“Companies often strive to be the best, but the first thing they should do is merely be different.”
– Corbett Bar, entrepreneur and marketer
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of business and branding is a company's ability to stand out. It's no longer enough to just try to be different to gain traction in the beginning. You need to have a hook - something distinct that's substantial enough to be interesting and relevant to your customer.
A Value Prop, sometimes called a Unique Selling Point, is a concept that you are known for and sets you apart from your competition. It can be one defining characteristic or a few different factors, but each of them should be things that your competition CAN’T or WON’T claim.
One of the best ways to determine a value prop for your company is to think strategically about your industry. What pisses you off about it that absolutely needs to change in your eyes? How can you provide a change (big or small) that would create an overall better experience?
Here’s two examples of strong Value Props:
Dollar Shave Club. A great shave for a few bucks a month.
DSC is a solid example of a good value prop. The focus is on the cost per month that you will pay for a quality razor creating value that sets them apart from their competition. They also emphasize the convenience of having your razors shipped to your house vs. going to the store.
This company believed so fervently in their value that they used their value prop to influence the brand name (Dollar Shave Club), tagline ('Shave Time. Shave Money.') and content - their popular video promos consist of funny, hyperbolic instances of what customers go through in buying their (overpriced) razors at a drug store - further solidifying them as an outlier from the competition.
Drybar. No cuts. No color. Just blowouts.
Drybar is another fantastic example of a simple, distinct value prop. Blowouts were not a new concept, nearly every salon in the country offered them as part of a service. The value Drybar offers is in the experience of the service and the focus on just performing blowouts. While their products expand beyond blowouts, it was this unique difference that made the brand compelling and marketable.
Your value prop doesn't have to be catchy or marketable copy. It absolutely MUST set you apart from the competition. In other words, if your competition could also claim the value you offer, it is not a true value prop.
Take a couple of minutes right now to think about what value you can bring to your customers that none of your competitors are tackling. Perhaps it’s not in the product itself but in the process of making the product, or the experience in buying the product that makes it unique.
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