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Writing a Value Proposition (+6 Modern Examples)

image of Writing a Value Proposition

Leaders believe improving their company’s product or service is their most important role. However, it would help if you remained as close to your customers as you are to your products for your business to “click” with them.

You should know customers’ needs and wants and your product or service. Value propositions connect these two aspects of your work. It’s the business’s mantra.

We’ve broken down how to write a value proposition for Business Model.

Definite value proposition.

A simple value proposition explains why customers should buy your product or service. It conveys the greatest customer benefit. Every value proposition should address a customer’s problem and position your company as the solution.

A great value proposition should always focus on how customers define your value. Brand strategy and taglines should also start with a value proposition, but they are different.

Why learn value proposition writing? Investing in a house’s foundation. Everything you see—and your home’s long-term safety and security—depends on a strong foundation.

Three ways to write a value proposition

Creating a value proposition intentionally can help your company move forward. However, including too many voices early on can water down your intent to please everyone, which ironically will only work for some.

Instead of involving everyone, start with a small group (no more than three) who can dedicate time to hone a few compelling options.

Three ways to write a value proposition, from complex mapping to simple formula. Try one or all three in a workshop to sharpen your ideas.

1. Value proposition canvas

Peter Thomson’s value proposition canvas examines a company’s value proposition components. Thomson believes this process can help team members reach “minimum viable clarity” and a one-sentence value proposition.

There are seven map sections to explore:

value proposition canvas

Explore each canvas section as a customer. Imagine how your product makes people feel better while writing about its benefits. How does the experience improve the customer’s life? How do customers feel about the product?

You’ll then examine the customer’s wants, needs, and fears. Remember that emotions can still influence consumers when making company purchases or investments.

Determine if a product or service affects a buyer’s anxiety, perceived likelihood of failure, or work reputation. Bain & Company’s 30 “Elements of Value” and B2B counterparts can help you explain how your company adds value to customers.

2. Harvard Business School’s essential questions

The Harvard Business School Institute for Strategy & Competitiveness simplified value proposition writing with three prompts. Harvard, like Thomson, believes a value proposition connects a company to its customers:

The value proposition looks outward at customers and the demand side of the business, while the value chain focuses internally on operations. The strategy integrates demand and supply.”

Start by brainstorming these three questions as a group:

Who are your clients?

Which needs will you meet?

What relative price gives customers value and profits?

Start with the first or second question depending on your product or service. All three form a triangle that can help you define a value proposition.

Choose the triangle’s main “leg” as you go. Is cost savings your greatest value? Are you charging more for a better product or experience?

Consider whether your company fills an unmet need to expand the market. Harvard experts use the iPad. Apple’s technology created new demand.

3. Distill your insights using the Steve Blank formula.

The Lean Startup Circle’s former Google employee Steve Blank noticed that many startup founders focus on features rather than benefits when summarizing more detailed insights. Leaders often must catch up on the details rather than summarize customer value.

Blank needed a simple formula to turn a brainstorm into a sentence. We love his method for extracting deeper insights:

(Z) helps (X) do (Y).

Create a value proposition using Blank’s simple template. Remember that the first idea may be best. This simple solution is valuable because your instinct may be right.

My copywriting company’s value proposition:

Clarity and compassion help marketing teams connect with their audiences.

Your local coffee shop may have a similar value proposition:

Artisanal coffee in a community-focused space fuels our local customers to feel good and do good.

This time, have team members brainstorm individually. After answering, comparing answers can reveal priorities.

Most importantly, write your value proposition in customer language. Our customers call the problem we solve “emails slipping through the cracks,” so we say it too. Your value proposition will be misunderstood if you don’t write it like your customers would. Voices cut through the noise.

6 value proposition examples

Understanding how a strong value proposition affects a company’s strategy helps write one. We can’t see a company’s internal language because value proposition examples aren’t brand copywriting.

If a company successfully positions its value proposition in the market, its message spreads. Six modern examples demonstrate how value propositions can help you enter or create a market.

