What is brand proposition? And how can it help you win the battle of the brands?
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What is brand proposition? And how can it help you win the battle of the brands?

Brand Proposition

A study into turnover in the S&P 500 suggests that around 50% of today’s top brands will be replaced in the next ten years.

As markets, customers and technology continue to change, companies are evolving faster than ever before. We see thousands of new competitors entering the marketplace every year, and the businesses that come out on top aren’t just the ones with the best product or technology. Today’s most sustainable organisations are the ones that know how to leverage their brand.

While you might know that your business and products are the best things since sliced bread, you need to convince your customers of the same thing. That’s where your brand proposition comes in.

A brand proposition is a foundational concept that highlights the unique identifying features of your organisation. It’s not your slogan, your tagline, or even your logo – although those things can all help to contribute to a more differentiated company. Your brand selling proposition is how you convince your audience that you can solve their problems and that you’re the right company for the job.

Some companies are well-known for their brand propositions, like Naim Audio with their commitment to quality, or Apple, with their devotion to innovation and simplicity. Finding your brand proposition will help to set you apart from your competition and give you the strength you need to thrive in a competitive marketplace.

So, how do you identify and convey the right brand proposition to entice your audience?

By the time you’re finished reading, you’ll have your answers.

Brand Proposition

What is brand proposition? The prevailing principles

As usual, we’ll start with the basics: “What is brand proposition?”

Your brand proposition is something that digs into the problems that you want to solve for your customers and reveals the features that make you the right organisation for the job. Think of it this way: an effective marketing plan helps to drive customer loyalty and revenue by highlighting what your brand stands for.

However, your promotional methods are just a megaphone for something underneath – your brand proposition. Without a brand proposition, you have nothing you can highlight to make stronger connections with your target audience. Unless your brand proposition is clear and meaningful, your customers simply won’t connect with you on a deeper level.

According to a study conducted by the Guardian, businesses that focused heavily on refining and sharing their brand proposition over ten years grew by 76%, even when their promotional efforts weren’t on point. These brands were excellent at delivering a meaningful message to their customers because they knew what their underlying purpose was.

Look at Apple, for instance, one of the most popular examples of a successful brand proposition model. Apple promotes itself by focusing on the innovation and user experience it delivers to its audience while conveying a unique thought-leader tone of voice in its messaging. These elements come together to create Apple’s brand proposition.

In simple terms, your brand proposition isn’t just one thing. Instead, it’s multiple factors that join together to demonstrate the uniqueness of your brand. Your brand proposition template should:

  • Identify your ideal customer and tell them why they should buy from you and not your competitor (differentiation).
  • Highlight the specific benefits you can offer: i.e., unique technology, enhanced customer experience, exceptional service or support.
  • Explain how you solve the existing problems your customers have or improve their situation in some way.
Brand Proposition

How to create your brand proposition model

Knowing the answer to “what is brand proposition” and understanding how to create your own brand proposition template are two very separate things.

According to marketing research, one of the biggest challenges that today’s companies face involves identifying a good value proposition and communicating that proposition with clarity. To develop a brand proposition model, organisations need to understand precisely what they stand for, and what kind of value they want to convey to their customers. Great brand propositions:

  • Are clear and compelling: They communicate concrete values customers can get from interacting with the brand.
  • Avoid hype: They focus on genuine results, rather than superlatives and business jargon.
  • Are easy to understand: If you have to explain why your brand proposition is valuable, then you’re on the wrong track.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Know what your brand stands for

Before you can create a brand proposition template, you’ll need a brand vision and purpose. In other words, you need to understand the mission that’s driving your company forward. If you have no idea what sets your business apart from the other competitors in your space, then you won’t have any hope of demonstrating your value to your customers, employees, and stakeholders.

Your brand proposition isn’t just what makes your organisation valuable to customers; it can also be the statement or idea that attracts new employees to your business too. After all, many of today’s professionals want to work with companies that are making a genuine difference to the world around them.

Take some time to get together with your leadership team and decide on your purpose. Consider what makes you relevant and inspiring not just to consumers, but anyone else in your network too. Once you’ve found your meaning, you can suffuse it into every part of your organisation, from your strapline to your marketing campaigns.

2. Solve an existing problem (with clarity)

The people who are looking at your brand for signs of differentiation want to see that you’re making a real difference in the world. Unfortunately, it’s much harder to convince them that you’re serving an important purpose if you have to convince them that the problem you’re solving exists. That’s why it’s a better idea to work on an issue that already affects your target audience.

