A simple formula for constructing a value proposition


Everyone in business likes to talk about value propositions but few seem clear on what actually comprises one. Invariably they focus on themselves rather than the consumer and USP’s tend to be generic and vague.

What I’m going to suggest is a slight variation of the way in which the brand expert David Aaker breaks down VP’s, which is as follows:

First of all, separate your benefits into thee groups:
Functional – what are the functional and rational benefits of your product/service? Things like your price, how long it lasts, etc…
Emotional – how will it make the person feel?
Self expressive – what will it say about the person?

Of course some businesses lend themselves more to one of these categories than the others. B2B organisations tend to be more on the rational end of the spectrum for example.

Then find your credibility so that people can believe the benefits you’re claiming to offer. – is it an award, is it association with high profile ambassadors, is it customer testimonials and reviews.

For example, if I run a premium gym chain, it may be that:
Rational – we offer the highest quality kit. Our PT’s are all employed in house and they have at least 5 years experience each. You get a free towel when you arrive, etc…
Emotional – by joining us you’re going to feel healthier and happier, and have lots of fun in the process as you work out with like minded people
Self expressive – by being part of this exclusive community with beautiful facilties you are making statement that you are serious about your health and can enjoy a premium lifestyle

And the credibility may be that you’ve been recognised as one of the top ten gyms in London by Time Out.

From these you can then construct your VP, which could be along the lines of – Start your journey towards a healthier and happier future with our world class facilities and experienced personal trainers, and discover why Time Out rated it as one of the most exclusive and exciting gym communities in London.

So there you have it – a simple model for value propositions that communicates what actually matters to your customer.


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