Brand positioning, value proposition and unique selling proposition for your nonprofit

Messaging, and the way you communicate to your audience, are extremely important.

It is a priority that you communicate the right messages to your target audience. If you are able to successfully show people what you are all about, you will engage with people who will be interested in your cause.

To do this, you need a clear sense of the position of your organisation and what makes you unique and valuable for people. This post will show how you can do this by developing your brand positioning (BP), value proposition (VP) and unique selling proposition (USP).

Overall, your BP, VP, and USP will demonstrate the basis and fundamental core of your organisation. Having a clear idea of these three aspects will allow you to focus and direct what you communicate to people about your organisation, allowing you to market yourself more successfully.

Brand Positioning (BP)

After completing your market research (see more on market research here), you will understand how similar organisations are positioned within your market. This means that you can position yourself in a place which is unique and distinct.

For many companies which exist solely for making profit, brand positioning is all about competition, and establishing a place in the market which is unique from any other brand. For example, a clothing brand may see lots of competitors providing low quality/low price and high quality/high price clothes, so will decide to position itself as a high quality/low price brand in order to fill this gap in the market.

This aspect of the brand positioning can be useful for many non-profits who need to make money to fund their social endeavours by selling a product or a service. If they have a unique brand positioning they are likely to become more profitable because they are providing something which cannot be found elsewhere, whether it is something at a better quality or price than others, or something entirely unique.

However, for charities, being competitive against other organisations is often not a priority. Therefore, it may be useful to use your brand positioning to tell people why you do what you do, instead of just trying to be unique in what you do. Positioning yourself in terms of why you do your work will also mean that you can market to appeal to people’s emotions, and they are more likely to become invested in your cause.

Your brand positioning will be a short statement, detailing what you do, for who and why. It is fundamentally an identification of why you exist and why your work is needed. This shows what type of organisation you are and will allow you to connect with the right target audience, as they will share the same values as you.

Figuring out your brand positioning is an entirely internal process which will allow you to have a clear idea of the direction and position of your organisation. It can then be carried through into your marketing strategy. With a well-defined brand positioning you will be able to market yourself in a much more clear and consistent way, and reach the audiences you need to.

Value Proposition (VP)

Your value proposition will be much more overt and external than your brand positioning and is a clear and concise way of telling people what value your organisation brings, and to whom.

Value proposition is not a slogan, but a short and succinct description of your organisation. If possible, you should summarise all the important information about your business in one sentence.

For example, you could say that ‘we help x, do y, by doing z.’

This statement could also be varied and tailored to different customer groups and stakeholders if you have an organisation which benefits a variety of people in different ways.

Your VP should be very visible to everyone, as it essentially outlines why people should engage with your organisation, and what value you will provide for people.

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Your unique selling proposition is also related to your brand positioning and the value you provide for people. It is what makes your organisation, on the whole, unique from others.

You can use your USP to show how you benefit all your customers and what specific needs you meet, and how the overall experience with your organisation will be better than any others.

For example, you may be the only person providing a service or product in a specific area, or you may be better value for money. You may also have better values than competitors, for example using profits from your business to make a social impact.

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