Here are my 12 favourite examples of great value propositions that have been brilliantly articulated in brand and sales messaging. (NB These are in alphabetical order rather than rating order – I’ll let you choose for yourself which ones you like most.)
Apple’s iPhone has a value proposition that is based on a fantastic user experience rather than its features. That experience includes the design of the device (which has always been an essential part of the value propositions of the parent brand), because even with a number of unique capabilities the iPhone’s features are not strong enough differentiators. However, using the device, with its design aesthetics, unique Apple operating system and aspirational brand image make it a pleasure to own and use.
BMW’s value proposition clearly recognises where they sit in the market; not heavily engineered for the older (Mercedes) customer who wants a smooth comfortable ride, but not a ‘flashionable’ sports car (Porsche and Ferrari); instead it is designed to appeal to people who love to drive. “A BMW is not just a car, not cold and impersonal, but a precision instrument that comes to life when you drive it – one that makes driving a joy.” Hence the use of two different campaign approaches:
a) The Ultimate Driving Machine - appealing to the rational buying influence
b) Joy - appealing directly to the emotions.
Coca-Cola has established a global brand that now represents so much more than its refreshment value and unique taste (with its closely guarded recipe). Today its value proposition is: “The catalyst for the young at heart to cut free and experience summer, music, movement and life.” And this has been distilled down to one word and one single emotion – “Happiness”. This has been so clearly communicated in its advertising over the decades that it’s obvious they stay very focused on the value proposition.
This one shows my age. A brand that dominated the ad breaks of commercial television for decades, with the simplest but most effective of value propositions for a washing powder: “Daz washes whitest”.
A simple but compelling claim; it was supportable because of the evidence of its televised ‘doorstep challenge’, which demonstrated that “eight out of ten housewives wouldn’t swap Daz for another leading brand of washing powder”.
Fedex’s value proposition is a service realisation of their shared values: “Our absolutely, positively spirit puts our customers at the heart of everything we do” and their Purple Promise “To do whatever it takes to satisfy our customers.”
It has been distilled into campaign messages that include:
“Whatever it takes”
“When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight.”
This is about as succinct as a value proposition can get. The three little sentences tell you exactly what MailChimp is all about.... Build your brand. Sell more stuff. Send better email. It’s a simple, direct and clear expression of their value proposition: If you use MailChimp you'll send better emails. Period!
Nike’s famous strapline is an expression of their clear and highly successful value proposition: “Nike products bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world; emotionally giving them the freedom and motivation to succeed and exercise more.”
*The value proposition is also clarified by a secondary tagline commonly used by the brand which reads: “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”
Unusually, this value proposition also happens to be the perfect brand strapline. It clearly articulates a brand positioning which does not include all the bells and whistles associated with the room service of 4/5 star hotels but is far superior to the poor and inconsistent quality of budget hotels and motels. Everything it delivers is of premier quality (clean, comfortable, well equipped rooms and food of a standard compatible with full service hotels) but at a budget hotel price. It is a clear statement of value and quality standards backed by a secondary promise of “a good night’s sleep guaranteed”.
NB I was lucky enough to work with the Board of Premier Inn on a culture and behaviours programme and I know just how hard they work to deliver on their promise – not only through consistent delivery of brand standards but also through the engagement, behaviours and character of their staff (‘colleagues’) which enable them to bring the brand to life through their people.
As a brand that owns so many world leading consumer brands, the value proposition for Proctor and Gamble itself sums up the collective value delivered by its overall product and brand portfolio: “products that can be chosen, used and trusted by people all over the world every day.”
Uber’s Value Proposition subtly highlights everything that’s wrong with traditional taxis and why Uber is simply better. It conveys the simplicity and ease that lies at the heart of what makes it such a tempting service - a fast, simple, efficient way to get where you’re going.
This is reinforced by very simple messaging in their communications, e.g. “Tap the app. Get a ride.” And by simple descriptions of how it works…
• One tap and a car comes directly to you
• Your driver knows exactly where to go
• Payment is completely cashless
Vimeo positions itself as a more sophisticated alternative to YouTube with much better content - and their value proposition emphasises this to both viewers and those uploading videos. It encourages anyone posting videos to make sure it’s something "worth watching," rather than the mundane content commonly found on YouTube – ‘not another pet video!’
To have a value proposition based purely on low price would normally not differentiate and it would be hard to prove and maintain. However, the value proposition of the world’s largest retailer is very simple - everyday low prices and a huge selection. It is an implicit promise that they make sure they deliver on; through their “high product variety (35,000 different products in a typical store; 100,000 in a superstore), a mix of branded and private labels, and the lowest possible cost of goods sold with extremely high availability”. In other words, customers know that they can get whatever they need to make their life better and whenever they buy from Wal-Mart, it is at a favourable price.