What’s a CVP (Customer Value Proposition)?

Imagine you are in an elevator with a key potential client. The client says, “So tell me about you guys. Why should I buy you?” Your response is essentially your company’s (or your brand’s) CVP; it’s ideally a simple, expression of not only what you are offer, but what value will be derived by the customer. It must be customer-centric; it’s about how the customer benefits, not about you. It’s not a mission statement.

Why is a CVP important?

A properly constructed CVP is very powerful and very important. CVPs enable companies to define and rigorously focus on what aspects of their offerings have real worth to their customers. With this, they can make smarter choices about where to allocate scarce company resources in developing new offerings.

Once implemented, via your CVP you will be more successful and profitable, by being able to deliver more effectively, efficiently and confidently to customer needs.

A strong CVP gives organisations focus. Many things hang off it – it provides a framework for optimising product, services, human resource and communications strategies.

A strong CVP needs to be outward facing and consumer-centric, but it also has to be the right CVP for your organisation’s culture, goals and capabilities.

a&b develops ‘Gold Standard’ CVPs

We work with corporates to develop compelling CVPs for brands and services and business units.

It is a collaborative process; working with our frameworks and development process we dovetail a recommendation based on what you can offer, what the customer needs and what the competition currently provides.

There is often misunderstanding of what constitutes a ‘good’ CVP. In their excellent 2006 paper1, Anderson et al describe three forms of CVP commonly found:

  1. All benefits – the ‘easiest’ to create but merely a listing of all features and benefits. Fails to consider what it is that the customer may regard as important or what the competition is offering[1]
  1. Favourable points of difference – focuses on one’s competitive points of difference but fails to include a prioritisation of these based on end-customer insights around needs and wants
  1. Resonating focus – the ‘gold standard’. Customer-centric; developed by a rigorous exploration of what is important to the customer and what they believe

The resonating focus value proposition is the ‘gold standard’ style of CVP that a&b develops.

What does a CVP of this type look like?

A CVP is formed via a deep understanding of customer needs, wants, perceptions and motivations and marries this with a compelling statement of how one’s brand or corporation meets these needs – with ‘proof’ of these assertions.

 We visually express the elements of the CVP as a type of ‘house’;



How we did it for AIG – The a&b CVP development process

AIG, one of the world’s largest insurers, approached a&b to help them develop a CVP for their SME business silo.

We worked through 6 developmental steps, with frequent client collaborative engagement throughout the process:

  1. Explored what the end-customer (or intermediary) believes, needs and wants (insights)
  2. Looked to see where their needs or wants are not being fully met or where/barriers exist (pain points) and look for points of traction
  3. Assessed competitor positionings to determine opportunity gaps
  4. Created a linkage where brand values meet customer need and express in a competitively differentiated way – expressed with achievable ‘ambition’ – to stretch the organisation goals
  5. Helped craft the final expression to effectively dove-tail with the brands ambitions and capabilities
  6. Helped the organisation implement/activate the recommended CVP into their business planning

With primary research conducted in Singapore and in Australia, we delivered a CVP that will propel the brand into the future, in a differentiating a relevant manner.

To learn how a&b can add value to your organisation’s marketing and business strategy, contact us:

+61 (2) 8227-5400




[1] Anderson, J. C., Narus, J. A., & Rossum, W. v. (2006) v84(3), p. 90-99. Customer Value Propositions in Business Markets. Harvard Business Review