Creating the Value Proposition of your “Green” Idea


Tasks

You are working on a newly established start-up that has an idea to develop a “green” product. A green product is a sustainable product designed to minimize its environmental impacts during its whole life cycle and even after it’s of no use.

You with your teammates are well informed that in order this green product to succeed in the market a strong value proposition should be in place. The problem is that you have never developed a value proposition, neither any member of your team. You know that you have to decide which type of value you want to act on, based on the profile of your target group, in order to be in a position of communicating this value to your prospect customers effectively, but you don’t know what procedure to follow to come up with its value proposition. You make a quick research on the available tools that can help you with the value proposition creation and you find that there is a really effective tool, the “Value Proposition Canvas” that is used by the successful companies all over the world. You decide to deploy it to create the value proposition of this “green” product and then to create a draft of a one-page website site in order to present and promote your product to the market by using this value proposition as the most powerful element of this web page.

Process

Step 1: Value Proposition: What it is, how it works, and why you need it!

It’s the first day of this task implementation! You know that during this process you have to cooperate with your colleagues in order to develop a strong value proposition and to create the one-page website draft. But you also know that your team members don’t know exactly what a value proposition is. You decide to prepare a short presentation to inform them about what a value proposition is, how it works and why you need it for launching your green product.

You read a book about this topic and some articles as well, but you don’t feel so confident in training the others on this. You are aware that a value proposition is a statement that paints a clear picture of what your product/brand has to offer for prospects and that it refers to:

  • How your product or service solves/improves problems
  • What benefits customers can expect
  • Why customers should buy from you over your competitors

but you need more information. In order to get it, visit the following articles and keep notes while you are finding answers to the questions what a value proposition is, how it works and why your start-up needs it:

Now you have gathered all the information you need proceed with step 2!

Step 2:  The “Value Proposition Canvas” and how to use it!  

Except for providing information to your colleagues about what a value proposition is you have to introduce them with the business tool called “Value Proposition Canvas” as you and your teammates decided to implement the 2 next steps (step 3 and 4) together. Collaborative work is a must when a company wants to develop a strong value proposition for a new product.

You continue your research in order to find as many resources as you can about the “Value Proposition Canvas” which is a tool that can help ensure that a product or service is positioned around what the customer values and needs. The Value Proposition Canvas was initially developed by Dr Alexander Osterwalder as a framework to ensure that there is a fit between the product and market. But of course, you need more information about this very important business tool that can be found at the official website of the company that developed it: https://www.strategyzer.com/canvas/value-proposition-canvas. Use the download form that is included in this web page and get canvas and then watch the video that explains how this canvas is used: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReM1uqmVfP0. Learn more regarding the real value of this canvas and get introduced with some ready-made examples by visiting: https://designabetterbusiness.com/2017/10/12/how-to-really-understand-your-customer-with-the-value-proposition-canvas/. And in order to be ready to fill the value proposition canvas out in the right way you need some additional instructions that are available at:  https://isaacjeffries.com/blog/2018/2/27/how-to-fill-in-a-value-proposition-canvas.

Now you are ready to present your finding of step 1 and 2 to your colleagues, the people that you are going to cooperate with to develop the value proposition of the green product you want to introduce to the market. Don’t forget to show them some examples of strong value propositions and to explain in detail the procedure of filling out the value proposition canvas! Devote as much time as needed to this meeting so as to be sure that everybody is ready for the implementation of the next steps. Be prepared to answer any question your teammates may have!

Step 3: Developing the Customer Profile!

You and  your team members know how a strong value propositions looks like and it’s time to use the value proposition canvas to describe the value of your green product and the target customer segment in more detail and to evaluate the “fit” between the value you intent to create and the expectations your customers have.

You gather all together in a quite room and you have the following materials available:

  • Value Proposition Canvas Poster: Ideally in B1 format (707mm x 1000mm or 27.83in x 39.37in)
  • Medium sized post-it in three different colours
  • Markers to be used to write on the post-its and not on the canvas itself
  • A smart phone to capture the results and share them with the other start-up employees or for showing on Instagram on what your team is working!

Start by filling out the right part of the canvas, responsible for the customer profile. Write down the name of the customer segment, the group of people you want to have as customers for your product. Then, describe what jobs-different tasks-a specific customer of yours is trying to get done. Use one post-it for every job you intend to help your customer get done. Proceed with adding the pains and gains your customer experiences or could experience before, during and after getting the job done. Use again one post-it for every gain and pain you want to include in the canvas. Pains are the negative experiences might be associated with the described jobs and gains are the benefits your customer expects, desires or would be surprised by. Write as many pains and gains as you can!

For developing your customers’ profile successfully, you have to empathise them. To think as they think, to feel as they feel! Observe them and put yourselves in their shoes!

You can find certain questions that can help you fill out this part of the canvas at: https://productcoalition.com/value-proposition-canvas-6d5edec84bca and a step-by-step example at: https://isaacjeffries.com/blog/2018/2/27/how-to-fill-in-a-value-proposition-canvas.

Additionally, watch the following three videos that explain the meaning of the terms “Jobs”, “Pains” and “Gains”:

Don’t forget that all team members have to tell their ideas and express their opinions with respect to the others. Set some ground rules from the beginning in order to avoid any misunderstanding and to ensure that all the voices will be heard!

When you will have done with filling out the three sections of the customer profile, check all the post-its again and remove those that you think that are not relevant with your product.

After completing this step and all of you are happy with the result of this group working session continue with step 4!

Step 4:  Discovering the value of our product!

Now it’s time to find out what you are giving to those customers in response to their jobs, pains and gains. Again, you work as a team!

