What do you do?
I mean, really. One of the most important lessons I have learned in business is really understanding the true value behind what you do. I believe that when you understand the importance of your work, you end up valuing yourself and your business even more. For a long time I struggled thinking that what I did wasn’t important, until I realized that what I did went beyond the very basics.
What I mean with this is, that you’re not ‘just’ a coach, a trainer, a consultant, a restaurant owner or a lawyer. What you do has a lot more value that you’re maybe giving yourself credit for.
In order for you to truly understand what you really do in your business, you have to discover the different benefits associated with your work. Enter the Elements of Value Pyramid. This study, published by Harvard Business Review explains exactly what the different elements of value are and what true benefits your business offers.
I recently talked about how to discover your ideal audience in this which you can download right here:
what people need
Remember the classic, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid we were all taught at some point in our lives? The basic concept is that people have certain needs that start from basic like food and shelter and go up to belonging and fulfillment. It explains that when we have the basic needs met, we go up the pyramid to the next important one, right?
So, what happens is that people start by fulfilling their basic needs, and as those are met, they start moving up the pyramid. This means that for you to move up and look for more important needs, you first need to meet basic human needs. For example, having food, or resting. Then you move up to looking for having relationships or developing your full potential.
This is basic. Now, when actually evaluating a product or service, something similar to this happens.
what people want
Okay, now that we got that part out of the way, let’s talk about what people actually want and what you as a business need to be communicating. Similarly to Maslow’s needs, the Elements of Value Pyramid looks at fundamental attributes that and benefits that you can give people.
Again, just like in Maslow’s original pyramid, people have certain things they that they actually want.
And here’s where the good stuff comes. You need to focus on these things. I have found that the most successful brands I have worked with over the years are the ones that have a very clear understanding of what their audience really wants.
Remember, beyond the ACTUAL product or service you are selling, you are ACTUALLY selling something else. You are selling access to an emotion. Or access to a solution to a problem. And the more that you understand what that emotion is, the more effective your communication can be.
The Elements of Value Pyramid consists of 30 elements of value which are fundamental attributes in their most essential form.
The pyramid starts with the most basic functional benefits. These are the general attributes that you are giving through your products or services.
For example, it can help people save time, or you might offer variety or connection. Basically, you are describing an element of your offering or the facts or characteristics of your business.
So this would translate differently with each person. In my case, you could say that my functional benefits of my business is integrating your brand, helping people make money, offering quality or helping brands connect with people.
Another example? Starbucks offers delicious coffee, and tasty treats.
As a business coach, you might help your clients avoid hassles and simplify systems, saving them time.
Differentiating only on the basic functional benefits isn’t as effective for your business. Sure, there might be lots of things here that are positive, but you need to connect with your audience on a deeper level.
Here’s where it gets more interesting. The emotional benefits are the next outcome that will happen once people use your product or service.
Here’s where you start looking to connect on a deeper level of understanding of what people want. Examples of emotional benefits are reducing anxiety, providing therapeutic value so people feel better, bringing entertainment, or even reminding them of something special.
In my business, it would obviously be about providing with a beautiful and appealing design which helps people show the quality of their work.
In the case of Starbucks that we talked about before, it would have to do with offering something fun or even wellness because people can relax and take a moment for themselves when they go to Starbucks.
As a business coach, you might be providing access to privileged information that they didn’t know about before.
Emotional benefits are extremely important. This is where you should start focusing on in your communication to your audience.
You can work more on defining your audience in this free guide I have created for you. You can download it right here:
life changing benefits
Life changing benefits are the REAL benefit that you’re offering to your audience. This is what they will ultimately achieve when they use your product or service. This is where the deepest psychological “wants” are rooted. Where people really want to go and what they truly want to feel.
Life changing benefits include inspiring people to achieve their goals, helping them achieve a sense of personal accomplishment or even providing optimism. Remember in Maslow’s pyramid how at the top is self-actualization? That’s what we’re talking about here.
I feel that in my experience, the more you can get in touch with this level of the pyramid, on a deep level, the more you will be able to attract your audience.
Back to the examples, in my case, I would have to say that working with me definitely motivates businesses to achieve their goals and, since they’re showing their true level of value, they are now getting a sense of personal/business improvement.
In the case of Starbucks? I would absolutely have to say that it’s all about affiliation and belonging. When people drink coffee at Starbucks they are part of a select, cool group of people.
If you are a life coach, it means you are providing your audience with hope.
Life changing benefits are SO strong and so effective to use in your communication, it’s essential that you incorporate it into your marketing all the time.
bringing this all together
Now that you have more clarity about the type of value that you’re really offering you can bring these elements together in order to effectively communicate your true value. So, it would go something like this:
Through FUNCTIONAL BENEFIT, you will be able to EMOTIONAL BENEFIT which means you LIFE CHANGING BENEFIT.
Ideally, you want to write as many of these as you can apply to your business, once you expand on them, they’re a great way to use them in your marketing and communication.
Here are a couple from my example:
Through branding and design, you will be able to have an appealing brand which means you will be able to achieve your business goals by strengthening your credibility and building trust.
What my clients really want is to build their credibility so that they can feel valued.
Pretty simple, right?
Remember, you can find out more about what your audience wants by downloading this workbook + guide that covers all the details of defining your perfect client!