What do you stand for? What does your brand bring to the table? In the sea of different options, what sets you apart from your competitors?
In Seth Godin’s latest interview on Tim Ferriss’ podcast, he shared a template for brands to use in establishing their marketing promise, better known as a value proposition. Value propositions demonstrate the benefits you pass on to your targeted customer and secure your positioning in the competitive landscape. This is not necessarily something that needs to be overtly a part of a brand’s marketing outflow, but needs to be something that comes across to potential customers especially during their decision-making process. Godin’s approach is decidedly customer-centric and enables brands to focus on their smallest viable audiences, because almost ‘no successful product is launched to the masses’. His formula also homes in on the way your product or service will make the customer feel, by focusing on the self-actualizing need that the purchase is ultimately satisfying.
Here’s the template:
My product is for people that believe ____. I’ll focus on people that want ____. I promise that engaging with what I make will help you get ____.
This coincided with the value proposition template I learned while sitting in one of my branding classes at business school, from branding expert and professor, Ana Rumschisky.
Her template follows a similar philosophy:
For those that (target group), our brand is a brand of (frame of reference) which (point of difference) because ...
Below are are some examples of brands that have clear and focused marketing. I extracted what I think to be their value proposition and articulated it using Rumschisky’s formula:
For those that appreciate a reliably delicious burger and fries, In-N-Out creates a respite for commuters by offering simple, pared down burgers made with high quality ingredients at every location, making customers feel at once triumphant, nostalgic, and satisfied.
For the discerning home bodies that like to nest and thoughtfully curate their homes, SNOWE is resource that brings together luxury-quality home products at accessible prices, making you feel polished, at ease and excited to entertain.
For the socially conscious consumer that takes pleasure in self care, LUSH Cosmetics creates fresh, handmade and ethically sourced products for your bath and body, making you feel pampered, ethical and a part of a movement.
Stoicism (the philosophy):
For those that want to live a life independent of rash decisions or unnecessary emotional turbulence, stoicism provides practical and clear methods to establish self control and emotional fortitude, allowing you to feel calm, focused and equipped to handle the ebbs and flows of life circumstance.
As you can see, value propositions are important beyond the world of marketing. Godin and Rumschisky’s formulas can be a methodology used to articulate religions, philosophies, even our own personhood. (I hold the potentially polarizing belief that establishing your own personal value proposition in a relationship is vital. It not only makes you aware of the great things you bring to the table, but also holds you accountable to providing value in all relationships.)
At the end of the day, the rules of branding are similar to those of loyalty. When you are marketing to everyone, you are in fact, marketing to no one. At the root of every successful company is a clear value proposition, and inherent to that is a targeted audience. You cannot be aspirational, but also accessible; you must choose the ultimate benefit you are sharing with your core customer. Take the important time to be clear with your messaging, and your brand resonance should follow suit.