The Value Proposition Canvas is an essential tool that allows you to plan the development of a new product or the improvement of an existing one in a way that meets customer needs. Here is an explanation of what it is and how it is made. 

As I told you in the last article devoted to the value proposition, the key to any brand's success is being able to meet people's needs. This is what will attract them and make them come back to you again and again.

Well, said like that, it also sounds simple....

But of course you know yourself that this is a daunting task and one that can really put you on the spot. When you're launching a new product (or trying to refine an existing one), it can be hard to know where to start-especially if you don't have a plan to follow.

Designing an offering by trying to imagine how it can solve problems and needs of the target audience is not always so straightforward. Not to mention that competition is now so high in all sectors, and you also have to find the right way to differentiate yourself.

It is not enough to say, "My product is the best around": it is also necessary to effectively explain and clearly communicate what its value.

Each head is a world unto itself--and the needs of the target audience are a mix of often contradictory factors.

How then to understand what people need? How to identify the value to be offered for position yourself in the market, increase the brand awareness, propose yourself as industry expert And ultimately see your business grow?

There is a fantastic tool that can help you do this in a systematic way: the Value Proposition Canvas.

Its strength lies in guiding you to understand customers' problems and consequently make products and services that solve them: it allows you to define the why people purchase. 

Said in other words, it is essential to understand the value of your product from the customer's point of view.

Perhaps you have come across the Value Proposition Canvas before, but thought it was too difficult for your taste; or you have no idea what it is.

No problem: you can find everything you need to know here, explained in a simple way.

So let's take a look at What this tool is and how you can benefit from it.

Value Proposition Canvas: what it is

Let's imagine that you want to launch a new product in the market; or, you want to revamp an existing service because you realized you could perfect it.

In both cases, the starting point is obviously the analysis of your customers, that is, their needs, problems and desires.

If you don't know where to start to do this, the Value Proposition Canvas is one of the best business tools.

Created by a Swiss business theorist, a certain Alexander Osterwalder, it helps you get a clear picture of How one of your products or services can match customers' needs.

Before we get into this issue, however, let us take a small step back.

In order to understand what this is all about, you must in fact be clear about the concept of value proposition, which is the statement that contains why your product is the best solution for your customers. It should highlight how it solves a problem, the additional benefits it offers, and why it is superior to other options on the market.

If you want to know more, run and read yourself my article in this regard ๐Ÿ˜‰

Okay, with all that in mind, what do you need the Value Proposition Canvas for? It is simply a way to visualize your value proposition: helps you concretize it, give it structure, through shapes and sections.

Kind of like a perceived value map By customers.

At first glance, it is nothing more than a sheet of paper, a framework, with a large square on the left and a circle on the right, which relate to your value proposition and customer profile, respectively. Together they are intended to provide an understanding of the features and functionality that a product should possess to meet the requirements of a particular category of users.

You can think of it as a graph, consisting of several boxes; your task is then to fill in these fields in as much detail as possible.

Thus get a clear picture of what you need to achieve your goal. The idea behind it is to ensure that your offering is positioned around what the customer values and needs.

Value Proposition Canvas: the structure

Now that you know what a Value Proposition Canvas is, let's take a closer look at it to understand how it is structured.

As I told you, it is a graph divided into two main blocks: on the left you find a square and on the right a circle, both divided into three parts. They are the focus of this model, because they respectively focus on the "what" e "to whom".

value proposition canvas

In other words, it expresses how your company delivers value to your audience-the goal is in fact to enable you to find the effective connection between what the customer wants and what your brand can offer.

The circle: Customer profile

The circle represents the client's profile and contains needs, desires and obstacles to their achievement. It is the starting point of your research; the three sections into which it is divided include the tasks they want to accomplish and the positive and negative experiences associated with them, namely:

  • Customer activities;
  • Difficulty;
  • Advantages.

Let's look at each part in more detail.

Customer activities

These are all the activities that clients are trying to accomplish: they can include problems solved, tasks accomplished, or any other need they wish to fulfill. They can be of three types: 

  • Functional: simple and practical tasks (e.g., driving from point A to point B);
  • Social: things customers have to do (or feel they have to do) as part of their role in society or their relationships; dependent on a sense of social duty, optimism, fear, or aspiration (e.g., choosing an environmentally friendly car);
  • Emotional: things that customers want to do based on their preferences or feelings; derived from preferences, likes, and insecurities (e.g., choosing a car that they like aesthetically).

