What makes clients buy or use your services?
This is the most fundamental question that drives every aspect of brand and marketing strategy within financial services organisations.
If your organisation could succinctly articulate the benefits your client experiences when they do business with you, especially in these turbulent times, then you would be one of the few financial services brands that have a compelling point of difference and a strong value proposition.
A customer value proposition (CVP) is the benefit that sits at the intersection of client need and organisational offer. It is made of an understanding of what an audience wants and what an operating model can tangibly deliver. It is aspirational but achievable, it encompasses why existing and potential clients should choose your brand and be disinterested in alternatives.
In financial services, a well-defined customer value proposition:
When you are seeking to build out a proposition that resonates with your clients and cascades throughout your business, there are six crucial components that you should consider.
By clearly identifying the clients who are likely to be choosing and buying your products and services, you will avoid appearing like all things to all people. This is a common mistake in financial services, where organisations are determined to meet the diverse expectations of multiple audiences, and in doing so, fail to deliver true value to any of them.
Dividing potential clients along relevant dimensions through brand research can help to provide insights into the most appropriate demographics, buying behaviours, attitudes and client needs your brand can best deliver to. This will make the task of segmenting prospective audiences much more effective, by clearly articulating the segments which are most available and attractive to you.
For your clients, value can be as simple as what they get in return for what they pay. Although it sounds straight forward, the value equation is different for each segment of the market that you may be targeting and is more complex in financial services as these relationships are generally over longer periods.
It is important to think about both the tangible and intangible attributes and benefits that you are seeking to deliver to your clients. In financial services, it is often this perceived intangible value that is built over the long term that resonates most. It might relate to returns on investment and sustained performance, which translates to clients who value premium experiences. That is the financial return that they receive for the services they are buying from you – enduring prosperity.
If you understand what the exact product and service that both existing and prospective clients come to you for, and then build your offer around delivering that perceived level of value, your proposition will sit in a rare intersection of – client need and organisational offer.
Placing data and insight alongside the value your current offer brings to clients can allow you to map your buyers and price accordingly. This requires evaluating the way your organisation currently delivers value to its clients and then ensuring it remains innovative, relevant and differentiated over time.
Organisations in financial services often become stuck at this stage because they aren’t able to pull apart their key service benefits without considering which ones are the most important to their clients, and the interrelationship between these benefits.
In this prioritisation process, consider first the underlying attributes of your service, then consider the functional benefits that that service produces, and finally, articulate the emotional benefits that your clients experience as a result of these.
Once you have clarified the emotional benefits of your particular service experience, compare your value proposition against your competitors in the market. This is not an exercise in comparing functional product and service offerings. You are trying to understand their tangible differentiation and positioning in the market and how you can be tangibly different from them.
Expand your existing frame of reference to include alternatives to choosing your product or service. In financial services, value propositions are compelling when they effectively demonstrate why your clients should choose you over any other option.
Once you have addressed these value proposition essentials, you need to create and continually reinforce evidence to ensure your clients will derive the benefit and value you’re promising.
Proof points can be as broad as case studies, testimonials, thought leadership; any active involvement that demonstrates to your client why they should believe in your organisational promise. Evidence why they should choose you over any alternative, help them justify their investment and remain loyal through more challenging periods.
Customer value propositions are built from the foundations of a brand’s positioning, which is the guiding essence that sits in the heart of the business. This positioning defines the brand’s proposition, a short summary of the purpose and guiding philosophy of the firm. To learn more about specific examples of CVP’s we have created for others and what we could create for you, please reach out here.
Value propositions ensure the effective translation of strategy into execution
A compelling value proposition in financial services helps organisations to consistently translate their business strategy and brand positioning into execution in the market.
They have enormous value in helping your existing and potential clients navigate the breadth of your offer externally, whilst also clarifying and confirming your organisation’s value for internal stakeholders and employees.
At BrandMatters, we have been building engaging value propositions that deliver meaning and confidence for businesses throughout the financial services landscape for nearly 20 years. If your organisation would like help in prioritising and articulating your unique service benefits, feel free to get in contact with us here.