your brand over that of your competitors. This statement can be used in several ways, including:
- On your company's website to help convert potential leads into customers
- When pitching your company to investors
- As an answer to the question, "So, what exactly does your company do?"
As an entrepreneur, it's your job to be your organization's number one advocate and garner the support of others. A short, clear value proposition can stick in the minds of investors, potential customers, friends, and relatives, ensuring your brand's value isn't lost in translation.
To begin crafting your brand's value proposition, start with an understanding of the jobs to be done theory.
Related: 6 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Business
Understanding Your Customers' Jobs to Be Done
The jobs to be done theory was developed by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen. It asserts that customers "hire" products and services to get "jobs" done, rather than purchasing them based on their attributes and buying behaviors.
"A 'job to be done' is a problem or opportunity that somebody is trying to solve," Christensen says in the online course Disruptive Strategy . "We call it a 'job' because it needs to be done, and we hire people or products to get jobs done."
One example of a successful brand that's used this framework is Warby Parker , founded in 2010 by Neil Blumenthal, Dave Gilboa, Andy Hunt, and Jeff Raider.
The eyeglass company got its start when one of the founders lost his glasses on a backpacking trip. Unable to swing the steep price of a new pair, he spent the next semester " squinting and complaining " to three of his friends, who realized they had been in similar situations.
"We were amazed at how hard it was to find a pair of great frames that didn't leave our wallets bare," Warby Parker states on its website . "Every idea starts with a problem. Ours was simple: Glasses are too expensive."
This statement describes the job to be done discovered by Warby Parker's founders. They realized people had a need to purchase affordable eyewear and, after some research, found there weren't many options in the market.
"Understanding that the same company owned LensCrafters and Pearle Vision, Ray-Ban and Oakley, and the licenses for Chanel and Prada prescription frames and sunglasses—all of a sudden, it made sense to me why glasses were so expensive," Gilboa explains in an interview with Forbes .
The team decided to take things one step further by adding a social justice component to their business model. For every pair of eyeglasses purchased, Warby Parker donates a pair to someone in need.
"There's nothing complicated about it," the company states on its website . "Good eyewear, good outcome."
This satisfies another job to be done: providing customers with a convenient means of helping others. This dual-pronged jobs to be done framework proved to be a success, as the team hit its first-year sales goal in just three weeks .
Warby Parker continues to build its value around jobs to be done and can expect its customers' needs to "purchase affordable eyewear" and "help others in a convenient way" to endure.
"Because a job to be done remains stable over time, it provides a North Star in innovation," Christensen says.
When crafting your brand's value proposition, think about the job to be done it addresses. How does its value center on a persisting need you can fill in a unique way? It's this positioning that can allow your brand to provide the same value for customers as the market advances.
Related: Jobs to Be Done: 4 Real-World Examples
Creating a Value Proposition
You can use the jobs to be done framework as a starting point to craft your brand's value proposition.
- What is my brand offering?
- What job does the customer hire my brand to do?
- What companies and products compete with my brand to do this job for the customer?
- What sets my brand apart from those competitors?
For example, Warby Parker's founders could answer these questions as follows:
- Warby Parker offers affordable designer eyewear, including contacts.
- Customers hire Warby Parker to provide high-quality eyewear at affordable prices and give back to the community in a convenient way.
- All other eyewear brands compete with Warby Parker.
- Warby Parker's commitment to giving back to the community and its affordable prices set it apart from competitors.
Next, summarize your points in a clear, concise value proposition. Continuing the example above, Warby Parker's value proposition, as published on its home page , is:
“Buying eyewear should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket. Glasses, sunglasses, and contacts—we’ve got your eyes covered.”
This value proposition is reinforced throughout the company's website, along with its stated commitment to social justice :
“Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.”
To ensure your value proposition is effective, consider running it by a few people who are unfamiliar with your business. If confusion arises, edit your statement to address those points.
Once you have a value proposition you're proud of, make it known. Publish it on your website, incorporate it into your marketing materials, and memorize it for sharing during networking events, pitch opportunities, and dinner conversations.
Related: 3 Disruptive Strategy Skills For Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders
Setting Yourself Up for Success
By positioning your brand as a solution to a job to be done, you can set your company up for success. Creating a value proposition is a reflective exercise that prompts you to take stock of the need your brand fills, who your competitors are, and how you provide a different experience from other products and services.
Condensing these reflections into a succinct value proposition can enable you to convert leads into customers, effectively pitch to investors, and communicate the value of your brand at scale.
