Every time someone uses the word “synergy,” a fairy dies.
The business world is FULL of useless terms (jargon) like this – paradigm shift, inflection point, strategize, blue-sky thinking, deep dive, low-hanging fruit, actionable items, take it to the next level. <insert wide-eyed emoji>
My world is ALL about jargon. As a brand strategist (yep, more jargon), it's my job to help clients write (watch out – lots of jargon coming up) Positioning Statements, Purpose Statements, Mission Statements, Sales Pitches, Core Values, Elevator Pitches, and other stuff with fancy titles. Before I start working with them, I review what they have and EVERY TIME it's stuff someone wrote once and put in a document somewhere but never shared with anyone. Few companies LIVE these things. That's where I come in – to make it simpler, easier, and live-able. Less jargon, more human.
Then there's this thing called a “Unique Value Proposition.” Most of us have no idea what this actually means. And even if we do, very few of us can write a good one. A tech client of mine recently asked if I could help their (20,000+!) partners define their Unique Value Propositions (UVP) so they could stand out from the crowd. I'm doing so by rocking a webinar series for them & after putting together the slide decks, I realized – if I can help big tech companies, why not let everyone else benefit?!
HOW TO: Not suck at sharing your
Unique Value Proposition
Let's break it down with less jargon.
SIMPLE DEFINITIONS: with huge props to the Dictionary.
UNIQUE: being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.
VALUE: the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
PROPOSITION: a suggested scheme or plan of action, especially in a business context. OR my favorite: make a suggestion of sexual intercourse to (someone with whom one is not sexually involved), especially in an unsubtle or offensive way.
Speaking of my favorite definition of 'proposition,' let's take this out of a business context and apply it to dating first so it makes sense to everyone. If you want to share your unique value proposition with someone you are attracted to but are not involved with, you'd have to:
make sure you're talking to the right person
clearly show this person you're worth talking to
and let them know what you're looking for from them (except, let's not be offensive)
This will get you a date, which could lead to what you're really after. Got it?
Now let's hit up the business side of things.
Open up your favorite app website (not the app itself) on your phone or laptop. Within 5 seconds, say their benefit to you as a customer out loud. Can you read it quickly? Can you speak it quickly? Is it clear? If you didn't already use this app, would you still want to use it based on what you just said?
More app companies have this Unique Value Proposition thing down compared to the rest of the world.
Now, look at YOUR website.
Within 5 seconds, say out loud YOUR benefit to YOUR customer as it reads on your site. Can you read it quickly? Can you speak it quickly? Is it clear? If you didn't know anything about your own company, would you still want to work there based on what you just said?
To be clear with the jargon & fancy titles, a Unique Value Proposition is NOT the same as a Unique Selling Proposition or an Elevator Pitch.
LET'S COMPARE THESE STATEMENTS:
Elevator Pitch: This shares the basics of who you work with (target market) and how you work with them (services or products offered) in a way that they can almost recite back. It's typically given in-person on the first meeting in 15-30 seconds.
Unique Selling Proposition: This shares why you're different from your competition by telling your customer your specialty, methodology, and guarantee. This usually happens in-person with your potential clients after they know a bit more about you and helps them make their decision to work with you.
Unique Value Proposition: This shares the tangible results of what you do and the value your customers get from you. This is typically used on your website, brochure or can be shared in your marketing.
“So, how do I create one?” I'm so glad you asked!
BASICS OF A GREAT VALUE PROP:
When you're putting together your Value Prop, you want to stick with some basics. This isn't the formula (that's below) but you definitely want to make sure you have these before you put together the proposition itself.
SPECIFICS: This is not the broad picture, these are the numbers, the percentages, the little details. How many, how much, how big, how small – how rockstar are you, specifically. We want the specifics.
RESULTS: Give us the tangible results – exactly who you are helping and how you helped them achieve their goals, what they got out of working with you, and what they'll keep doing because of you.
DIFFERENCE: Tell us why you are better, why you are unique, and why we would love working with you. This gives us a sense for why we shouldn't pick the other guys – but without saying that.