For example, SkillJar promises to make online training easy, because it recognised how much trouble existing businesses were having with education for their employees.

Once you’ve found the problem you’re going to solve, explain how you can overcome that issue, and make sure that your brand proposition is clear. If it helps, use your brand proposition template to answer the following questions:

  • Who are you trying to reach?
  • What problem are you attempting to solve?
  • What do your product, service, or brand do?
  • How will interacting with your brand improve your audience’s life?
  • What makes you a better choice than your competitors?

3. Articulate your brand proposition creatively

The best brand selling propositions are short, simple, and they get straight to the point. While your proposal is something you should carry with you in the heart of your brand, you should also be able to refine it down into a simple message you can share with your customers.

Narrow your brand proposition down to 2 or 3 sentences, similar to a company strapline. Remember, when you’re crafting the copy for your brand proposition model, always use the tone of voice that best speaks to your target audience. That single tone of voice must remain the same across every channel, and on every touchpoint, your customer uses to interact with your brand.

Consistency is always a crucial part of building a successful brand. If your proposition message doesn’t remain the same across all avenues, it will lead to confused and suspicious customers who don’t know whether they can trust you to deliver on your promises.

Brand Proposition

Tips for your brand proposition template

At this point, it should be clear to see that a focused brand proposition is crucial for any company.

Your brand proposition model is one of the most critical elements in your manifesto when it comes to creating connections between your brand and your ideal clients. In today’s saturated market, a proposition differentiates your organisation from competitors in your space with more than just a lower price tag.

A good brand proposition template will also help you to focus your strategies more effectively, including marketing and sales, because you’ll understand the idea you’re trying to convey to your market. Here are some tips to help you improve your brand selling proposition.

1. Keep it simple

As complex as your business might be, it’s essential to keep your brand proposition is simple as possible. After all, you need your customers to remember what makes you unique, but you also need your employees to understand your proposal so that they can advocate for you too. As a great example, look at Evernote. The company demonstrates its brand proposition on the front page of its website.

Brand Proposition

Evernote tells its customers that its company was designed to help streamline organisation and productivity, so “nothing falls through the cracks”. The proposition gets straight to the point and instantly conveys why Evernote isn’t just your average notepad app.

2. Make an emotional connection

We know that people make decisions based on their emotions, rather than logical thought. That’s why emotion-focused marketing is so effective. If you can create an emotional connection with your audience through your brand proposition, then you’re more likely to tap into the loyalty and commitment that comes from a dedicated audience.

Brand Proposition

For instance, look at Uber. They don’t just tell people that they can get a lift to somewhere quickly. They announce that you can “move the way you want”.

By connecting with the emotional concept of freedom, Uber sets itself apart as a company unlike anything else on the market today. Uber’s brand proposition is also simple enough that it can appeal to both the customers that use their cars and the employees looking for a job that fits around their busy schedule.

3. Be authentic

Finally, your brand proposition makes a series of essential promises to your customers and other people in your network, about what you can offer. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you don’t ‘overhype’ your company and potentially lose the trust of your audience in the process.

For your brand proposition model to be effective, you need to be able to deliver on your promises. Your customers don’t want to see another claim that your company is the ‘best in the world’.

Brand Proposition

Tesla has one of the best brand selling proposition models today. It’s a company that delivers innovation, without destroying the planet. Back in 2006, the founder of Tesla, Elon Musk released a blog called “The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan,” which outlined everything you need to know about the company – perfect for supporting its unique brand proposition. Once you know your brand proposition, make sure you can deliver it.

Four companies with a powerful brand proposition

Still not sure how to write a brand proposition that makes a difference?

Maybe all you need is a little inspiration.

Brand proposition models come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re always infused with the unique personality of the company they represent. Most of the best brand proposition templates are simple, engaging, and designed to resonate with a very particular audience. Let’s take a look at a few.

1. TrackMaven

TrackMaven doesn’t need a lot of copy or fanfare to demonstrate their brand proposition. The company gets their message across quickly and easily on the landing page of their website:

Brand Proposition

In one sentence: “TrackMaven makes it easy to prove marketing ROI,” the company instantly addresses their customer pain points, and simultaneously lets them know how they can help out. Notice that TrackMaven doesn’t immediately explain how it can help with ROI. You don’t need to be too specific with your brand proposition, all you need is enough information to get people interested. You can explain the rest later.

