Many entrepreneurial journeys face the same roadblock at one point:
How do I make my business stand out?
How can I make sure that customers will choose my brand?
While leaders often work relentlessly to enhance their products, it’s that special “click” with the consumers that often gets neglected. So how do you find your unique value proposition? And most importantly, how do you communicate your end value to your customers in a way they understand and connect to your brand and product?
What is a Unique Value Proposition? (UVP)
Ever heard the phrase: “busy prospects don’t care what you’re selling? They only care about what the solution does for them?”, that’s a UVP.
"The UVP zeros in on quantifiable value as a differentiator from your competitors. It helps customers recognize how they benefit from your solution and represents you as the best possible solution on the market. This in turn leads to having a competitive advantage in your industry and higher conversion rates."
A UVP is not a catchy slogan or catchphrase. A UVP describes the unique benefits of your product, how it solves your customer’s needs, and why it sets you apart from the competition - all wrapped up in one clear, compelling statement. However, your UVP statement doesn't have to be short. In fact, feel free to dedicate a nice chunk of real estate on a page to your UVP. After all, research by the CXL Institute has shown that the longer a UVP is, the more people were able to recall its services and advantages.
To spark some ideas ask yourself the following questions:
What legacy do you want to leave behind?
How do you want customers to feel after using your product?
What problems or fears are you helping customers to overcome?
What value do you add to your customer's life?
Sure, you (probably) won't solve the energy crisis, but your product can enrich someone's life. And that's where your value rolls in. The word value in Unique Value Proposition is thus key. A UVP should clearly address the million-dollar question: What value does your product add to the customer’s life? What will customers lose if your company disappeared today? Without answering these questions, you won't be able to separate your brand from all that noise - and turn one-time shoppers into loyal fans.
Go beyond your brand's reason for making money
Your UVP is the reason why consumers do not just choose the cheapest or newest vendor on the block - it’s why people come back to a particular brand that has earned a special place in their hearts and minds. In many ways, your UVP is your brand’s superpower - that is if you can communicate it in a relatable and sharable manner.
“But the price is the only thing my customers care about”Fact: the price is not the only thing consumers care about. Ease, comfort, status, and values are important contributing factors as well.
Excellent customer experience, fast shipping, customizations, and personalization are thus at the heart of any great Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) business model - and guess who is willing to pay more for this?
Your target audience.
People who care about environmentally made choices, consumers who value personalized products, and consumers who appreciate the ease of well-thought services like fast shipping. The simple fact is: that today's consumers are more aware than ever. Their buying decision is based on much more than pricing, it's based on social, cultural, and psychological factors as well.
In fact, a recent study by PWC found that 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. And 85% of consumers have become ‘greener’ in their purchasing in recent years, resulting in more than a third of global customers that are willing to pay more for sustainability.
People buy outcomes
The new generation consumer is a unique hybrid individual who also cares about what others think of their purchases (status-conscious brands like Tesla) and is ready to pay more for their perceived brand value (like Happy Socks, Van Moof, Coca-Cola, Bosch, iPhones, etc). As a D2C brand, that means having to adapt to these market changes - and at times reevaluating your UVP when the market changes.
Nobody likes an obnoxious sales pitch. It leaves a bad taste in their mouths.
While good UVP zeros in on your product value as a differentiator from your competitors, it should never ever feel like a sales pitch. Likewise, empty promises and disingenuous marketing tricks have adverse results in the long term. Building an emotional resonance as a D2C brand with a compelling UVP seems obvious, but how do you do that? Read here below how to formulate a compelling UVP:
How to formulate a compelling UVP
A unique value proposition is at the core of every interaction in the D2C marketplace and should appear on every marketing campaign and every landing page. It needs to be:
At best, a unique value proposition is a compelling statement that articulates your value from the customers' viewpoint - and helps you spearhead your industry. At its worst, it becomes a rat race to the bottom.
So how do create a compelling UVP in a D2C business?
Match your product features and your customer's needs - and wants
“Your product is your superpower - but only if you can communicate to the end consumer its true value” - DTC Expert, Pinja Kuitunen
Behind every successful D2C launch, there is a great value proposition. A superior value proposition always speaks to a customer's challenges or desires. By bridging your product's unique features to your customer needs, you can differentiate yourself as the preferred provider of this value. So how do you find your UVP in a DTC?
