Karthik Siva – How to differentiate good and bad value propositions?

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A great example of a powerful value proposition is – UNIQLO. They offer affordable, trendy, high performance every day wear for every one. UNIQLO through its Heatech, Blocktech and Airism technologies offers high performance clothing. UNIQLO genuinely offers anytime, anywhere clothing for everyone. They have thus democratised clothing for our world.

In Malaysia, Old Town White Coffee has an excellent value proposition that triggers nostalgia and the longing for the good old days. It is a place to relax, chill out and hang out with people like the old times with traditional coffee and Malaysian food. They used taglines earlier like – “Take your time” and then “Aroma of good times”. This makes the brand relatable to Malaysians.

A few big businesses and brands have missed the mark. For instance, MAYBANK whose value proposition expressed as Humanizing Financial Services did not hit the bulls eye with their tagline. This value proposition is not relevant or relatable because, today a bank or telco had better be human, personal and convenient. This tagline is antiquated and reminds one of the 1990s.

Karthik Siva on differentiation between good and bad value propositions

Remember Nokia in the 1990s claimed that it was Humanizing Technology. That certainly made sense then. Today it simply makes no sense and is not going to cut it with customers.

Another example from Malaysia is AXIATA. It misses the mark with its tagline – Advancing Asia. This is a very self-indulgent, boastful and inflated value proposition. It is neither customer focused nor credible.

A good value proposition needs to be relevant, credible and customer focused. Bad and mediocre value propositions tend to be egoistic and focus attention on their own brand or business instead of their customers.

Karthik Siva is a highly acclaimed and respected international strategy consultant, nation branding expert and leadership mentor to CEOs and entrepreneurs. He is the founding Chairman of Global Brand Forum, Asia’s most influential Forum for brands, business and leadership, described by BBC as the “Davos of Branding” and by Straits Times Singapore as the “World Cup of Branding”.

After obtaining his Masters in Business Administration from India, Karthik has spent more than 25 years in senior leadership positions advising Governments, regulators, global brands, regional corporations, NGOs and SMEs across Asia Pacific, U.S. and the U.K. Karthik currently advises and enables business owners and SMEs to globalise and scale their businesses through strategy, innovation, branding and leadership development.

Karthik is also a highly sought after keynote speaker and trainer in international and regional forums. Karthik’s leadership and expertise has been recognized and commended by several CEOs and entrepreneurs including Nobel prize winner and former Vice President of the United States – Al Gore. Karthik is also the author of Tools, Tips & Thoughts for Entrepreneurs, SPARK and How to Present and Persuade with Power?.


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