The “Take a deep breath” comment, matched with the Zen-inspired design of the web page also conveys the unique attitude that TrackMaven demonstrates as a brand.

2. Slack

The market for team collaboration software is growing, but the company that started it all is still one of the best-known in the industry. Slack built its identity around the brand proposition of being the place where people can be more productive and efficient at work. On its homepage, Slack identifies itself as the “hub for your team and your work”:

Brand Proposition

Essentially, Slack tells its audience that with its app, they can enjoy a simpler, more efficient working life, where people can come together to work on meaningful projects with speed. This is a value proposition that’s sure to appeal to a lot of companies.

One of the things that makes Slack’s brand proposition different to many of the other collaborative apps on the market today is the fact that it plays so well with other brands. Few other applications offer the same number of integrations as Slack does. Because the company wants to be the place where “work happens,” it supports this idea by ensuring that the software can integrate with as many existing workflows as possible. It’s the diversity and flexibility of Slack that makes its brand proposition really stand out.

3. Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg is a website behaviour tracking service designed to improve marketing campaigns. There are plenty of great things about the brand proposition template that Crazy Egg uses to get its value across to customers. For instance, the company is careful to use language that its users will understand. Crazy Egg knows that its target audience will understand words like “heatmap,” so they don’t try to dumb down the language in their marketing and branding efforts:

Brand Proposition

Additionally, the team behind Crazy Egg conveys some of the main features of their brand proposition on the homepage with a statement that’s all about the value their customers can expect. First, they tell their audience that they can make their website better “instantly.” This appeals to the “what’s in it for me” part of the engagement journey.

Once they’ve got their audience on the hook, Crazy Egg further differentiates the brand by reminding customers that they already have plenty of social proof. The statement “Over 300,000 websites use Crazy Egg” acts as a testament to the effectiveness of the software, and it also shows that Crazy Egg is committed to listening to and engaging with their customers.

4. The Great Frog

Up until this point, most of the examples that we’ve covered for brand proposition templates have looked at big enterprises and multi-national companies. However, the Great Frog in London is evidence that you don’t need to have a big business to develop a strong brand proposition.

The great thing about The Great Frog is that the company is devoted to individuality and craftsmanship in everything it does. These two characteristics form the foundation that the organisation built its brand on, and they’re how the company continues to differentiate themselves today. Visit “The Great Frog” website, and you’re greeted by the story of a second-generation, family-owned company that’s been creating iconic jewellery for almost 45 years. On their website homepage, the company instantly draws attention to its heritage and handmade value:

Brand Proposition

With their one-of-a-kind personality, The Great Frog creates a unique brand proposition that goes beyond their statement jewellery and stunning design pieces. Although the products obviously contribute to the popularity of the organisation, The Great Frog’s brand proposition goes beyond what they sell, to the heart of the business. On their ‘About’ page, you’ll even find stories of some of the famous people that the organisation has sold their pieces to in the past.

Over to you: Props on your brand selling proposition

Ultimately, a brand proposition is more than just a strapline, an idea, or even a differentiation point for your business. Your brand selling proposition is the compass that guides your entire company, and the concept that reminds your audience that you’re just better than your competitors.

Though it can be difficult to craft the perfect brand proposition model, if you get it right, then you can ultimately see an impact on everything from your investment strategy, to your employment capabilities, and even your ability to attract and retain long-term customers. After all, customers don’t just hand their loyalty out to any company. If you want to connect with your clients, then you need to convince them that you have what they need.

The results of an effective brand proposition template can speak for themselves. According to one study into 10 years of brand valuation data, companies that deliver a compelling brand proposition and identity to their customers generally benefit from a 168% growth over a decade.

The research even found that companies with a strong brand proposition and identity could continue to thrive, regardless of whether their advertising was good or not. The average brand growth for companies with a great proposition, but sub-par marketing was 76%. Alternatively, in cases where the consumer considered the business to have fantastic advertising, but a less-than-attractive proposition, the growth over a ten-year period was only 27%.

It’s obvious – great branding delivers value, but you need more than just a great name, logo and visual identity.

If you want your brand to truly shine for your company, then you need to find your core – your brand proposition. Reach out to Fabrik today to start planning your brand proposition template.

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Steve Harvey
Steve Harvey
Our co-founder, Steve Harvey, is also a regular contributor to Brand Fabrik, a flagship publication covering topics relevant to anyone in branding, marketing and graphic design. Steve shares his enthusiasm for brand naming through his articles and demonstrates his knowledge and expertise in the naming process.

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