The past few years I’ve been leading multiple innovation tracks, talking with a ton of people, from top management to start-up founders, and observing everything that’s related to innovation. I receive a lot of questions due to the over-complication of all possible frameworks, streams of thinking, and methodologies. So, I decided to share and document my 2-cents, insights, and things that I find inspiring. I want to distill every insight into a few principles that are easy to capture, understand and make use of. Why? Well, to make people and businesses think differently, away from conventions. It’s needed.
A few weeks ago, I finished several workshops where we aimed to design a new value proposition for one of our clients. During these sessions, there was clearly a discussion about what a value proposition stands for. Again, a lot is written about this, but honestly, it doesn’t stick with me. Below, I want to share the three questions that help me define and articulate a value proposition and why it’s able to win the market.
“Good innovation starts with good questions”
When people think about new products or services, they tend to search for the most differentiating and unique things they can think of. For me, this outlook is way too narrow. The term USP (unique selling point) even tends to amplify this. It’s not just how unique or different you are that will make you win. This perception derives from technological innovations, and it’s not a recipe for success. By the way, I haven’t seen that many ‘unique’ concepts.
Instead, I want to ask you three questions which make it quick and easier in articulating how you, as a company, can position yourself in the market. Of course, the rationale behind those answers should be well thought out.
1. What are your key points of value?
Very simple: What value do you provide to your customer?
When answering this question, you should always think from a customer point of view. More specifically, your answer should provide a solution to the needs of your customer. Let’s take an a-typical example like an Italian restaurant (instead of all those tech startups). What could their points of value be? It could be providing people with authentic tasting pasta; or infusing a cozy and romantic atmosphere for couples. Both points respond to the needs ‘qualitative local food’ and ‘a dating environment’. These points of value don’t make the restaurant especially unique, which is fine, as long as they provide some value people are looking for. Don’t overthink this first question.
2. What is your ‘creative’ twist?
Next: How do you increase your value and leave your stamp?
Following the example of the restaurant, maybe customers can easily make online reservations? Maybe the restaurant is more accessible by staying open late? Think about how you deliver and positively impact your points of value. Also, how can you make yourself more you? It’s entirely possible that your ‘twist’ is purely a branding thing. Maybe the consistent and recurring usage of a specific non-conventional ingredient”? The X-factor?
3. What is your reason to succeed?
Lastly: What are the elements that will make you succeed? This question encapsulates the core of your strategy.
Your reason to succeed can relate to your key points of value or your creative twist, but that doesn’t have to be the case. It indeed could be the online reservation portal that does the trick; the experience. On the other hand, your reason for success could be your location if it contains underserved customers. Or you are just a plain marketing genius. Your answer has to explain the ‘edge’ you have on others (and you can maintain). This edge doesn’t purely need to be related to the functionalities or uniqueness of your product or service.
I’m confident that if you start off with these three questions you will faster and better articulate your value proposition and why you will succeed.
When you look at your business, product or service, what are your three answers to these questions?
Make sure to hit me up on my email, get in touch and share some thoughts.