I wanted to update one of the "star" contents of my blog, How to develop a personal value proposition. There is literature on how to develop the value proposition of a business, company or brand, but there is little about YOUR value proposition as a professional.
And I've included a canvas template to help you develop your personal value proposition.. I hope you find it useful.
History of the Value Proposition
This is not new, Let me put you in context:
The Unique Value Proposition (Usp) It is a marketing concept first proposed as a theory in the decade of 1940 by the great advertiser Rosser Reeves. The concept states that for a product or service to succeed, You must differentiate yourself from your competitors by offering a unique benefit or advantage. This benefit or advantage should be something that other products or services do not offer., and must be desirable to the customer. Example: 9 of each 10 dentists use Colgate, The only one with Gardol, that protects 7 times more tooth loss.
The value proposition, As we understand it today, was developed by Theodore Levitt In 1960. Levitt, an economist and professor at Harvard Business School, He described it as "the unique set of benefits and attributes that a company promises to provide to its customers and that is expected to differentiate the company from its competitors.". Example: Ariel washes whiter.
In the 80, the Saatchi brothers created the SMP, Single Minded Proposition What, Difference from the previous ones, He considered emotional elements and not only rational. Example: British Airways: The World's favourite airline.
Already in 2008, Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur energized the value proposition through the design thinking. They are the authors of international bestsellers “Business Model Generation” "Business Model You" and “Value Proposition Design“. And they are also the creators of the Business Model Canvas and the Value Proposition Canvas.
What about the personal value proposition?
As I said, despite the existing literature, there was no specific model adapted to the personal brand in the form of a canvas or canvas. That's why I was encouraged to create one based on my experience in consulting... and the positive results it has given.
A Value Proposition canvas is a visual tool that helps you identify and articulate the unique value you can deliver., It can help you differentiate yourself from other candidates and show off your skills, Unique capabilities and qualities.
What is a personal value proposition?
It's why someone chooses you—and not someone else—to collaborate on a project., either inside or outside an organization. It includes rational and emotional factors.
Let me give you an example: Ignasi Tintoré is a physician and health consultant, and you could present yourself to your customers like this, As a physician and health consultant. But there is no way to know what Ignasi can do for a company in the health sector.. The personal value proposition, in this case, is defined in this way:
I help professionals and companies in the health sector to improve sales, Benefits and Customer/Employee Experience, Rethinking the business model and managing change. Doctor, MBA, Consultant with 30 years of experience.
The big question I ask you is who do you hire if you have a health center that can improve?? I would have it clear. The personal value proposition tells you how you can improve your company and how Ignasi would work. And besides,, He explains his experience, A guarantee.
A definition that I think is great of a personal value proposition (in this case, applied to trainers and facilitators) is what makes my admired David Barreda in his book The trainer 5.0 (Barrier, David. Lid Editorial. 2021). This is how he defines it:
It is the set of personal and professional variables that combined with each other position you as a preferred option for a certain target audience.. It is what makes them opt for you. The value proposition is defined by the description of the benefits you generate in people, those who are expected and those who are found.
David doesn't stop shining.
Tell me, young, What do I pay you for??
For me, This question is a trigger to work on a personal value proposition. Imagine you work in a large organization, of those in which seeing the president or CEO is difficult. But that day, Luck — or bad luck — has caused you to find yourself with "The Big Boss" in the elevator.
Cold sweat, You know perfectly well who he is. And you're afraid of the worst question he can ask you., ¿Tell me, young, What I pay you for? At that moment, Your body releases a variety of chemicals, including cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol is the “stress hormone” and adrenaline is known as “fight or flight hormone". ¿Still?
If at that moment you only think of explaining the position you hold and that appears on your business card, You have lost the battle.
You have a better option. Take a deep breath, and explain how you make your business go better. That's your value proposition. Don't tell them you're director of digital communications, Tell them that you contribute to increasing the client base using digital media, that so far you have achieved 3.000 New customers with XXXX turnover. That, my friend, That's what that person has asked you.
That's what that person has asked you., will already ask you which team you are on, Who you report to, Etc.
The canvas of the personal value proposition
Here we have the promised canvas. You can download it in PDF without problems in this link: Personal Value Proposition, size A2.
