Writing the Value Proposition: Part One — Customer Perception

Writing the Value Proposition: Part One — Customer Perception

Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.

Seth Godin

Think Marketing is all long lunches, bigger offices and never having to deal with that complaining bugger who calls up every Wednesday afternoon?

I’ve spent eight weeks in copywriting hell. This is my story.

Marketing is all about cultivating a positive public perception to your brand while presenting a message likely to produce sales. If that sounds simple to you, then go stand at the back of the class. I’l deal with you later.

At the core of marketing is the value proposition. But many businesses either don’t have a value proposition or are using one that is weak and offers nothing.

If two potential customers were chatting about companies in your industry over a beer in the pub, how would you like them to describe your business? If you wanted to distil your core message down to one line to decide a customer between you and your competition, what would it be?

This is the realm of the value proposition. It is not an advertising slogan or a mission statement. It is a conceptual line or paragraph that all slogans, mission statements, advertising images and marketing material must conform with – the spine to your company image.

And they are also a complete b!+(h to create. Eight weeks of hell, remember.

In a previous article, Why Should I Buy From You Part 2: The Value Proposition, I detailed how important a VP was in converting website visitors into customers and discussed three historically famous examples. Recently, I tested a large group of people with these three VPs to see if they could identify the business behind each one. Every time the answers were correct, despite some of these VPs being out of use for years. If you haven’t already read this article do so now, as it explains how a value proposition works in detail.

So when the Netregistry marketing team, including me as copywriter, was tasked with crafting a new value proposition for the business, we knew we wanted a line with the same potential to embed the brand in public perception, just as these examples achieved.

The eight weeks started here.

The Whiteboard Frenzy

The first step of this process was to identify exactly how we wanted our public to perceive us. What impressions should our VP leave in the minds of our target consumers?

The three members of the marketing team spent hours filling three whole whiteboards with words and phrases. Some words may reference the type of language we wanted. Others would refer to the importance of certain concepts.

When we sat back exhausted and stared at these three white expanses of scribble, it became obvious that many of the words and phrases could be grouped together into concepts. Drawing lines between related words, ringing groups together and refining the relationships produced three clear concepts we wanted the VP to explore, with plenty of words and ideas to help express each one.

The three concepts were:

Thought leadership

The public should see Netregistry as a leader in the field, producing ideas and methods of online marketing that the competition copies and follows. If people want an informed opinion or fresh thinking on anything to do with internet business, they should think of Netregistry.

2. Partnership

We pride ourselves on being accessible to all, whether you are an internet whiz kid or have trouble programming the video. Rather than be seen as aloof and superior to our customers -as happens a lot with IT businesses dealing with non-technically minded clients – we want to be viewed as a supportive business partner, as committed to the success of the project as you are.

3. Flexiblity

Having strict procedures of service can sometimes be too restrictive to some clients. Not every website is the same and sometimes a different approach is needed. We needed to show we were capable of that.

So here were the key associations we wanted to put out there into the public mind.

After transcribing these concepts and pages of relevant words and phrases, I was sent off to a dark corner, illuminated by a flickering monitor screen and scented with stale caffeine, to design one line that encompassed all of this.

Hundreds of words and phrases. Three core concepts. One line.

That’s when we struck stage two. We were missing a vital ingredient.

To find out what, read Part Two — The Point of Difference.


  1. Writing the Value Proposition: Part Two – A Point of Difference

  2. Writing the Value Proposition: Part Three – Quantify & Qualify

  3. Hi and thanks for the post. I have owned my business for 10 years now and I can honestly say I have never thought about what two clients would say to each other about my business. It is really an eye opener!

    Thanks again,