In a previous dispatch, we introduced the subject of Brand Positioning Statements as an important brand positioning guideline (or “platform”). We described them as brief, four-part descriptions of a brand’s “essence” relative to target, competitive set, demand and delivery (unique selling proposition).This section of the Brand Positioning Statement notes describes the third component of this platform: the value proposition. Most marketing professionals will agree with the following comments (from Wikipedia) that “Strategy is based on a differentiated customer value proposition. Satisfying customers is the source of sustainable value creation.” However, in my opinion, too often value propositions are developed without enough consideration of the preferred target person’s true desires, and without enough effort toward differentiation from competitors.
In other words, too often value propositions are derived from what the brand can presently do versus what the market wants and needs.
Going back to our earlier example of a Brand Positioning Statement (using assumed positioning for Gatorade), we surmised that Gatorade’s preferred (or “optimum”) target person would be a “sweaty, serious-minded, male athlete.”
What do you think this target person really wants (desires) from the Gatorade brand?
When I pose this question during our Quick Start Brand Review and Two-Day Brand Development Workshops, I ask participants to imagine their target person climbing into bed at the end of the day, resting their heads on their pillows and, right before sleeping, reminiscing about their experience with the brand. Then I ask them to tell me what about the brand interaction would most likely put a smile of total contentedness on this person’s face.
At first glance, some might suggest a value proposition of “satisfying thirst”. Dig deeper, however, and you’ll probably agree that, at the end of the day, what really makes a “sweaty, serious-minded male athlete” smile is improved performance. The sweatiest, most serious-minded male athletes are probably professionals –meaning the better they play, the more they get paid. Hence, improved performance is a stronger value proposition than satisfying thirst.
Another thing to point out is that this value proposition provides a tie in with the targeted consumer that is both rational and emotional.
New brands entering the competitive set of sports beverages would then have to raise the stakes on Gatorade’s value proposition with promised values such as “improved performance at less cost”, “improved performance that’s also healthier”, “better tasting while improving performance”, and so on.
BRANDLAND CHALLENGE: Tell us what your value proposition is and why.
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– Tim Bryant, Spartanburg