I explain the most effective way to work it, and is collaborative, Team, with people who know you well. Like any design thinking, Collaboration improves the creative process (divergent) and the analytical process (convergent).
1 We empathize with the client: Expectations and brakes
In this upper quadrant we analyze Expectations of customers, as cost savings, Wishes, positive emotions, soluciones, Positive social consequences, Dreams, Strengths, Skills, Quality, yield, Lower risk...
In the sad smiley we include the brakes or fears, as negative emotions, Unexpected expenses, risks, Poor customer experiences, Main difficulties and challenges, Common mistakes made, overtime, barriers to adopting solutions...
2 We analyze the context of the market in which the client moves
On the left side we have, on the one hand, Opportunities market, New technological advances, Advances in health, Improved communications, Pricing scalability, Social and cultural advances, Consolidation of dialogue...
On the other hand, Threats or market problems, Negative trends, Depreciation of assets, Pandemics, Investor apathy, Lehman syndrome, Consequences of bad decisions, automation, Job losses, climate change, Etc.
3 Creativity phase: We define the benefit we generate to the client
In the center of the canvas, I distinguish the benefit focused on putting out a fire (Problems, pain points) or to detect an opportunity for growth.
For example: If in the context phase you have written that the client's industrial sector is suffering from rising energy prices, You can place your promise under the prism of opportunity or problem solving. The opportunity would go through things like creating an energy purchase cooperative among all the companies in an industrial estate., and thus reduce costs. The solution to the problem would be to act in the different areas of the organization to consume less energy..
In addition, The benefits are usually around 5 Axes: Experience (improve or create it), Innovation (improve or create it), Time (Reduce bureaucracy or improve productivity), money (According to the previous example, Spend less or reduce costs) And welfare (cure or prevent).
EXPERIENCE (The most frequent)
Improving the experience is a challenge for most brands and institutions. Some organizations have complex feedback systems to analyze the "pain points" in the experience of their customers. But they forget their employees' experience, which increases the turnover of people and jeopardizes the survival of that organization. And there may be an opportunity.
We call it customer experience, But you can substitute client for patient, consumer, citizen, donor, Partner, member, voter, candidate, Employee, collaborator... Choose the stakeholder that best fits your radius of action.
For example: The E-commerce Not created to reduce the price of products and services, but to improve the consumer experience, Facilitate remote shopping, Save travel time, Transport cost, stress...
There are many organizations that do not measure these experiences., therefore, Here it would not be a question of improving it, but to create it, Before which you can raise a phrase of action such as "I will help you discover (Identify, recognize, locate) why some customers repeat and others don't."
In case of improving it, Once the pain points have been analyzed, You can use expressions like "I'll help you (I will contribute, I will promote actions to...) to increase the average purchase ticket" or "I will design (I will develop, I will formulate, Create) a process to resolve errors in the aftermarket."
One of the goals of organizations is to ensure their future survival., and for this, Innovation is a key element. Some experts, As Laura Rabbits, argue that a minimum of double digits should be billed in innovation (minimal 10%) to achieve that survival.
Many organizations, especially, the smallest or the most bureaucratized (administration...) They are a long way from innovating at that level. This may be a budget issue, But it is usually a problem of closed-mindedness of the decision maker or short-termism.. Let's not kid ourselves, Innovation has a high cost and the results are not always visible in the short term.
The value of innovation can be measured through cost savings, Increased quality, Improved efficiency and increased customer satisfaction. So you see that innovation exerts a transversal effect towards the other four benefits.
But beware, according to a McKinsey study, only the 24 Percent of new businesses launched in the last ten years are now viable companies with sufficient scale.. Other sources place innovation in products and services internally at 3 years with a survival rate of 25%, Let's go that one of each still stands 4 Innovations.
Here you can focus your profit on creating an innovation program or improving the existing one.. Action verbs such as rephrasing, Plan, prioritize, perfect, optimize, evolve, Transforming or "innovating" itself can be of great help.
Time is a classic among the benefits we can offer. Improving productivity is a constant in any business that wants to survive. And aligned with money, They form the most powerful tandem we can imagine.
"Time is money" they say. And that's the way it is.. If you can do a task in 4 hours instead of 7, with the 3 You can do another task leftover.