HOOK: Help us sign up, hire you, or get more of you in our lives. Give us a discount for getting started, a “do it now and you'll get…” or an application that shows how exclusive you are.
SIDE NOTE: Do NOT make up value. BE valuable. If you don't have value, create some and live it. Don't be that guy at the bar who tells me all about your awesome life only to find out you live with your mom. NOT cool.
EXAMPLES OF GREAT VALUE PROPS:
Great Value Props are REALLY hard to find so let's make more awesome ones so it's easier to see great examples. Check these two out – and share ones you love so I can add to this.
Check out Gusto.com – Their Value Prop is clear. – they tame the chaos of payroll, benefits & HR. What business wouldn't love that? This is what they do. What you get is tamed chaos. The hook is a month free of services to check them out so they can prove their value to you. There's even a great animated visual to help show you that you can get it all done quickly.
Check out Stripe.com – they let you know right away that they're the new standard in online payments. Crystal clear. They tell you it's the best platform for running an internet business (this is who should use them) and how much money they have helped “forward-thinking businesses around the world” make. Then they show you that you can start right away or chat with them. Easy & clear.
Try it yourself with this formula.
FORMULA FOR A GREAT VALUE PROP:
In order to write a great Value Proposition, start with clarity. Keep this short & sweet. Remember – 5 second read.
1. GRAB ATTENTION: Write an attention-grabbing headline that shows it's worth reading.
2. EXPLAIN YOURSELF: Write a subheadline or quick sentence about how useful this will be to your customers.
3. WEAR YOUR AWESOME: Write a few bullet points about your benefits or the features that are worthwhile to your customers.
4. SHOW THEM: Use some sort of visual or image to convey or add to what you're saying.
WHAT'S YOUR VALUE PROP?
I'd love to have new Value Props to share in my webinars & breakout sessions. Jump into the Kickass Humans Club & share yours with #ValueProp – I'm happy to give feedback if you need it. Or send me a love note & I can help offline.
You have the tools – now rock your Value Prop!
Want to host this Rock Your Value Prop webinar for your team or partners?
Send me a love note & let's see how we can work together.
She’s a Kickass Human who is ROCKING her brand, taking names, and leading a kickass life.
As the head of strategic marketing at Gerberich Growth Strategies, Holly is focused on helping businesses grow and creating tailor-made strategies to get them to the next level. A DCer of over 15 years, she connected marketing and growth before big brands like Coca-Cola even realized they were related.
In this week’s podcast episode, Holly Gerberich lets us in on working with crazy human beings who feel things, taking a step back to see where you are, and the importance of having business goals. Holly drops some truthbombs for business owners who are trying to grow and goes through how marketing can light a business on fire- or make it fizzle.
Listen in to find out the secret of Holly’s master growth strategy superpower, how she brainstorms crazy into tangible in her business, and where her ideas come to her. Also, Holly and I dig deep into how the universe can take charge – bring you to places that you never thought you would end up, and sometimes name your dog FOR you. Ernie and Bailey – thank you, Universe.
“I wanna blow doors off for my clients.” – Holly Gerberich
Want to kickstart a brainstorming session, but feel stuck in a rut?
Holly has the answer:
If you want to know how NINE dogs, meditation, and TEN Oscars events have changed Holly’s life, you’ve got to listen in. [HINT: It’s the plot of a Seinfeld episode and a life exercise of knowing how to be in front of the right person at the right time.]
You need this wisdom in your week today – your brain and your business will love you for it. Get her wisdom in your ears – HIT PLAY.
“I have too much to worry about to not be myself.” – Strother Gaines
Strother Gaines is full of glitter and wisdom.
He’s the head unicorn of But I’m a Unicorn, Dammit, LLC an entrepreneurial coaching company helping humans who want to build their next step. When I asked the Kickass Humans Club who should be on the podcast, Sarai Johnson, one of our recent Rock Your Talk-ers put her hand way up and suggested Strother saying “He’s AMAZING!” spoiler: she was right.
Strother is a Kentucky-born triple threat who is keeping busy as an entrepreneur, artistic director for TBD Immersive – a new theater company in DC, and the event director for Network Under Forty.
