A Promise of Value: Insight into Effective Value Propositions

How To

To stand out in today’s competitive business landscape, it’s essential to provide real value to your target audience. Enter the value proposition. A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered; it’s a tool to communicate the value of your brand’s product or service to prospects and stakeholders. Here are six things to consider when crafting an effective value proposition.

  1. Understand Your Target Audience- Clearly define your target audience. Build stakeholder personas (see Chapter 7) and conduct thorough market research to identify their needs, pain points, and aspirations. This knowledge will enable you to align your value proposition with their specific desires and position your offering as the ideal solution.
  2. Differentiate Yourself- In today’s crowded marketplace, you need to identify what makes your offering unique. Whether it’s groundbreaking technology, exceptional customer service, or a distinctive approach, highlight your unique selling point to capture the attention of potential customers.
  3. Focus on the Benefits- Rather than simply listing features, emphasize the benefits of your product/service.  Specifically, how does it addresses your customers’ pain points, simplify their lives, or help them achieve their goals? By highlighting features and benefits, you appeal to your audience on an emotional level and differentiate yourself from competitors.
  4. Offer Quantifiable Results- To build trust and credibility with prospects and stakeholders alike, you need to provide concrete evidence of your product/service’s value. Incorporate measurable results, such as cost savings, increased efficiency, or improved customer satisfaction, into your value proposition. Quantifiable data adds credibility to your claims and demonstrates the tangible benefits your customers can expect.
  5. Provide Examples- In addition to quantifiable results for your customers, it’s important to consider the impact your offering has on all stakeholders. This includes not only customers but also your organization’s employees, partners, shareholders, and the greater community. Highlight how your product or service creates value for each group, such as by fostering employee productivity, driving partner success, or promoting sustainability and social responsibility.
  6. Be Concise- A strong value proposition is clear, concise, and easily understood. Avoid jargon or complex language that may confuse your audience. Craft a message that can be quickly grasped and communicates your value effectively. Use simple language and straightforward statements to ensure your proposition resonates with your target audience.

The Anatomy of a Strong Value Proposition

Based upon many years of consulting and brand development, we’ve found that the ideal value proposition is typically one or two sentences – usually 20-40 words total – that concisely answer these four questions:

  1. What product or service do you provide?
  2. Who are your customers/target audience?
  3. Why is your offering unique and different?
  4. What are the end benefits/expected improvements?

A strong value proposition answers the fourth question by delivering tangible results for both the customer and the product/service:

  • Resolves a problem, want, or need
  • Increases quality of life
  • Saves time and/or money
 Product or Service
  • Increases revenues/market share
  • Decreases costs
  • Improves operational efficiency and employee retention
  • Increases exposure and brand recognition
  • Impacts future goals and time to market

 Breaking Down Popular Value Propositions

Now we’ll use the four questions outlined above to break down the value propositions of three popular brands.


Breaking Down WordPress’ Value Proposition
  1. What product or service do you provide? “The world’s most popular website builder.”
  2. Who are your customers/targets? “Bloggers, small businesses, Fortune 500 Companies”
  3. Why is your offering unique and different? “43% of the web is built on WordPress.”
  4. What are the end benefits/expected improvements? This one is suggestive or implied. Because 43% of the web is on WordPress, because more bloggers, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies use WordPress than all other options combined, so should you. It’s also a bit aspirational: come home to the website platform everyone else is using.  Admittedly, this VP is a bit weak on specific benefits, other than the implied benefit that because everyone else is on WP, it must be a good product.


Breaking Down Grammerly’s Value Proposition
  1. What product or service do you provide? “Great Writing, Simplified”
  2. Who are your customers/targets?  Unclear. An implied but unmentioned “you.”
  3. Why is your offering unique and different? “AI-powered desktop Windows App.” The word “AI” is definitely all the rage, and here it suggests that Grammerly’s algo is advanced enough to provide the core benefit of their product, which is…(see #4)
  4. What are the end benefits/expected improvements? “…the ability to compose bold, clear, mistake-free writing.” It doesn’t get clearer than that, ladies and gentlemen.


Breaking Down Slack’s Value Proposition
  1. What product or service do you provide? “Collaboration hub”
  2. Who are your customers/targets? “From Fortune 100 companies to corner markets, millions of people (read “businesses”) around the world…
  3. Why is your offering unique and different? “{Slack} brings the right people, information, and tools together to get work done.”
  4. What are the end benefits/expected improvements? “Millions of people around the world use Slack to connect their teams, unify their systems, and move their business forward.” 


Crafting an effective value proposition requires a deep understanding of your audience, and a focus on benefits, clarity, differentiation, quantifiable results, and measurable impact on all stakeholders. By implementing these principles and considering the measurable benefits for your audience, you can create a compelling value proposition that attracts customers and unlocks the door to success in today’s competitive business world.


  1. What are some other examples of effective value propositions that answer the four questions outlined above?
  2. How does your organization’s value proposition stand up against the four questions? In which areas is it lacking?