Originally published May 21, 2021. Updated on May 30, 2022.
Value. Everyone’s talking about it.
People have been craving value, or the notion of improving their lives, since the advent of the pointy stick.
Not only was it artisanal but it solved the problem of constantly foraging or catching small prey. They could now get their hands on some mammoth!
I’m pretty sure there was a peddling neanderthal selling the best spears for the low, low price of 5 fish and 3 shiny stones. Direct to consumer, cave to cave sales. (C2C sales may have been one of the first forms of marketing… hmmmm)
Anyway, adding value is the name of the game for any product or service, which is especially important for your purpose-driven business.
Your mission is to make tomorrow a brighter and better place, so make sure to tell this to your audience the second they land on your website. It creates an emotional connection and reinforces that they’ve have arrived at the right place.
If the intention isn’t blatantly obvious, you’re just throwing proverbial spaghetti against potential customers, or fans, with the hopes that it will stick.
Minimize the guess work for your audience and give them a value proposition.
Hold up? What’s a Value Proposition?
A value proposition (aka value prop or VP) is a statement that outlines what you’re trying to solve, how you plan to solve it, who’s affected, and the value that the user will gain. The VP acknowledges your care for the customer’s concerns and how your solution is different to others on the market.
And the great thing is that it can be adapted to each one of your products or service offerings, giving each the ability to shine in their own light.
Here’s a peek at a value prop that I wrote for FairTriad:
“A virtual marketplace to help declutter your home (problem/who) and donate to charity (value), FairTriad transforms e-commerce into positive change (how).”
I strongly encourage you to include this on each of your landing pages or product pages, as it speaks directly to the problem of the inquiring customer. It drives home that the customer has come to the right place.
To see additional value props, check out the rest of my portfolio. For each case, I included a VP to frame the problem, the market, and the solution.
But wait? Isn’t this a Mission Statement?
According to CRM powerhouse Hubspot, a mission statement (MS) is,
“An action-oriented statement, declaring the purpose an organization serves to its audience. It often includes a general description of the organization, its function, and its objectives.”
I’d also include that it aims to serve as an intrinsic compass that the company or organization can lean on. The mission statement tells every employee “the why” behind business practice.
Okay, but why do I need both a Value Proposition and a Mission Statement?
A mission statement is different to a value proposition because it doesn’t mention the specific problem, solution, or intended audience. The MS serves as the groundwork, the VP builds off of it.
UBER: Mission Statement vs Value Proposition
Let’s compare the mission statement of UBER with their value proposition:
“We ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion”
Pretty vague, right? Thats on purpose.
It tells us that everything UBER does internally has the intention to “set the world in motion.”
That includes HR, customer service, R+D, fair treatment of drivers, contracting of third parties, etc. It’s very much action-based, meaning that UBER promises to do things that will result in the mission’s promise.
But it does not address the consumer’s specific needs. What it does is establish company culture and brand associations to ultimately help build credibility.
Now let’s look at their Value Props.
Here’s two value props – one is when they only offered ride sharing and the second is when they began offering a suite of solutions. Your value prop can change over time but your mission statement shouldn’t change too often.
Single market offering
What is the main problem that needs solving? That people were getting tired of waiting on taxis or public transit.
It targets the problem that the consumer faces with current modes of transportation (contactless payment, precise pickup and drop-off, convenience) using an everyday tool, the cellphone.
Multi-market offering – Eats, Rideshare, Grocery & Package Delivery
Because they started offering UberEats, the messaging had to change. As you may be able to tell, the core message has gone from just convenient transportation to something wider and more encompassing.
Whether it’s getting Pad Thai from your go-to spot or a quick lift to your favourite museum, it’s now about connecting you to your community.
And in an era that’s been disconnected due to COVID-19, this is an impactful and relevant positioning.
Building meaningful relationships, or maintaining them, has become the core tenet and that’s been an important aspect of their international success. A big reason why I travel is to connect to local cultures and flavours.
By including “human connection” in this newly revised VP, it shows that no matter where you are, Uber is meant to build meaningful relationships.
Ultimately, humans are an emotional bunch – that’s why terribly written rom-coms are still a thing.
A value prop pinpoints the target audience’s frustrations and provides a solution to alleviate them. This creates ease since they’ve finally found what they’ve been looking for all this time.
Be like the warm water at the end of a long day and relax their sore muscles.
Thanks Jon! Does a value proposition have any other use?
The value proposition also helps to guide your internal operations and boost team morale. Your team knows the essence and reasoning behind bringing your product or service to market.
If Montgomery from accounting asks “What’s the point?”, simply refer them to the value prop. Simple and plain.
If the value proposition does not answer their questions, it may need some rethinking. It should be a clear and concise reference point for all employees, new and old.
So whether you’re on-boarding newbies or reminding veterans why providing superior service is important, it has the ability to keep everyone motivated and focussed on solving everyday problems.
Inside and outside of your organization, value propositions are important.
Whether you’re a team of one or many, your core position is how you’ll speak to your customers and your employees.
It’s important to have a tight and concise value proposition to do that, and make sure that everyone knows what problem you’re solving and how you plan on doing it.
And to be honest, this builds credibility and loyalty. No one likes wasting time, so make sure everyone knows who you are and what you offer from the very beginning.
Now get out there and help the world become a better place!
Looking for more value props? I’m a little busy organizing creative communities and working with sustainable organization but Antavo can help! Their team of customer loyalty specialists assembled some of my favourite value props, including Salesforce, Fjällräven, Evernote, and Mailchimp.
Antavo’s top 20 value propositions
If you need help connecting your organization to your target audience, give me a shout. We’ll create your Value Proposition and brand strategy!