Start the implementation of this step by focusing on the left side of the canvas, the squared part which is also divided into three sections and is called “Value Proposition”. These three sections correspond to the relevant customer profile parts and refer to the features, functionality and benefits your product can offer not only to attract the customer but also to meet its requirements from the right part. First of all describe your product. List those features that can help your customer to get his/her jobs done and the different versions of the product, if applicable. Then outline how you intend to create value by describing how your product is killing customer pains or creating customer gains. Again, for each feature, pain killer and gain creator use one post-it. It is strongly recommended to use the same colour for pain killers as the one you used for pains in the customer profile section. The same applied for the other two sections. 

You can find certain questions that can help you fill out this part of the canvas at: https://university.hygger.io/en/articles/1818952-questions-for-value-proposition-canvas  and a step-by-step example at: https://www.feedough.com/value-proposition-canvas/

Additionally, watch the following videos that explain what pain relievers and gain creators are:

Finally, check Amazon’s value proposition canvas filled out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfdnBOtA_dY.

Thank your colleagues for the cooperation, take a picture of the completed value proposition canvas and continue with step 5!

Step 5: Develop the value proposition of your “green” product!

Having in front of you the image with the completed value proposition canvas for your green product you have to develop its value proposition statement that says in simple words what value, what benefits your product offers to your customers. There are several ways you can follow in order to structure your value proposition that can be found at: http://torgronsund.com/2011/11/29/7-proven-templates-for-creating-value-propositions-that-work/.

Try to use all the different forms provided in the above-mentioned article by incorporating the most important parts of the content you and your teammates developed while working with the value proposition canvas (step 3 and 4).

You need to devote time during this process as it’s not easy to come up with a strong value proposition in some minutes.

Get some tips from these two articles:

and get inspired by some winning value propositions that can be found at: https://www.webfx.com/blog/marketing/9-value-proposition-examples-to-convince-and-convert-customers/.

After having at least 7 alternatives for your value proposition, write an email to your teammates with whom you cooperated in task 3 and 4, including the list with your newly developed value propositions. Ask them to vote for their favourite one. Pick the most popular one and proceed with step 6!   

Step 6: Design a one-page website for your “green” product!

You have in your hands a strong value proposition! But it’s useless if you don’t communicate it to your prospect customers. Neil Patel, guru in online marketing, wrote in an article: “A website tells a lot about a business. It shows how much thought the business puts into its brand and whether it values having a website. Unfortunately, far too many companies don’t really value their websites and don’t get the full benefit out of them. They neglect design, website copy, and other important essentials. They put the focus only on making sales. This results in a really bad website and leaves visitors unsure if the company is the best one to do business with. This is why it’s so important to have a value proposition. A website needs to tell visitors in a couple of sentences or less why their business is the best choice for the visitor, instead of sending a bunch of different messages that won’t be received.” Read his article by visiting the link:https://neilpatel.com/blog/importance-of-value-propositions/.

Now that you are convinced that a value proposition and a website are closely related you have to design, by sketching it, a one-page website for your “green” product. A One Pager is a Single Page website with no additional pages like About, Team or Services. All the content sits within the same webpage, traditionally in a long-scrolling layout.

Take many blank pieces of paper and a pencil. Have in front of you your value proposition statement and the photo you took with the completed value proposition canvas. Before you start creating your prototypes, your sketches, get some information about what a one-page website is at: https://onepagelove.com/what-is-a-one-page-website. Check also how a one-page website looks like at: https://www.pagecloud.com/blog/one-page-websites and get inspired by some example at:

Finally read the following article that provides some tips on how to create a beautiful one-page website: https://www.wix.com/blog/2018/08/how-to-create-one-page-website/.

Unleash your creativity and start sketching! Place the value proposition of your product on the top and then analyse it in the different sections of your website. Come up with 3 different ideas regarding the design and content of your one-page website and arrange a meeting with your teammates you have already cooperated with, in order to show what you created and to make a decision which option to follow! Discuss with them the opportunity you have to develop your first website for your “green” product by yourselves, as you are a newly established start-up with no budget to spend for developing a website. Yes, you can do it by using free templates available on the web. Learn about it at: https://colorlib.com/wp/cat/one-page/.  

Evaluation

Knowledge

  • Basic knowledge about entrepreneurial value creation
  • Basic knowledge about illustrating the value of an idea
  • Factual knowledge about the impact of opportunity taking on a personal level, in a group and on the surrounding community

Skills

  • Recognise the potential of an idea for creating value
  • Recognise what makes an opportunity to create value
  • Identify personal, social and professional opportunities for creating value

Attitudes

  • Increased regard to different needs of various groups
  • Awareness of the impact of innovation on the society
  • Awareness of personal skills and competences

As a self- assessment exercise for this WebQuest, please answer to the following questions:

  • What were some of the most interesting discoveries I made while working on this project? About the problem? About myself? About others?
  • What were some of my most challenging moments and how I manage to overcome them?
  • What were some of my most powerful learning moments and why?
  • How well did I and my team communicate overall?
  • Were my milestones and goals mostly met, and how much did I deviate from them if any?
  • What would I do differently if I were to approach the same problem again?

And complete the self-assessment quiz that can be found at: https://forms.gle/kwrFbpkuVU9y9jLw7

Conclusion

You just experienced the whole process of developing a value proposition for a new product your start-up wants to launch and of creating a draft of the one-page website that will promote this new product. During this journey you had to conduct research in order to learn more about what a value proposition is, to find out how you with your teammates could make effective use of the Value Proposition Canvas and finally develop a strong value proposition. Additionally, you enhanced your team working skills and you enriched your IT skills. Congratulations!

Your next stop should be to exploit the power of your winning value proposition and to apply what you have already learned in other projects! The journey has just started!

“First, you must have entrepreneurs who fully grasp their customers. They understand their product so well because they themselves are customers. The second thing is having an awesome value proposition.”

Craig Sherman

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash