Because I believe so strongly in making my brand All About Them, I sometimes have to remind myself to take a step back from pontificating about building brand value. Instead, I need to spend more time understanding the issues and concerns my clients and readers have and try to give them proven tools, tips, and techniques they can use to make their businesses – and their lives – better.
I was thinking about this when I received a note from a friend of mine who is creating a new business and a new brand.
He wrote, “Hey, Mr. Harmonica Man! You’ll be pleased to know I have finally set up my drums and started to play again. Yay!
“If you don’t mind, here’s a question for you: Is there a difference between one’s brand and one’s value proposition? I’ve seen some folks write about “your brand’s value proposition.” Would that value proposition just be one avenue of how we express/communicate our brand? Is our value proposition the brand’s promise?
Thanks for the help. Hope all is well with you.”
After giving his question some thought I wrote back:
“Good to hear from you. Congratulations on all the successes you’re having – couldn’t happen to a nicer, more deserving guy.
“I could answer your question a bunch of ways and simply add to your confusion. That’s because there’s no specific, agreed-upon definition for either brand or value proposition. I think a lot of the confusion in the definitions and applications of the words comes from there – the people we talk to about the subject often have different points of view based on different definitions of the same word.
“As I see it (and in a perfect world) your brand value and your value proposition should be the very same thing. That is, you’re known not only for who you are and what you do but for what you mean to your customer/client/consumer/community. In other words, your audience knows you for the value you provide in their life.
What are brands known for?
Volvo = Safety
Starbucks = Getting together
Jeep = Rugged
Tumi = Sophisticated Travel
Notice that none of these meanings have very much to do with the companies’ product function. Instead, they are the attributes that the companies both possess and bestow on their users.”
Keep in mind that your brand is not a logo, a tagline, a brochure, a blog post, a website, an anti-stress ball with your name stamped on it, a branded water bottle, or any of the other things we use to promote our businesses. Instead, a brand is the reputation we have, the promise we make, the feeling our audiences get when they consume our products or services.
Needless to say, all of these interactions should both promise AND deliver our value proposition – THAT’S why they should be the same thing.
What should a brand do?
As I like to tell my clients, your brand should both REinforce and PREinforce the expectations and satisfactions that your consumer gets from you and your products or services. In other words, they should know what they’re getting, and they should know what they got from doing business with you.
Regardless of what you call it, what matters most is the effect your brand has on your clients. Remember, a good brand will make them feel good. But a great brand will make them feel good about themselves!