26 May 2021 Tenaka

Value proposition design

Discover your business value through design thinking

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” – Harper Lee

Understand your business through your customer’s eyes

Value proposition design is a method used to bring clarity to your business’ stakeholders, of what value is in the eyes of your customer. It uses what is known as the value proposition design canvas, to bring to light your customers most severe pains and most important gains, and how your business can relieve those pains or satisfy those gains.

Communicate the right message to your customer

If you have experienced numerous product launches that haven’t been as successful as you anticipated, it can mean that you aren’t communicating your business value in a way that resonates with your customer. Making crucial business decisions based on a hunch feeling, not from a place of understanding your customer, can result in misalignment. It is important to know what is important to your customer in the area of your speciality, through value proposition design, so that you can communicate the right message. Value proposition design is also a great method to use for when you have no idea what your business value is or what your customers wants – as it defines it for you.

Get your team and business aligned

This method helps teams that have different views on what the value of the company is, get a mutual understanding on what the customer needs the most. It ensures that your team and business understands where your value actually lies. It also encourages you to communicate the most relevant aspects of your products or services. It takes you out of the boardroom mentality – deciding for your customers – into one of considering your customer’s true reality.

Things to consider when doing the value proposition design method

  • Who are you speaking to? Before starting the value proposition design method, try meeting with important influencers of the business and relook your customer segments. Ensure that they are clearly defined, as this will be a point of departure.
  • What does your business have to offer? It’s great to start this method with a deep understanding of your business offerings – a list of all your products and services, customer pain relievers and customer gain creators. This will help you think of your business in relation to what it does for your customer.
  • Do you know the customer? The customer needs to be at the heart of the value proposition design method. Consider jotting down all that you know about your different segments: customer gains, customer pains, and customer jobs. This exercise will help you understand your customers’ current or desired reality.
  • Speak to your customer. If you want more information to help you form a colourful view of your customer, speak to them. You can run focus groups or do indepth interviews (see Indepth Interview method). This will help you find out how they actually engage with your products and services, and how your business makes their lives easier (or even harder).
  • Find the perfect fit. Compare all that you’ve found out about your customer (points 3 – 4), to the areas of your business that speak to those needs the most. This can be done on a value proposition canvas. Where there is fit – between what your customer wants and what you can offer – is where your business value lies.

For those sticky, unfamiliar words and phrases.

Indepth interview:

A one-on-one interview with a respondent, typically an hour long, that aims to dig deeper into the respondent’s behaviour, needs and motivations around a certain topic, through open conversation.

Customer jobs:

Jobs describe the things your customers are trying to get done in their work or life. A customer job could be the tasks they are trying to perform and complete, the problems they are trying to solve, or the needs they are trying to satisfy. Make sure you take the customer’s perspective when investigating jobs. What you think of as important from your perspective might not be a job customers are actually trying to get done.

Customer pains:

Pains describe anything that annoys your customers before, during, and after trying to get a job done or simply prevents them from getting a job done. Pains also describe risks, ie, potential bad outcomes, related to getting a job done badly or not at all.

Customer gains:

Gains describe the outcomes and benefits your customers want. Some gains are required, expected, or desired by customers, and some would surprise them. Gains include functional utility, social gains, positive emotions, and cost savings.

Pain relievers:

Pain relievers describe how exactly your products and services alleviate specific customer pains. They explicitly outline how you intend to eliminate or reduce some of the things that annoy your customers before, during or after they are trying to complete a job or that prevent them from doing so.

Gain creators:

Gain creators describe how your products and services create customer gains. They explicitly outline how you intend to produce outcomes and benefits that your customer expects, desires or would be surprised by, including functional utility, social gains, positive emotions and cost savings.

Hi there. We’ve linked any words that might be unfamiliar to you to a glossary at the bottom.