The value of your product is what you need to communicate to your prospective customers to be able to keep your business alive. But how do you demonstrate that value to potential customers? In order to make the most compelling value proposition without reducing the product to a mere list of features, you need to communicate that the whole is greater than the sum. By creating an experience and a story around your brand, you can add exponentially to everyone’s experience and enjoyment of your business. Happy customers make happy employees and vice-versa make a truly amazingly wonderful place to be, live and work. Your work is what you do with a lot of your life, soooo– why not try to love what you do?

People believe in other people and like other people based on the story they live by.

Love CoffeeLet’s say you have a coffee shop, and you make great coffee, but so do plenty of other places. Why will a customer choose your coffee and why will that customer want to pay $4.50 for what they can get across the street for $2 or make at home for 10 cents? What will make your customer seek your coffee as if it were an elusive albino rhinoceros hiding in the African bush?… (which you, of course, wouldn’t shoot, just look at it in awe and take pictures). You have to find the balance between benefits, features, and “It costs HOW MUCH?!?”

How do you sell something that is basically the same product that all the other companies have? Differentiating your company from is an important part of brand creation.  You need to make it worthwhile for the consumer. There are lots of ways to make something “worthwhile”- such as unique experience, artisan touch, luxurious treatment, beautiful design, etc.

Let’s go back to that $.10 cup of coffee that you are selling with a 450% markup. Why on Earth would someone pay that much?

Here is where we begin: let’s say your company does something for the environment for every cup of coffee that it sells. What if for every 1 dollar spent at your coffee shop 15 cents is donated to support the planting biodiverse trees in Tropical Forests (because coffee bean production is terrible for the land) or contribute to animal conservation efforts? And then, what if the inside of your coffee shop is decorated with pictures and images of the animals and environments that benefit from the proceeds of your contributions. When your customers walk into your storefront, the change in atmosphere entices them to step out of their world for a second and into your ‘magical’ one. These are benefits that consumers may choose your brand for, instead of your competitor’s over-priced coffee.  What is more compelling?… Walking into a unique space that takes you out of your world and transports you to a magical place and supports a cause you believe in. Or… Walking into a normal looking coffee shop that has the same rustic wooden look that every other coffee shop has.

Remember that most people buy with their heart; if they like a brand and believe in the value of it and more importantly identify their value as equivalent to the values you espouse, then they will most likely happily pay what you are charging. You want to attract the customers that believe in your cause because they are more loyal customers, better customers, and give the best referrals to their friends and others in their similarly valued peer group…. and you want them all! … and you will get them all if you love your story and don’t loose sight of it in your business every day. When everyone working in your business subscribes to the same beliefs that your customers do- then that makes a lovely business indeed.

Where is the love in your business?