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Winner's store opening in Toronto on Bloor Street West, Nov.16, 2005.
Winner's store opening in Toronto on Bloor Street West, Nov.16, 2005.

Grow: Mark Healy

You have eight seconds to hook a consumer Add to ...

I have been in a number of situations over the past few weeks where the term “brand” has surfaced, and I have subsequently been challenged by numerous stakeholders.

At the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) national convention a few weeks ago, I watched participants at a breakout session become visibly frustrated with a lack of clarity on the definition of brand by the presenter. And at a client meeting last week, some heads of business units in the company pushed back hard on an agency lead, asking what exactly he meant by brand.

In each case, the debate was healthy, and in each case the consensus was that brand, in those circumstances, really meant value proposition: a promise you make to the market and then attempt to deliver on.

Clarity of value proposition is on a lot of managers’ minds right now. As is growth, and the two are connected.

Jeff Hayzlett, former CMO of Kodak, who spoke at the CMA, has a rule he calls “the 118.” His research shows a communicated value proposition has eight seconds to “hook” a consumer, and another 110 seconds to close the deal. Whether you believe this rule or not, developing a simple, compelling and very clear value proposition is critical to landing net-new business.

Two concepts we often help clients with are:

• How to develop a straight-forward and persuasive value proposition.

• How to articulate that value proposition.

Refining the value proposition

Here is an example of a refined value proposition, from Winners: The latest brand names for up to 60-per-cent off. Everyone understands it. And it’s powerful.

Value propositions are typically about answering three core questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do?
  3. What makes you special?

That’s the Winners model. There are many approaches and techniques that work well at getting to a clear and compelling value proposition.

Most organizations use a three-step process:

  1. Internal competencies review
  2. Customer demand and perspective.
  3. Development and articulation.

Working through them as a group is typically better than conducting an internal survey or voting on potential options. Planning for an offsite is preferable as it gives distance and perspective to issues you may have been dealing with for some time.

June 28: An in-depth look at each of the three steps. Look for it on the Report on Small Business website.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Mark Healy, P.Eng, MBA, is a partner at Satov Consultants – a management consultancy with practice areas in corporate strategy, customer strategy and operations strategy. Mark’s focus areas inside the customer strategy practice include consumer insights, customer experience, innovation and go-to-market strategy. He is a regular speaker and media contributor on topics ranging from marketing to strategy, in telecom, retail and other sectors. Mark is known as much for his penchant for loud socks and a healthy NFL football obsession as he is for his commitment to Ivey and recent Ivey grads. He currently serves as chair of the Ivey Alumni Association board of directors. Mark lives with his wife Charlotte and their bulldog McDuff in Toronto.

Join The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT

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Follow on Twitter: @healymark

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