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What is Your Value Proposition?

Would you rather have Mountain Dew or Citrus Drop?


Have you even tried Citrus Drop?

A few years ago when I was teaching at an inner-city school, we would have celebrations for the kids with food and drink. If I furnished drinks, I might bring in Citrus Drop or other store-brand sodas.

Another teacher criticized me and told me that these kids deserved Coke and Mountain Dew just like my kids at home.

I quietly looked at him and advised him that this was the same soda my kids got at home if they got soda at all. Though he didn’t apologize, which might have been even more awkward, he did immediately end his lecture.

The students we worked with were one step from jail or expulsion. To a lot of people, those students aren’t worth as much as regular students. My co-teacher wanted them to know they were worth just as much as any other student.

It’s all about perception.

How much is something valued? If one thing is valued more than another, there is going to be a stronger market for it.

Whenever a copywriter puts fingers to keys, she should be aware of the value proposition her client’s product or service offers.

To be clear about a value proposition, Oxford says “(in marketing) an innovation, service, or feature intended to make a company or product attractive to customers.”

Mountain Dew has become a premium brand. when consumers drink a Mountain Dew, they’re drinking the best citrus soda available. And some of that shine, that premium-ness passes on to the consumer.

Think about the copy and images. Someone who drinks Mountain Dew goes mountain biking and white river rafting. This stuff must be amazing!

People who drink Citrus Drop…go to the grocery store.

Every time you create copy or content, the consumer needs to see themselves using the product and how it makes them better off than they were before.

Marketing Sherpa says your Value Proposition should be appealing and have exclusivity.

Today is Father’s Day. In a quick run to the store, there was a display of Old Spice products. I have memories of giving my dad a gift pack for holidays more than once. He was always pleased, and it generated positive memories.

By invoking those memories, Old Spice’s Value Proposition is both appealing and exclusive to their product. I could buy another product, but it wouldn’t have the same connections. If your product brings about those positive emotions and memories, consumers will want to repeat them.

I can’t be sure another product would produce the same results, so as long as your product works, I’ll be loyal. Which means as a copywriter, you need to know why the customer buys your client’s product and how it makes them feel in order to build a strong Value Proposition.

If we return to the soda example from earlier, you may think that Citrus Drop should just discontinue. That’s not true. It’s not a bad product, and there is a market for a lower priced product. The more premium Mountain Dew becomes, the higher its cost. In addition, store brands frequently mimic the premium brand. There’s a Mountain Thunder out there. Have you ever gotten home and found you have the wrong item because it looked like the other?

As a writer, you won’t be developing a lot of copy for a store brand, but there are still lessons to learn.

In the small city where I live, there are three breakfast restaurants. Two of them are major chains. The other is a local independent. They all have a similar menu. I didn’t know about the local restaurant until a friend said we needed to try it. Its location isn’t as obvious as the others.

I gotta tell you, I wasn’t blown away by the food even though my friend swears by it. But if I had to come up with a Value Proposition I could.

For some, the appeal would be the fact its local and one of a kind. Those are also exclusive because the two chains can’t make those claims. The woman behind the counter knows whether she’s seen you before or not. The servers know the orders by heart of their regulars. The menu boasts homemade cinnamon rolls. Its independent nature is what sets it apart.

Perhaps on their website, “Restaurant where we’re always glad to see you, and we have a homemade cinnamon roll with your name on it.”

People want to be wanted. They want to know you have something special just for them. If you can make customers feel that way, they’ll be back. Just look at the line waiting to get in.

Synthia Dove can make a mean cinnamon roll herself but nothing to compare with her mom’s or grandma’s. However, her copywriting always rises to the top. Degrees in Business, English, and Education give her unique perspectives. If you need help finding your business’s Value Proposition, she can help. Contact her at

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