To define your brand value proposition consider this: what specific benefits do users receive from your brand?

Remember the old Volvo ads that harped on their cars being built around passenger safety? Back in the ’70s and ’80s it was the one thing, above all else, that Volvo wanted auto buyers to associate with their brand. It was their brand value proposition: the promise of a particular benefit — safety.    

For Disney, it’s family entertainment. For Ritz Carlton, it’s white glove service. For Boston Whaler, it’s unsinkable. For Levi’s, it’s ruggedly durable comfort. Nordstrom’s has VIP customer service nailed. For a Jimmy Buffett concert, it’s a care-free good time. And, today, Subaru has taken over the safety benefit from Volvo.

These brands each suggest a singular promise of a benefit that will be derived from its use. As David Aaker details in his classic book on branding, Building Strong Brands, that benefit could be functional (Volvo provides a safe car because of the way it’s built), emotional (my family will be protected in a Volvo), and/or self-expressive (Volvo is a symbol of me being responsible since I place such a high value on safety).

Consider that the benefits you provide may be different depending on your different target audiences — benefits to an engineer may be different than those to a purchasing agent. Make the benefits distinctive compared to competitors, and you’re on your way to nailing down your brand position as well.

The plus of resolving this is that you create a singular focus around which you can rally your troops, concentrate your brand messaging, and reinforce time and again through each of your audience interactions — your brand touch points. In that way, you’re making it easier on your customers and prospects to figure out why they should do business with you instead of someone else.

It worked for Volvo. And Disney, The Ritz, Boston Whaler, Levi’s, Nordstrom, Jimmy Buffett, and a lot of other brands.

It’s not easy, but there’s value to be gained. I know you care about that. And, we at 34 North can help you with this.