As someone who has trained 35,000 people worldwide in insight and Value Proposition generation the most frequent question I get asked is “What is a Value Proposition?” closely followed by “How does it differ from an Elevator Pitch or Brand Positioning?”

Worry no longer because here is the definitive explanation without the jargon!

A Value Proposition – The definition

At its purest level a value proposition is a clear story that explains how your product or service solves a customers problem in a unique or superior way.

Why do we need to write this down?

There are numerous people who need to understand our idea, how it works and what makes is valuable. These range from customers and users (consumers) through to people within our own organisation such as R&D, Design, Sales, Senior Managers and Marketing Communication specialists.

What happens if we don’t do this well?

Put simply, without a Value Proposition everyone makes their own mind up about what the product or service does. This means that the engineers and designers create features and functionality that delivers one thing, the marketing team promise something different in advertising and packaging and the sales team sell whatever idea seems sensible when they stand in-front of the customer.

What about the customer or consumer?

They very often get confused and either buy nothing or buy from a competitor that is better at explaining the value of their idea (even if technically they are inferior). The single biggest reason innovation and product ideas fail is because the target audience do not understand the value proposition

So how does this differ from an Elevator Pitch or Positioning Statement?

You can find these and hundreds more marketing definitions and terms defined and debunked in our comprehensive 30 page Innovation Dictionary available to download here at

Mat Shore is an expert Innovation speaker and consultant and author of the book ‘The Seven Deadly Sins of Innovation. You can buy his book here.