The serious business of your VALUE PROPOSITION

Let’s be clear, identifying and articulating a compelling Value Proposition (VP) can be challenging work. 

The ‘gold’ in your firm that defines what makes you special can be buried quite deep or in unexpected places. It may be found in your process, your behaviours or somewhere else, and demands a keen eye to know where to look and how far to dig to potentially unearth the treasure that those working in the business either simply don’t manage to find, or see clearly for themselves.

VP know-how

Many of you will know that a true VP will succinctly define ‘what you offer and the promise of value to be delivered’, and it should sit at the heart of your Brand Story. It’s one thing to know and understand the importance of your VP, yet it’s quite another to define it in a way that really helps your firm shine. Perhaps this explains why many firms lack a VP that really stands up and evidences value in the way a VP should.

And while many firms will make some sort of statement of value, the question is whether your VP is vague and weak, or clear and strong? 

Being curious on how design firms position and present themselves is an early-stage integral part of my work. As part of a very recent project for a long-established design consultancy – reviewing their business objectives, positioning and marketing – I assumed the role of a prospective client and critically observed the websites and value-propositions of over 50 x UK-based design firms that specialise in one particular design discipline.

A fascinating exercise that; highlights a distinct lack of compelling VPs, accentuates the similarities between one design firm and the next, and helps one appreciate the difficulty buyers can face in determining the benefits and value of one design firm over another. A well trodden path that still shows a distinct lack of progress in this regard with creative firms. 

Knowing ourselves

Every so often, we must be objective in holding up a mirror to our business and aim to crack the challenge of having a compelling VP. Why?

Because when this is done well, your VP can be such a powerful component of your brand. Fundamentally, it can offer your firm the potential to be explicit around the true and meaningful value clients derive from what you do. You can speak of yourselves with added confidence, and demonstrate what you really ‘know of yourselves’ and the path your firm is on going forward. 

I take the view that when we explore and go the extra mile, we are generally rewarded. The process can be a challenge but we can often discover space that’s rarely crowded, and we get to know more of ourselves. The more a business demonstrates that it really knows itself and its value to others, the more easily it will be understood, elevate its standing and make the right connections.

So there are two points I would urge you to consider from this short perspective: 

  1. When did you last take an objective view on how to define value and position your firm?
  2. If you believe your firm has a VP, is it weak or strong?