The right question is: What value do you / your brand / your company offer the world?
If you are not clear on the value that your brand offers the world, you significantly limit your brand and never fulfill your career’s potential.
But what does it look like to be clear on the value you provide to the world? Let’s walk through a rather specific (and offbeat) example together.
She initially thought that the value she provided was “yarn.” But that is much too literal. We want to know what compels someone to use their hard earned dollars on your stuff.
What makes your stuff different from your competitors?
Jen’s yarn isn’t just any yarn. Its sustainably harvested from a farm less than 100 miles from her house. 70% of her clients are local.
That’s interesting — Jen is providing a connection with the local community.
How do people feel when they interact with your brand?
Jen asks her customers and discovers that most of them knit for fun and find it relaxing and restorative. The repetitive movement combined with the connection to their past (often grandmothers, aunts or mothers) soothes many of her customers.
That’s interesting — Jen is providing a stress-free respite from the world.
How do you connect with your audience?
Jen found that her knitters loved to be social, but didn’t always have the right opportunities to do so. So, she started not one, not two but three knitting circles in her community. She loves getting to engage with her customers on such an intimate level and finds that she can deliver great service based on those interactions.
That’s interesting — Jen is providing connection to a community along with an unparalleled customer experience!
Okay, Let’s take a look at Jen’s answer…
Jen doesn’t sell yarn.
Jen sells a high-touch, high-connection, stress-free gift. It includes a connection to the past, a connection to the local ecosystem and a connection to a community of fellow knitters.
She facilitates women giving gifts to themselves in the form of local, sustainable yarn.
Now the question is what can Jen do with this insight?
The key is to emphasize the primary values that you provide to your audience.
For Jen, she could:
- Start wrapping her yarn in butcher paper and a simple yarn bow, to increase the experience of “opening a present”
- Make the shopping experience more stress-free by offering groupings of yarn that coordinate well together (no stress color matching!)
- Increase the connection with the local community by inviting the owner of the sheep farm to speak at her knitting circles
Each of these business decisions would increase the value of Jen’s yarn by elevating the elements that her customers care about. And when the value you deliver increases, your prices, your opportunities and your profits do as well! This is true for you as an individual, brand, company or employee.
It’s time to apply this to you
Now, this was a story about someone who sells yarn. So what the heck does this have to do with me? I’m a ________ (consultant, lawyer, student, salesperson).
It has everything to do with you.
Did you see the way that we got in her audience’s shoes? We thought about what it was like from their perspective?
Now, all you need to do is think of your audience the same way, whether you are looking for a job, the next client or the next opportunity.
Do you want to sell an idea to your boss? What does s/he want? I’ve had bosses that simply didn’t want to be bothered… and one’s that wanted to know everything… and one’s that were looking for the magic bullet… and one that just wanted to look good.
What is your boss like? (this applies to the person interviewing you, too)
What will your request make them think? Feel?
What are they more motivated by… fear or possibility? (And what is their greatest fear / vision?)
How can you make your pitch apply best to them?
And all of these questions help you identify — and emphasize the value that you / your brand provides to the world.
So, tell me how does this big question change the way you look at your brand? The way that your brand offers value to the world?
Rebecca Rapple has been featured in Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, Keith Ferrazzi’s My Greenlight and more. You can learn more about the fundamentals of a remarkable job search on her site, The Resume Revolution.