Customers or Competitors: Who defines your unique value proposition?

Customers or Competitors: Who defines your unique value proposition?

Customers or Competitors: Who defines your unique value proposition? 904 600 Border Crossing UX

The unique value proposition of a product provides one of the most important meeting points for user experience design and marketing. If “unique” is added to “value proposition,”, it would be identical to “unique selling point.” Yet, it needn’t be one all-encompassing sentence or a ‘Just Do It’, three-sentence slogan. That aims for memorability. The unique value proposition aims for more.

Rarely is your unique value position solely about the product, however. The unique value proposition is the element of strategy that has an outward perspective, and sits on the demand side of your business, with a sliding scale of uses. Yet, in an age of digital transformation, most businesses cite the need to keep up with disruptive and well-established competitors, retaining an inward, comparative perspective rather than an evaluative edge.

The greatest challenge posed to businesses today is keeping up with customer demand

We believe the greatest challenge to businesses today is not keeping up with their competitors but their own customers. Rather than assuming everyone can be a customer, narrow it to the individuals who are. It is our customers who define the value of our product or service. Behind that definition stands a superior value proposition: a simple statement of tangible and intangible benefits that a product or service will offer its user.

Adopting an outward perspective, we can observe that individuals are transforming to digital faster than organisations; redesigning their core processes to adapt and change to their environment. Their expectations are no longer based on industry boundaries. Are businesses keeping pace? Perhaps our competitors are moving faster or may be light-years away from a digital transformation. However, our customers will always be faster. They no longer compare your customer experience to that of your competitors, but to the best, they receive from anywhere.

Customers want to be empowered, not controlled. You have to act with empathy

Businesses have fast evolved to strive for customer relationships based on reciprocity, transparency and authenticity. Ultimately, a switch from telling to understanding. The word ‘attention’ comes from the Latin word ‘attedere’, meaning “to reach toward.” This is a perfect definition of focus on others, which is the foundation of the type of empathy required when considering and understanding our customers as an intrinsic element in our value research. Note the word customers, not competitors.

The business value of user-centred design

The single biggest shortcoming of most unique value propositions is that they are irrelevant to the user’s needs. Going toe-to-toe with competitors should not come first in formulating your value differentiation. What should, however, is painstaking attention to the needs of your users and the degree of freedom you have in responding to those needs. There is a sustainable, long-term advantage in designing customer-driven journeys across touch points to help them shift their intent. Unless you step back and ask, “What are the user’s fundamental needs and what is this product delivering?” you may find yourself winning heroic battles in an irrelevant war. Customers need to be motivated and moved to action therefore a good, unique value proposition uses the voice of the customer.

So, to answer the question, how do I develop my value proposition? You don’t. You can’t. What you should be doing is uncovering it. Because we guarantee you that whatever you think your unique value proposition is, your customers are thinking something else.

The customers vs competitors is a contested debate

The world’s most influential companies share one thing in common- they disrupted their industries by being customer-centric. If you can quickly and clearly communicate your company’s value to a reader- answer a question and cure a pain, you can become a powerful differentiator.

Aim for a unique value proposition that goes beyond a positioning statement, USP or slogan and explore our value proposition workshops by contacting us here.

Photo credit: @firmbee

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