A Value Preposition

Value = ConfidenceThe proper use of the English language is an art. Some people have the ability to create beautiful works in prose and poetry using the same words with which another might cause confusion or offense. Words can be like oxygen, raising the human spirit. They can also be like blowing an air horn in the middle of a beautiful symphony. (Personally, I think that would be pretty cool, but you know what I mean.)

There are rules in the use of language just as there are in writing music or in painting. But some artists break the rules purposefully in order to communicate their messages in better ways.

Today I’m going to do that very thing: I’m going to write poorly, but I will do so with unique purpose and intent: To give you confidence and help you to move your business forward.

The use of a preposition at the end of a sentence can sound pretty ugly. “Where are you at?” or “Use the hammer to hit the nail with” are good examples of bad form. There are two additional phrases I’ve written which are also in bad form, but which will help you communicate your corporate message with greater power. They are, “What am I good at?” and “What am I good for?” To me, these poorly phrased questions are the air horn at the symphony. But for you, they can be a powerful tool.

Strong businesses use a marketing device called a Value Proposition. A well-crafted Value Proposition is a statement that clearly communicates what the business does, and why it is of value. It is the raison d’etre — the reason for being – of an enterprise. A well-worded Value Proposition promotes the efficient use of organizational resources, develops employee engagement, generates a positive customer response, and drives sales.

Let’s go through a thinking process using a real-life service, the Google search engine.

Google’s search engine helps us find what we seek. But to describe it as a tool that “searches through a lot of information” is neither clear nor compelling. Let’s see if we can create a more captivating Value Proposition using my two-phrase model.

“What Google is good at” is sorting through the breadth and depths of human knowledge. “What it’s good for” is making that world of information useful. So our simple and compelling Value Proposition for Google might be, “A search engine that instantly sorts through voluminous amounts of information, making it useful.”

Applied to your organization, the activities of the organization – what it does – are recreated in the form of compelling value. Apply this model to you, yourself, and you will identify not only what you do well, but also the value others find in you as a result.

People may have an interest in what your company does, but what they buy is the value you create. Now I invite you to practice creating your own Value Proposition, and be sure to use the prepositions I’ve ended with.


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