1. Slack

Slack is an easy-to-use team collaboration tool with instant messaging. Enterprise teams and scrappy startups love the platform because it keeps work flowing regardless of obstacles or project complexity.

Slack saves time by breaking communication and systems silos. Their product aims to make online collaboration easier and more fun. That’s unique.

Slack is seen as a fun alternative to email and other tools due to its strong value proposition. They succeed. 77% of Fortune 500 companies use Slack, the fastest-growing SaaS startup.

2. Bloom & Wild

Bloom & Wild simplifies luxury flower delivery online. “We’re enabling [our customers] to order flowers and gifts from the palm of their hand with better product, designs and payments,” said founder and CEO Aron Gelbard in their 2017 funding announcement.

Bloom & Wild lets customers send flowers in under a minute using their smartphone or computer.

Receive the flowers easily. For a longer bloom, they’re sent as closed flower buds in flat boxes that fit through letterboxes.

Bloom & Wild offers a smooth customer experience and cheaper flowers than most flower delivery companies.

Bloom & Wild’s value proposition is so clear that word-of-mouth referrals do most marketing.

3. Airbnb

Airbnb had to market to both guests and hosts as it disrupted the hospitality industry. They offer travelers a local experience and host extra income.

They’re in residential areas and have more character than hotels. Hosts’ local knowledge makes guests feel at home everywhere. Airbnb’s tagline, “Belong Anywhere,” combines these value sources.

Value propositions change as businesses grow. Airbnb has grown from a budget hotel alternative to a mainstream experience-driven brand with a premium wing called “Airbnb Plus.”

4. Fjällräven

Åke Nordin founded Fjällräven in 1960. Professional researchers exploring northern Scandinavia used his warm, functional products.

Younger European and North American consumers are reviving the 60-year-old brand. They sell high-quality, sustainable, form-and-function products. Customers look great in backpacks and can hike up a mountain in winter.

Their sustainable business practices appeal to conscious outdoor enthusiasts, strengthening their value proposition. Fjällräven uses its G-1000 and Greenland Wax to make many products, enhancing its quality and durability.

Customers will pay premium prices because they “craft products for a lifetime of memories.”

5. Juniper Printshop

Jenny Komenda started Little Green Notebook 2007 as a young designer sharing DIY projects. Komenda, an entrepreneur at heart, turned her skills and online following into another award-winning blog.

Komenda built a cohesive brand around affordable design and a key value proposition that motivated her customers: helping non-designers create a beautiful home on a budget.

Her content answers this question in thousands of ways, and her new business arm solves one of the biggest challenges—finding affordable art. She opened a print shop with affordable, easy-to-install digital downloads and physical prints of women artists and photographers.

6. My Pet

Found My Animal helps rescue dog owners. Bethany Obrecht and Anna Conway met in 2006 because they both had Walter rescue dogs and became friends.

Two dog moms used nautical rope to make leashes that could withstand hundreds of pounds of pull. Each leash has a brass tag with “FOUND” in a simple font.

image of My Pet

The company now sells dog beds, totes, and toys.

Found My Animal’s value proposition is simple: Outfit your rescue with quality products from a company that donates a portion of its profits to animal rescue groups. Customers know their purchases help abandoned pets because the company has donated money and leashes to over 64 nonprofit organizations.

Found My Animal’s value proposition permeates its marketing. Their website and social media accounts highlight rescue dogs in need of homes. Their #foundmyanimal hashtag promotes animal adoption.

The Rescue Orange Project—a buy-one-donate-one leash program—was started. This company is a no-brainer for dog owners who rescue other dogs.

Customers shape the best value propositions.
Answering “What is a value proposition?” several times, you’re ready to work. Even if you have a value proposition, take time to review it.

Your company should change with customers and markets. Instead of making assumptions about your community based on past needs and buying behaviors, create feedback loops to stay informed.

Real-time customer feedback helps your company evolve its value proposition and meet community needs as it grows.

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