Your customer’s “willing point” varies depending upon how you clearly define the brand’s value. Are you valued as a product innovator? (think Apple) Are you valued as customer service oriented? (think FedEx) Do you provide service to unique customer needs? (think Nordstroms)
A brand’s choice of value, in effect, defines what it does—and therefore what it’s worth.
There are two main ways that value connects with your customer:
Internal value as a strategic initiative by choice of your product, service and tactics
External value as a culture by which you match a customer’s interest or needs
In our Positioning parts 1 and 2 posts, we discuss that to position your value effectively you must determine who you will serve, what you will provide, how you will provide it, and how to capture your customer with a meaningful emotion. Once you’ve accomplished that, you are closer to establishing your brand’s value.
Since value itself teeters on subjectivity, everyone has a perception of the true value of a brand. Hence, this final positioning step is to take out the subjectivity and wrap a clear definition around your brand’s value in a strategic manner with a finely-crafted value proposition statement (value prop) so everything is strategically aligned. I recommend your agency (or your marketing team) write a very clear statement of your brand value that everyone—both internally and externally—can rally a great campaign around.
The best value wins. When you create your brand signals, it is all about a creating a clear value prop to kick off the campaign. My motto: your brand is running for president and your brand signals (including your value prop) are campaigning to win the hearts of your voters (your customers). Past presidents who failed didn’t win the vote because their message was not clear, it changed frequently, or it failed to connect a true value. The presidential campaigns that succeeded did so because they sent the right message, at the right time—clearly and simply stated so that they connected with voters.
Value, therefore, is an attitude rather than a process of functional activities, and what customers think should come first and foremost. If you develop your brand value prop to what your customer wants, and develop a connection by aligning your business model, your product or service, and your brand signals to match, then you have a much greater chance of success.
No matter how complex your product or service is, it is imperative that you craft a simplified and clearly stated value prop with true emotion. Simplify your brand statement to one clear, user-facing message that customers will easily understand so they can determine whether they are willing to trade their time or money for what you are offering. Use this simple value prop as the opening for all of your deliverables, both print and interactive.
Writing a great value prop takes expertise. It should be based upon your emotional driver. It should align with your business model. You should repeat, repeat, and repeat it over and over again. And most importantly, make sure all of your brand signals—including your voice and all visuals—align to it.