Last post, I laid out a method for verbally sharing your personal case studies. This post, I’d like to share some guidelines for sharing your core value proposition.
What is a core value proposition?
Let’s start with what it isn’t: It’s not exactly an elevator pitch, which are 30-90 seconds pitches for something (like a project at your company or a business service). It’s not quite a core motto or mission statement either (i.e. Google’s mission statement of “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”)
A value proposition is something that’s less specific than an elevator pitch and a less vague than a mission statement, which are meant to be a bit more broad so as not to limit a company’s potential.
A good value proposition is something that easily rolls off the tongue that also clearly states how a problem, or set of problems, can be solved in the world. Or more bluntly, it’s the core reason why someone should work with the value provider or buy their products. A good value proposition addresses: How you or your product solves core problems (So you really need to know what that problem is!), How the customer’s world will improve, and Why you and not a competitor?
Good value propositions are easy to remember and use clear, basic, jargon-free language. A great example is Dollar Shave Club’s:
A Great Shave for a Few Bucks a Month. No commitment. No fees. No BS.
It’s specific enough that consumers know that it’s an inexpensive shaving materials club that has no fees and that Dollar Shave Club promises to speak clearly with its customers. It’s general enough that it could mean that they just supply razors, but could also get into shaving creams or other related chemicals. The language is simple enough that anyone can understand it without getting an MBA or PhD in jargon.
So, how do you create yours?
First, identify the core problem you can solve. My clients’ problem: needing a smart, trustworthy person who will be honest with them while they work through important strategic work, who also wants their stakeholders to get what they need.
Second, figure out what you can do to be the solution. My solution to their problem: I help executives who need a thought partner while they form their strategies that can also create their materials and addresses their stakeholders’ needs.
Third, determine how you address those problems in a manner that others can’t. In my case, I’ve got a lot of C-Suite executive exposure, have a lot of experience writing board presentations, have been exposed to almost every industry, and my style is heavily rooted in management consulting but has been tempered to be less jargony since I’ve spent some time in advertising as well.
Fourth, put it all together in clear, simple language. Yup, this is the hard part – being pithy can be tough. Do not be shy about running this language past trusted eyes. A possible value proposition statement for me: I help top executives clearly articulate strategies to audiences that matter.