Oh – and one of his drag queen names is Joann Fabrics. (Like, the fabric store… Yeah, I love him.)
In this week’s podcast episode, Strother Gaines lets us in on the phone call from the IRS about his LLC’s name, But I’m a Unicorn, Dammit, LLC and how to network without being an asshole (this was fun). His bits about growing up in the rural south, coming into his own, and the glory of Southern Queens are what make Strother such a fabulous human being. He shares HIS story, which helps others share theirs. BRILLIANT!
“I get a lot of feedback on the beard.” – Strother Gaines
Looking to channel the magic in your career or business?
The next step is simple and the fabulous beard himself can let you in on the secret.
Ever wonder what the difference is between jackhammer careers and hummingbird careers? Maybe you’ve wondered how a career trajectory of cross pollination led him from being segway tour guide to entrepreneurial coach? Well, you get all of that and more – right here on the podcast.
My favorite part? Strother brings Joann Fabrics to the podcast – including the family inspiration for her and how he gets himself into character. (HINT: It’s a very specific swear word with southern flair.)
Why aren’t you listening yet?! This man has GLITTER IN HIS BEARD! Stop reading, start listening
“I didn’t ever think of having my own business – I just said ‘sure’ and did it.” – Jennifer Vallina
Jennifer kills it on her FIRST TIME on a podcast.
Jennifer Vallina is a master of saying “sure” and jumping right in. She accidentally started a successful business, One Sock On Photography, from scratch in a brand new industry for her – in the most political city in America. It’s a photography studio that has been featured in the Hirshhorn Museum (her kickass cards were in the gift shop!) and grew from Jennifer’s passion for finding the beautiful essence of everything – especially the overlooked. Her business tagline is “Capturing the beauty of the world overlooked” and Jennifer does that through her lens.
This week, we hear how Jennifer’s life has been changed over and over again by just saying “Sure.” From her drive for accessible art to finding the arts scene in a city known for politicians. We also get to hear about how she found the love of her life at a bonfire on a cold night – right after she had given up on dating FOREVER. Jennifer gives some solid advice about humor in relationships and some rad fruit puns (This is a big deal, says the woman who is awful at being punny.)
“I want art to be accessible.” – Jennifer Vallina
Want to get children to pose for photos? Listen to Jennifer’s tip:
We also get the inside scoop about the reason for her brand’s name (hint: it has to do with dressing for the East Coast winter.) Jennifer also shares about losing the job she loved most, her ongoing love of dance, and slowly building a business from nothing. Listen to hear her wisdom on trying to not give away all your secrets (another thing I’m terrible at doing.)
At the end, Jennifer speaks to knowing her brand down to the shade of green and how her business is built on being the photographer who won’t automatically airbrush the bumps and bruises of life.
“It’s not about how it looks, it’s about what it communicates.” – Joe Natoli
Joe Natoli is the UX guy.
He’s done it all – from running a print design firm to jumping on the user interface design platform when the internet was small enough to start with a lowercase “i”. After 26 years of coaching clients and corporations on how to build stuff that humans can intuitively use, he’s written a book to complement his course – which has reached over 55,000 students. Joe also confessed he might move into my living room and never leave.
In this week’s podcast, Joe lets us in on his early adoption of the internet as more than just a “passing fad”, his definition of UX, and how communication is the heart of design. We also get to hear about his growth, riding the Dotcom boom, and how purpose should drive what creatives do. Joe also shares wisdom on how language can encourage listening – and when to pull a “Tom Hanks”. (Yeah, you’ll have to listen to find out.)
“It’s not about how it looks, it’s about what it communicates.” – Joe Natoli
How do you get rid of imposter syndrome? Find out Joe’s answer:
Joe found his calling while running a UX design firm. He watched the room light up as he got clarity on why humans get stuck at design roadblocks – including the frustration of an espresso machine.
At the end of the episode, we even get to listen in on his philosophy on the ups-and-downs of life- and the power of seeing value manifest itself.
FEATURED IN: 7 Inspiring Podcasts on Work, Leadership