Your Unique Value Proposition – and How to Get There

The fabled elevator pitch – or the distinct, effective, and instant message you can send to communicate your brand’s value: It’s incredibly important to have a good one.

This elevator pitch – or, in marketing terms, your unique value proposition – should help you sell your concept in a quick and memorable way. Your proposition can also help you manage customer value – and make intentional branding choices.

This invaluable marketing tool won’t come overnight. There are several crucial elements of a unique value proposition that you’ll find after lots of analysis of your offerings. You’ll also, likely, experiment with several different versions before stumbling on one that just feels right.

Here’s a quick guide to what a unique value proposition needs, as well as a few steps to get to yours.

The Key Elements of a Unique Value Proposition

If you want your unique value proposition to be successful, it should contain the following elements:

  • Value. Obvious, right? Yet truly essential: If your proposition doesn’t tell your audience what’s in it for them, specifically, they’re going to walk away.
  • Clarity. You only have a second to hook the attention of a prospect, so your value proposition must be very easy to understand.
  • Surprise. To some extent, you want the reaction to your value proposition to stop your audience in their tracks. You want a prospective customer to hear your statement and think – whoa. Really?
  • Solutions. The best value propositions target an ongoing, universal problem and provide a quick, snappy solution.

A Good Unique Value Proposition Isn’t…

…a slogan. It’s easy to get the two confused. A slogan is a very brief phrase (ideally, a few words) that gets your brand image across – i.e.: Honda. The power of dreams. That would be a poor value proposition, because it doesn’t describe quickly what Honda’s product specifically offers to the customer.

…a positioning statement. While this brand tool is similar to a value proposition, a positioning statement usually defines who or what your company is, who your ideal customer is, and your specific relationship. While this is important, your value proposition will be entirely about your customer’s experience.

…a list of features or specifications: Your value proposition is not a place to list numbers. Those are also important – but they’re not catchy, even if your stats are what make you unique.

Understanding what a good value proposition brings to the table (and, crucially, what doesn’t make for a good proposition) can truly help your company sink or swim.


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