What is A Value Proposition?

What is A Value Proposition?

A value proposition isn’t a mystery.

I’m working with a client on developing a statement of their value proposition. I love this type of opportunity because it forces me to read, learn, think and discuss an important strategic topic. Best of all, it requires a clever yet insightful use of language. Something I love to do and admire when I see it done well.

Okay, maybe there is some magic to it after all.

What is a Value Proposition? 

From Wikipedia, a value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered, communicated, and acknowledged. It is also a belief from the customer about how value (benefit) will be delivered, experienced and acquired.

Simply said, a value proposition is a statement that explains what benefits you provide to whom. It describes your target customers, the problems you solve, the needs you address, and why what you offer is distinctly better than alternatives.

A value proposition is your prime tool that explains your competitive advantage in the form of benefits for your stakeholders, not only to your customers, but also to your employees, partners, shareholders, and to investors, you want to entice.

A Value Proposition describes in short what your strategic marketing plan describes in detail. It isn’t your tagline but often may be the same message. A value proposition conveys VALUE not FUNCTION.

Tagline, Slogan or Value Proposition? 

Some believe that a tagline is forever like Apple’s Think Differently or Nike’s Just Do It.  Often a slogan can be a shortened version of a value proposition statement.

For example, Apple’s Mac Book uses the slogan on their web page – Light. Years Ahead.

Clicking the Learn More button on their splash page reveals a product description. It reads, Our goal with MacBook was to do the impossible: engineer a full-size experience into the lightest and most compact Mac notebook ever. This is their Value Proposition – a longer version of the tagline.

In my view, a value proposition that can be reduced to less than a sentence makes it memorable and repeatable. It can capture your imagination in a second. The actual value proposition statement may be longer.


  • Slogans tend to last longer.
  • Taglines can be more short-term and about a campaign. Or, they can be a shortened summary of the value proposition in about seven words.
  • Value propositions are longer, twenty-word statements of the value and benefit you deliver. It explains the promise your brand delivers.

An Unfair Advantage

Every company has customers, employees and a range of stakeholders. All of them want to believe in your promise. They may have different reasons to believe, but they want to understand what the brand or company will do that is an example of an unfair competitive advantage.

It isn’t unfair because it is illegal.

It is unfair because of some collections of relationships, technology or other special situations that only you can deliver to your larger community.

The best way to create a value proposition is to look at a few examples. Some clear and well-articulated value propositions are listed below. Think of these like pickup lines. They need to be short, truthful and easy to back up. But in a snap, someone gets it without a lot of mumbo jumbo.

MailChimp. Send Better Emails.

Lyft: Rides in Minutes

Dollar Shave Club: A great shave for a few bucks per month

Bitly: Shorten, share, measure.

Apple Mac Book: Light. Years Ahead.

Vimeo: Make Life Worth Watching

The Ladders: Move UP in your career

Pinterest: A few (million) of your favorite things

Square: Start selling today

Evernote: Remember Everything

Skype: Keeps the world talking for free. Share, message and call.

Spotify: Soundtrack for your life.

Plated: Open the door to a new kind of dinner

A value proposition must be short and connect emotionally. If it is longer than a sentence, no one will remember it. It also must pick a core advantage and point of difference, or it will just sound like corporate blah blah.

Does your brand have a clear value proposition?

If you have to look it up, it isn’t memorable.

Need help crafting your value proposition? I can help. Call 919 720 0995 or email at jeffslater@themarketingsage.com 

Photo credit: Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Idea for this blog inspired by https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/10-value-propositions-you-wish-you-had




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