As we reach the critical point of the local body elections, it is apparent that voters are mostly disinterested or disengaged. Just days before polling closes Christchurch City is at just over 30% of residents voting and yet this is standard across the last few years.

A quick poll around the office showed that while most people had voted, most felt that the results were going to be decided by whoever had the best bio in the voting packs and the best name recognition. As a mayoral candidate, you might have the best ideas, policies and foresight, but if your bio doesn’t tell people what they want to hear, you are never going to win. There are very few people who actually take the time to properly research each candidate, understanding the pros and cons of each one. Instead, opinions are formed by the short about us blurbs included in the voting information pack.

While some their recognition, there are others who lack the key component that people want to know - who they are. It is all good and well to tell us what you will do for us, but to do so while giving us an insight into the person you are would make for a much more successful campaign. They have to be able to stand out with a strong and unique story.

This is a classic case of understanding your target market. For elections, the public want to know that the person they are voting into council is trustworthy, likable and going to deliver on the promises they are making.

For technology companies, your audiences want to know not what your product will do, but rather what problem it will solve for them. E.g. a vacuum cleaner doesn’t just suck the dust and dirt from your flooring, it helps you to create a healthy, clean home in less time.

Like the council hopefuls, it is important to get your story right for your audience. This is called your value proposition; what is the value you are providing to them? This then serves as the basis for any marketing that you do.

So how do you actually build your value proposition? Start with your customers.

Your customers are the most important assets to you as they already have your loyalty and have invested in your product. They are able to provide you with valuable insights into how they see the product benefits them, the terms they use around this, as well as other useful enhancements that can be made.

Take the time to talk to them about their experiences so that you can build your story. A persuasive story answers three questions:

  1. To whom are you telling your story? This context is critical – it needs to be expressed in terms of the market you are targeting, and the buying decision-makers within that target market. It needs to engage with them, and be in their sort of language.
  2. What problem are you solving for them? Nobody wants to buy your product but instead the solution it provides to a problem (or need) they have. The better you can connect your story to that problem, the more compelling it will be.
  3. What is the unique way you solve that problem for them? Are you faster, easier, better, cheaper? How can you prove it? This is the value proposition – your unique promise of value to the customer.

To avoid the disinterest of the local body elections, have a good look first at your own marketing messages. Do you have a good story in place that answers the above questions? Sell the value your product brings, not what is does.

To find out more about building a value proposition, download the Concentrate eBook “Fix your foundations”.

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