One of the most used resources that combines time with money is ROI or return on investment., which measures the time to recover an amount that has been invested in a project.
Administrative bureaucracy is usually a real drama in some companies. One thing is "compliance" and another to be drowned with endless forms and impossible contracts. And then there are verticalized companies., like banks, where the value chain is getting lost among the exaggerated hierarchies.
Agile methodologies can help change the culture of many organizations and generate a profound transformation that has impact as its sole objective.
The verbs that fit here are several: Adjust, optimize, avail, minimize, reduce, delimit, act, revise.
Another classic. Any entrepreneur will listen to you when you talk about making more money (Opportunity) or stop losing it (Problem).
Over the years 80, The entrepreneur José Ignacio López de Arriortúa, alias "SuperLópez", was known for his work in improving supply chain management at General Motors and Volkswagen.. Implemented a purchasing system based on quality and price, introducing the use of “Keiretsu” and focusing on improving productivity and efficiency in manufacturing, using techniques such as “Customized mass production” and the use of “Teams” highly specialized.
An example of a value proposition focused on optimizing costs, acting on the supply chain.
I remember a work of personal value proposition applied to "elevator pitch" of a professional of the company Ferrovial a few years ago in a training: "We will get your company to double its turnover in five years. And we will do so by installing it in the United Kingdom thanks to our administrative contacts and the achievements made with 20 similar companies". Spectacular.
Other proposals can focus on the problem, as in the case of companies that do not get returns on their investments in marketing, Logistics or equipment. Or they can focus on reducing energy-related costs, telecommunications or purchase of raw materials.
The action verbs that fit here are to win, Reduce losses, trim, climb, optimize, minimize, monetize, save, resolve, calculate, order, change, modify...
Sectors such as health, nutrition, Tourism, Hospitality, Leisure, Sport, meditation, even religion, are focused on improving your well-being. They represent a significant share of the GDP of almost all countries.
In health, For example, You can focus your benefit on opportunity, Prevention, or the problem, Healing. In tourism you can appeal to fulfill your dreams (Opportunity to get to know places) or to meet your relatives (Opportunity) or to bury them (Problem). Look at this profile, Problem-focused:
I find specialization interesting, that already builds a value proposition in itself "high-risk pregnancy specialist". If you know someone who is at risk for pregnancy, Will you ask for a visit to a normal gynecologist or Dr.. Shore?
In terms of leisure, you can talk about quelling your boredom with a Netflix series (Problem) or to inspire and daydream about the same series (Opportunity).
Restoration focuses on solving basic needs, for example with a menu of 12 Euros, But what happens if you add a value to that menu?? I know restaurants that have added fresh fish dishes with a supplement of 3 Euros on the menu of 12. Who wins? The restaurant, that will bill more, And you, that you will enjoy the freshness and health of the sea.
There is also a catering sector focused on pleasure, to discovery, to the experience. Starred restaurants seek pleasure and experience. Ethnic restaurants seek discovery. But let's never forget that the positive experience also comes through the environment., The service and treatment of the head waiter, An essential figure that complements the chef.
In sport you can talk about avoiding broken bones, muscle flaccidity or aging (Problem) or you can focus it on inner beauty, rejuvenate, be in top shape (Opportunity). Everyone must understand which resource attracts the most.
You can use some verbs like explore, discover, inform, warn, cure, improve, appreciate, appraise, prioritize, dream, imagine, fly, taste, Experience, enjoy...
4. Credibility phase, what do you do to achieve the goal?
A benefit without justification is a simple promise, An expectation. Any benefit must be supported by the Action, What do you do to achieve the goal? What endorses you?
Here it is fitting to explain with great brevity and precision (That's vital.) the services and products you offer to achieve these benefits, Organization from which you do it (if there is one), The advantages of these services or products. Also the achievements achieved with other clients, experiences.
If you say you will reduce by a 20% energy expenditure, But you don't explain how, No more opportunity to be credible and connect. We must give the maximum Confidence in the shortest and most forceful explanation possible.
If you explain that you will double the turnover of a company in a few years taking it to another country, It's great, but explains how, with whom, how long you've been doing it...