Do you want to craft winning, innovative strategies? Explore Disruptive Strategy , one of our online entrepreneurship and innovation courses . If you aren't sure which course is the right fit, download our free course flowchart to determine which best aligns with your goals.
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Article • 6 min read
Creating a Value Proposition
Communicating the benefits of your proposition simply and clearly.
By the Mind Tools Content Team
Imagine a world where everyone is in sales.
Well, in actual fact, everyone is to some extent! Whether you're trying to sell your holiday ideas to your spouse, or you're pitching a new project to your boss, it's all selling, and, whatever your offer (product, idea, project or job), it's important to have a really strong value proposition.
What Is a Value Proposition?
A value proposition is a short statement that clearly communicates the benefits that your potential client gets by using your product, service or idea. It "boils down" all the complexity of your sales pitch into something that your client can easily grasp and remember.
It's not enough just to describe the features or capabilities of your offer, your statement needs to be very specific. Your value proposition must focus closely on what your customers really want and value. Do they want to solve problems; to improve an existing solution; to have a better life; build a better business; do more, better, faster...?
A value proposition is a useful technique that has a much wider application than just marketing your products, too. Whatever you are "selling" and to whoever you're selling it, a value proposition is useful, if not essential. Whether your customers are external clients, employees, co-workers, or even your family, the idea is to help them see the specific value that your offer brings to them. And by doing so, you will grab their attention in such a way that they know: "Yes, that's right for me."
Creating a Great Value Proposition
When your customer asks: "Why should I buy this specific product or idea?" your value proposition must answer this, in a compelling way. The trick to creating a good value proposition is to know your product or idea well, know how it compares with those of your competitors and, very importantly, to know your audience's wants and needs.
Your value proposition can be created step-by-step, by answering a series of questions. Once you answer these, you have the ingredients to create a value proposition that fully answers your customer's question: "Why should I buy this specific product or idea?"
Step One: Know Your Customer
Start by putting yourself in the customer's shoes. Do this by asking yourself the following:
- Who are they? What do they do and need?
- What problems do they need to solve?
- What improvements are they looking for?
- What do they value?
Tip: If you don't know, ask!
It's easy to try to second guess what your customers want. And very easy to get it wrong. So do some market research. This could be a simple matter of asking customers directly, or of organizing a focus group or survey.
Market research is not just for external customers, it works for other "markets," too. Depending on your product or idea, your market could be employees, colleagues or even your spouse.
Step Two: Know Your Product, Service or Idea
From your customer viewpoint, answer the following questions:
- How does the product, service or idea solve a particular problem or offer improvement?
- What value and hard results does it offer the customer?
Tip: Include numbers and percentages
To grab your customer's attention even faster incorporate hard facts, such as percentages and numbers, in your value proposition. How much will your customer gain, save or improve? How much more efficient will they become? How much safer, smarter, faster, brighter will the solution be?
Step Three: Know Your Competitors
Keep on thinking from the perspective of your customer, and ask:
- How does your product or idea create more value than competing ones?
This can be quite difficult. See our articles on USP Analysis , Core Competence Analysis and SWOT Analysis for useful tools for doing this.
Step Four: Distill the Customer-Oriented Proposition
The final step is to pull all of the information you have gathered so far together and answer, in two or three sentence: "Why should I buy this specific product or idea?"
Try writing from the customer viewpoint by completing the following, (and don't forget to include the numbers and percentages that matter!). Formulate your value proposition by starting each sentence with the following:
- "I want to buy this product or idea because it will..."
- "The things I value most about the offer are..."
- "It is better than competing products or ideas because..."
Step Five: Pull It All Together
Now, turn your customer's answer from Step Four into a value proposition statement.
Example of a Value Proposition
Here's a simple example of a value proposition. Let's say that you sell lawn mowers, and your customer is someone with a large backyard.
Your customer is a businessman with quite a large house, who likes the "meditative feeling" of cutting his own lawn, but gets bored by the job when it takes too long.
He's looking for a good quality of cut, and for the job to be done quickly and enjoyably.
Step Two: Know Your Product or Idea
The product is a ride-on mower with a 25 horsepower (powerful) engine and 45 inch (wide) cutting blades.
The mower goes faster and cuts wider than competitors' products.
"Our mower cuts your grass in 50 percent of the time of "big brand" mowers in its class. And it leaves your lawn looking beautiful, too!"
If you haven't already looked at our USP Analysis article, do so now – it will show you how, with a little research, you can identify how your product or service is unique. It's also worth understanding the various strategic positioning options that will underpin your value statement. Our article on Porter's Generic Strategies explains these.
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