The simple six-step formula to finding your UVP
Describe your ideal customer.Effective marketing starts with knowing your ideal customer. What are their main problems, wishes, concerns hopes, and dreams? How do they behave? What do they care about? What buying criteria are important to my intended target audience? Do they for example care bout your ecological footprint? Or do care more about convenience? Don't forget to add all learnings from your customer's data.
List all the possible features and benefits of your product.What is your product? What problem does your product or fear does it help people to overcome? Who is it best suited for and why? What unique features does your product have? What benefits does your product offer? Don’t forget to pose questions to your intended audience like: “What annoys you the most about product X?” Why did you choose to buy X?”, “Did you try alternatives, and if so, what didn't or did work about them?” These questions will help you dig deeper into the actual benefits of your product.
Describe how your product’s features and benefits are valuable to your ideal customer.How will your customers enjoy your product? What key benefits and features will users especially enjoy? What features and benefits make you not just different, but also better than all available options out there? Do you offer great price value for your money? Sustainable materials? The incredible speed of delivery? Convenience? Great service or quality? Or do you have a unique philosophy and values? By the end of step 3, you should be able to answer the questions: "How does my product make customers' life easier, better or safer?" And “Were there any hidden needs being solved by our product?"
Match your product features and your customers' problem, needs - and wants.Go back to your ideal customer’s needs and wants and match your unique product benefits and features to your customer’s desires. Remember to formulate a tangible UVP that communicates your true value to your buyers' problem.
Note down how you will differentiate yourself as the preferred provider of this value.Value doesn't just mean your product solutions and unique features (or benefits), that's just a good place to start. To really set yourself apart you have to look at more factors that add to the entire value perception like customer experience including: support, fast shipping, inventory stock, or payment terms. Also ask yourself: How is my service/product different than those of competitors.
Keep testing and optimizing your value proposition over time.As time moves forward, so do customers' expectations and wishes. It’s thus important to regularly check in to see if your UVP needs any amendment.
So, how do you communicate your UVP to your customers in a way they understand and connect to your brand?
You simply mirror what matters to your target audience.
You use the words they connect to & value in your products.
Essentially, you would want to mimic the same language and ToV (Tone of Voice) they use. This will help you establish emotional resonance with them.
To make your UVP truly compelling, you have to go back to your buyer’s persona, How does your product add value to their lives? And what types of words and expressions do they use to describe your product?
If you’re intentional about creating a UVP, it lays a solid foundation for your business - and it is a strong place to launch your D2C business from. If you need any help finding your UVP, speak to our D2C expert, Pinja Kuitunen.
Why invest time in finding a compelling UVP?
Creating an effective UVP can be tough; after all, it’s part art and part science. So why do D2C businesses invest so much time into making a compelling UVP?
One word: conversion.
If you want to drive sales, you have to differentiate your product as the preferred provider of value. Simply put: you’ll capture your customers' attention by speaking and understanding what makes your customers tick. This creates emotional resonance - that magical bean that turns one time buyers turn into superfans.
Sadly, too many D2C business ventures flop as they struggle to convey their UVP concretely to the end users. While D2C businesses are doing important and meaningful work, they struggle to communicate the entirety of the value they bring to the world. This often results in: unconverted traffic, disappointing sales figures, unrealized potential - and in the worst-case scenario: an aversion to ever wanting to try going D2C again. After all, “it didn’t work in the past”.
Luckily, several businesses enlist the service of a D2C Sales consultant to help. Having an outsider can bring the necessary perspective and experience to craft a UVP that tells the right story, with the right tone of voice, and helps businesses on the right path to success. Of course, there are multiple formulas and templates that can help you find your UVP, like Steve Blank Formula: We help (x) do (y) by doing (z) or Peter Thomas’s value proposition Canva, but here in Woolman we believe in a more hands-on approach to jumpstart your creativity. Find out how!
“While some businesses are purely focused on becoming the “lowest-cost producer” in the market, there are plenty of alternative ways to differentiate yourself. Let’s find your unique UVP together.” - DTC expert, Pinja Kuitunen