5. Differentiation phase, why me?
You have managed to convince, Understanding the person and their context, proposing a solution and explaining how you will carry it out. But, What if there are other professionals offering something similar??
Factors that may be rational intervene here., as your training, your experience, Your skills, Languages. But also attitudes, Personality elements, Hobbies, Values, Beliefs. For example: "Long-distance runner, I never give up.", or "I'm not afraid of challenges."
This part is difficult, Because it implies "opening up", Show certain interiorities. But we live in a time when attitudes, Values and purpose can become the factor of choice. Think.
I remember, that in a workshop in one of the "big four" I met a professional, Senior Manager, who didn't know how to spot that differential. She was an auditor. And her teammates said all the clients wanted to work with her because she always had a smile and positive predisposition.. We change a "senior manager" for "Auditor specialized in real estate at EY Madrid. Auditing with a smile."
What do you prefer? To a gray guy, serious and unempathetic or a girl with a smile who does her job just as well as the gray guy? I would be clear.
Areas of the Personal Value Proposition Canvas
You'll see that each color area corresponds to a different goal. The first, at the top, Try to empathize with your client, looking for the internal part of the personal SWOT, but not in terms of strengths and weaknesses, but to brakes and illusions.
The context part completes the customer empathy part, with external SWOT, threats and opportunities. The plant, of benefits, is the area of relevance or value, The most important part of the value proposition.
The bottom is the area of action, What you do to achieve that benefit. And the right side is the area of difference, The last item before an election.
You got it? Now comes the good stuff: Write the personal value proposition
With the previous ingredients of the personal value proposition canvas, it is time to put order and create one or a few sentences that define your proposal with maximum clarity.
Surely you will have to take into account the place where you are going to communicate it.
It can be in a presentation pitch or elevator speech, In this case very brief, like the one used in the 30" video of the LinkedIn presentation history that you can include in your profile picture. Here you can watch and listen my "pitch" on LinkedIn.
You can also adapt it to the LinkedIn title, For example, the one Eva Collado Durán:
"I value people and organizations to find, develop and project your best version in a changing environment, complex and digitized. Consultora, Trainer, International lecturer and writer".
The use in your presentation story "live" on certain occasions can favor the use of the value proposition. An example: I give a Personal Branding class to 4th grade students. I have two options:
1 Introduce myself as a specialist in Personal Branding with a lot of experience
2 Introduce myself explaining that during those two hours I will help them identify, Develop and make your personal brand visible, and that they will have to work hard and actively participate
Which of the two options do you think will motivate them the most to listen to me??
When writing you can use the client's context as an introduction in the form of an insight: "A company in the health sector is not sustainable with less than one 20% of benefit". That captures the attention to shoot the dart... "My mission is to help boost sales., Manage costs and improve patient and employee experience. And I do it by rethinking the business model, Adjusting internal organization and managing change, using proven instruments and technologies."
Examples of Personal Value Proposition
Examples of bad personal value propositions I see on social media are "in search of active employment" or "open to work", since they do not transfer any value to the company that could hire you. An "open to learn" would be more practical, For example, But I insist on focusing the benefit very well (Value, Relevance) and the difference.
And now let's go to the good proposals:
Co-founder WeEQUAL, Advisor and Advisor. I help companies compete successfully in VUCA environments by managing diversity, Equality and inclusion.
Driving senior leadership in service of purpose to improve self-confidence, Sense of life and personal communication from executive coaching and an experience of 30 years in various countries.
I accompany you to identify your TALENT, put it in ACTION and give it VISIBILITY.
Real Estate Consultant and Guide. Regional Director of RE/MAX RD. 34 years creating solutions. I'm driven by challenges.
I promote collaborative leadership, Respectful of people and cultures, helping you transform beliefs, Gain confidence, and show your most personal side. My DNA: Enthusiasm, Pragmatism, Closeness and Humor
I facilitate the digital transformation process for professionals in the pharmaceutical industry | Digital Ambassador at Viatris | Medical Visitor cardiometabolic specialist | Blogger at Kike Maceda's Blog
In cities like Barcelona and Madrid, There are few specialists in building sales. I bring peace of mind and transparency throughout the process of selling buildings for investors, Promoters and family offices. I have 20 years of exclusive experience in the sale of buildings, with more than 200 Transactions made. Working with a database of about 250 Potential buyers, and my average time to close trades is 45 Days. They see me as a close person., with the ability to listen and understand my clients. Resolutory, visionary and persevering.
