• C.E.K. & Partners

What's the Biggest Mistake Brands Make With Their Value Propositions?


Building a brand takes considerable thought about the Who, What and Why. These do not exist in isolation, but make up your brand’s DNA. In our post, Purpose: Does Your Brand Need a Soul? we explored some of the high-level questions you must answer to define your brand’s purpose, or WHY. A brand’s reason for being is different from its value proposition, which defines the WHAT – the value a brand, product or offering brings to customers – the promise of what is offered.

It’s Not About You, It’s About Them – Your Customers

The biggest mistake B2B brands make in articulating a value proposition statement is making it all about them – the company! Just like a B2C one, a B2B brand must meaningfully connect with its internal and external audiences. Did you enjoy the last cocktail party you went to where the host proceeded to only talk about himself – the entire time? Your audience probably doesn’t want to hear about how great your brand is either. Instead, tell your customers about what value you offer them.

A B2B brand's value proposition should be succinct; it should be memorable and easily communicated. And, don’t forget – externally oriented with an emotional

and rational component.

Thinking about taking a shortcut and simply stating your brand’s value proposition based on what the leadership team brainstorms? We caution those who take this approach without market research. Our thoughts may best be stated by W. Edwards Deming, who said, “Without data you’re just another person with an opinion.” Do you really want to make decisions that will enable your brand to make a meaningful connection with your customer – based on opinions and not a custom study designed by a market research firm? (For read more check out this blog post, "Capturing Insights: Without Data You're Just Another Person With An Opinion").

Brand Building Approach: Strategic Brand Planning + Market Research

Engaging a market research firm to help your team capture data and insights from the lens of your category , the brand and customers – allows a brand to articulate a compelling, unique value proposition.

A few elements in the market research and discovery process include the following:

  • Competitive landscape. What are your competitor's value propositions? Your statement should be unique since it must communicate why a particular solution will add more value or solve a problem better than a competitor’s offering.

  • Customers. What value do customers perceive your brand offers? What makes it better than the competition? Remember, as you try to understand this, a customer will be more forthcoming when speaking to a third-party market research firm than with a company representative.

  • Employees. Employees – outside of the leadership team – often hold knowledge about the company and its products and services and can share real truths about the company’s strengths and weaknesses, and for those in sales or customer support, a valuable external perspective that can be compared with the customer discussions to determine the brand’s reality.

A well-articulated brand or product value proposition holds the power to make a remarkable impact on your people and your brand. What are you waiting for?

About C.E.K. & Partners

We're an Atlanta-based branding and strategic communications firm. Through market research we collect the data and insights critical for building brands that connect with audiences to accelerate business growth.


If you are ready to articulate your value proposition or just refine or validate your existing brand purpose, contact us to learn more about our proven approach, process and workshops. We can be found at carolyn@cekpartners.com.


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C.E.K. & Partners | Atlanta, GA | United States 

© 2020 Carolyn Kopf Inc.