Difficulty

They are the negative experiences, emotions, obstacles and risks that the client experiences in completing various activities. They represent the problems of various types from your point of view. You can rank them according to degree of difficulty, which will help you prioritize them in the next steps.

Benefits

It is the benefits and positive experiences the customer expects that make him satisfied or happy. It is what encourages him to choose a product or service and makes him more likely to make a purchase.

The square: Value map

The square is your value map: it identifies the benefits of your product and how it meets customer needs, focusing on the features and functionality that appeals to them.

Again you find three sections:

  • Products and services;
  • Difficulty reducers;
  • Advantage generators.

Here they are explained one by one.

Products and services

It is the products and services that create benefits and alleviate difficulties-they are the basis of creating value for the customer. Here you can mention not only the product itself, but also the premium, standard, etc. versions. Focus on how the features will help the customer get their work done.

Difficulty reducers

This section focuses on the ways in which your product can solve or minimize the problems listed in your customer profile. It should describe exactly how your offering diminishes those difficulties.

Generators of benefits

Here you need to consider the ways in which your product offers added value, including those features or aspects that will enhance the customer experience. The idea is to come up with something new and unique to make the customer experience not only unique, but also memorable.

Value Proposition Canvas: all the benefits

As you may have guessed, the Value Proposition Canvas is more than just a graphic representation of customer desires. It gives you the ability to align your strategies with your audience's needs, helping with decision making and product positioning.

But let's see in detail what the top 5 benefits are.

#1 It is easy to understand

This tool gives you a visual representation of the value of your offer, making it immediately understandable at a glance. This can come in handy in a lot of situations, including meetings, brainstorming sessions, and workshops-you can always fill the template with post-it notes and easily add or remove elements as you go along. Not only that, with a simplified overview of your company's functionality, your analysis of product strategy and performance becomes complete.

#2 Targeted planning

The excitement that follows any new idea or project can sometimes cause you to lose focus. You risk feeling confused about where you are going, or moving forward in the wrong direction with an undemanding product that does not meet customer expectations .

The Value Proposition Canvas serves as your guide: it allows you to understand your target customers, what they need and how to make them satisfied. Based on this, you can shape the idea of what features and functionality the product should possess to be desired. With this in mind, your efforts are directed toward a clear goal: you avoid wasting time and ensure a focused approach to developing a high-demand product.

#3 Improves marketing effectiveness

Launching a new product requires a lot of marketing and branding efforts: you need to create brand awareness in the minds of consumers and communicate the value clearly and effectively. 

In addition to helping you refine your products or services, the Value Proposition Canvas is useful for ensuring that your marketing efforts focus on the strengths of your offerings. By comparing the benefits of your products with the needs most important to your customers, you will identify exactly what you should be showing your target audience. You can then develop an effective plan of action so that your promotional strategies attract the attention of your audience.

#4 Strong customer involvement

The basis of this model is customer orientation, from which you start to develop your product. This approach is the key to engaging people with your brand: by combining identifying and meeting needs, you focus on the elements they value most, creating a bridge between supply and demand. You can then define the key factors to which your audience places the most value and increase engagement.

#5 See your value in a new way

The Value Proposition Canvas can help you think differently about the value you offer. If you are clear about the different factors that influence how customers make decisions, you can more easily identify gaps in your value proposition. This will help you focus your efforts when it comes time to develop a new product or find insights for improvement.

Conclusion

So what do you think?

Let's do a brief summary to fix the key points:

  • the Value Proposition Canvas is a graphic expression of what customers need and what a product can offer to address it;
  • The combination of its elements provides a powerful solution for analyzing your business and discovering ways of its improvement; 
  • The more matches you have between the components in the left and right parts, the better chance you have of delivering a product that will be in high demand;
  • It is a tool that will be useful at any stage of your business development, as long as you are eager to improve your business.

The Value Proposition Canvas can make the difference between creating a desirable offering and one that remains unnoticed in the eyes of the public. It allows you to understand your market, analyze your strategies and improve your products. It also encourages you to ask questions you wouldn't normally ask, but which can prove critical to the growth and success of your business.

If it still seems too complex for your taste, don't miss the next article: I'll explain to you in full detail how to fill out the Value Proposition Canvas, step by step.