International Project Manager | I provide solutions to global problems using the best technological and software tools for management.
Innovation is key to growth and the future of a company.
Would you like to strengthen the Innovation STRATEGY in your company while fostering a creative CULTURE?, Agile and people-centric (Consumers, Customers and collaborators)? I help you achieve your goals by helping you to INNOVATE IN AN AGILE AND PROFITABLE WAY.
Software companies are very attractive to investors. That implies the need for rapid growth to compete and generate revenue.. Growth Marketing helps me accelerate the growth of SaaS Startups.
I define myself as a Creative Marketing Analytics. My training combines Economics, Marketing, Advertising, Analytics and MarTech. My career has been developed in technology and B2B companies.
Running and meditating help me plan, overcoming difficulties, Dose efforts, Be disciplined and achieve goals like finishing a marathon and getting quick returns for my clients.
I promote the sustainability of industries through industrial design engineering and industry 4.0 to address complex problems and lead to efficient solutions, Integrated and measurable. I believe in and support diversity and STEAM women as agents of change.
I hope I've been of help. If you need support, I wait for you in the contact section. And now, as an extra, I leave you an interview that Ilana Berenholc did in 2018 on the value proposition.
Annex. Value Proposal: Do you know what yours is?
A few days ago, my personal colleague brander and dear friend Ilana Berenholc interviewed me about the value proposition for the blog of the Brazilian subsidiary of AICI (Association of Image Consultants International). Here you can read the post titleValue Proposal: Voc knows qual é a sua? .
I found it interesting to translate it (with the help of Google) Spanish in case Portuguese costs you. There goes that:
Value Proposal: you know what yours is?
In Brazil, Image Consultants complain that the market is saturated and, when we look closely, the feeling is that everyone does the same thing. How to fix this problem?
This is a serious problem because, if the perception is that everyone does the same thing, they simply become Commodities. The price goes down more and more and the customer does not mind choosing one or the other professional, because they don't see any difference between professionals.
In personal branding, we work not only on how to achieve relevance and difference, but above all how to identify the value proposition: why choose one consultant and not another? what's the value you're going to add to one or the other based on your experience, of his abilities, of their values, of the way they do things?
Image consultants, what I would say is that they work their own brand, find your differential, separate your offer from the rest. Separating means adding more value than others. However, it's easier said than done.
How would you define the value proposition?
I'm a publicist. For me, a brand is a unique value proposition. So, a personal brand is a unique proposal of personal value. It's as important what we do as how we do it.
The value proposition answers a question: What problem do I solve? And also, in another approach what opportunity do I detect?.
If I say I'm an Image Consultant, I'm using a definition of my professional activity. But that's not a value proposition.. A value proposition would be to say “I get my clients to stand out and improve their career profile thanks to my work”. This is a value proposition.
The value proposition focuses on your client, not in you. Talk about image consultant, career consultant or staff brander does not solve any problems for the client. The way to solve problems is by explaining to your client exactly how it will get from point A to point B.
To work on the value proposition, I recommend answering these four questions:
- What is the problem we solve? (pain)
- What is the opportunity we detected? (gain)
- What is the need we meet?
- What are the benefits we bring?
Here are four different ways to find our value proposition.
An example: If you define yourself as “senior manager”, I can't know what problem you solve. “Senior manager” just explains the professional category within the company. However, if you focus it as a “promote the development of professional certifications for different groups”, here I understand perfectly the problem you solve. In the first case, you just say what your position is within the company, and in the second, you give an answer to your client's needs.
Another example is Sarah Harmon, Head of Spain & Portugal Linkedin Talent Solutions, that in his profile, instead of writing his professional title as his position, Wrote Chief Motivator - LinkedIn Iberia, transforming the way companies hire, sell and grow. (Motivator chief on Iberia's LinkedIn, transform the way companies hire, sell and grow). In this way, explains the problem it solves for businesses.
Eye! We cannot create a value proposition that is not based on a reality
Our value proposition is made up of a number of attributes. If we look at a well-known brand, for example IKEA, the attributes we recognize most are price and design, attributes that no one had united before. Our value proposition is made up of rational and emotional attributes, those most derived from our values. And it's much harder to imitate an emotional attribute.
My advice to all professionals who seem cloned to others is to work hard their value proposition. I recognize that this is not easy in any personal branding process, but it's the key to differentiating. I recommend that it be done with the help of a specialist, a brander staff or someone who can understand the identity of the professional: How exactly am I? How do others see me? What are my hidden attributes that I don't know?
As a summary, value proposition is something that answers three questions: what problems we solve, what opportunities we detect, what needs we cover. To do this, we need to understand our main attributes, and for that we need the help of someone who understands how we really are. It is important that we understand that we are made up of rational and emotional elements, which are connection elements.
On values, you claim that transmitting is better than explaining. Explain it to me.
The person who is aware of their values can use them in their communication. But there are nuances. If I tell you I'm a supportive person, that I like to help others or that I'm altruistic is one thing. If you see me on Instagram helping an NGO, I'm conveying those values in a much more powerful way than explaining it.
There are several ways to express our values; we can put words, Videos, images and other things. If a person posts a video singing with their child on Instagram Stories, that conveys vitality, Joy, transmits a quantity of information that another format would not allow.
We have to understand the game we get with social media, knowing that everyone has their code. LinkedIn is not the same as Instagram. The latter allows us to better show not only who we are, but how we are. We must use more facts and less words. We have to use all means not only to explain what our professional offer is., but also explain who we are, how we are, and how we can help.
Is there a risk that professionals will submit similar value proposals?
Of course there is.. The thing is, we know our competitors very well., but our customers don't. And, Often, who wins is the one who has the best SEO, the one who managed to position his website better than the others. And that's something we have to fight against.. Often, the first one that appears on the Internet is not the best.
The important thing is that we have testimonies that guarantee that we are good and that show that we work in a way that no one else works. We need to build on the momentum that good feedback from our customers can give us to fight these SEO experts.
The difference can come with testimonies of our work. This is the best way to fight our competitors who don't have the same level as us.
I understand that Brazil is a country with a lot of competition – there is no place in the world with so many professionals who are working in the same area. To do this, working on the value proposition is essential.
The value proposition is only for those who already have experience or someone who is just starting out now can also identify yours?
Both can identify and compete on an equal footing. Someone who starts can not use his previous experience, but you can base your value proposition on your competencies.
A young person has few vices and has the advantage of being able to adapt to the customer's needs because they are less contaminated. Release more energy. And in common with experts, has the support of its values, that may be your way of connecting with your customers. Young people work more easily in the digital environment and can also use this competition as a differential. They also have a more modern and up-to-date training, and more creativity, it's a brutal weapon.
It may be more difficult for young people to work with a president of a 50 Years, but they can start working with other customer profiles. There's an English phrase that I really like that translated would be “Collect the apples from the tree that are at your fingertips first.”
Anything else to end?
We have to use a crossmedia strategy, using a lot of means. We have to get back on the idea that offline media has a unique advantage. If you show up in an interview for a TV show, within a few hours you'll be on the TV channel's digital portal. You'll benefit from both environments – OFF and ON – in a single interview. The same goes for a magazine, an interview on the radio (with his podcast)… If I can give you some advice it's that, even though today there's a great digital offering, we should remember that most offline media have an online mirror, so it's worth not forgetting that there's a world with a big audience, which also has digital repercussions.
Convinced that everything leaves a mark, I help companies better connect with their stakeholders through personal branding programs (personal brand management) and employee advocacy (programs of branded internal ambassadors).
Socio of Soymimarca's Integra Personal Branding, Brand Directory of Omnia Branding, I also collaborate with Ponte en Valor, Brandergizers, MoreThanLaw, Noema Consulting and Quifer Consultores.
I participate in various programs at IESE, ISDI and EAE, among others. Collegiate advertising, Master in Marketing. Humanities Degree Student.
My advertising DNA comes from 20 years in agencies: Time/BBDO, J.W.T., Bassat Ogilvy, Saatchi & Saatchi, Altraforma and TVLowCost among others.