Rethinking The Value Proposition

“When you decide who you are, and when you’re really strong about telling people who you are, and what value you deliver and how they get that value, then you can use that as a shield. All the unwanted opportunities bounce off. And all the ones that will really get the most value from you, and that you will enjoy working with – they are attracted, and you let them in behind the shield.” – Scott Birkhead, founder of

At the center of meaningful conversation, there is a core message.

Having a “value proposition” is one of those things that many organizations have, but don’t really use. In fact, I’d guess that most people don’t even know what the value proposition of their organization is. Perhaps this is because we have a fundamental misunderstanding of value and how we understand, create, communicate and deliver value to our members.

A value proposition is simply the core message to deliver in every customer interaction that will influence the perception of your offerings and who you are as an organization. This statement should carry a message compelling enough to convince a potential member that you can add more value or better solve a problem than the other options available to them. Most importantly, it should ensure that every time a member walks into your Credit Union they are reminded of the reasons why you are the best option for them.

One of the key indicators of a strong value proposition is that it lends itself to being articulated simply, clearly and very briefly. In fact, a compelling and inspiring value proposition will answer just two questions:

  • What is the 1st thing that you want to enter people’s minds when they hear the name of your Credit Union?
  • Precisely why should people choose you?

When you think about it, you don’t actually sell products and services. You sell the benefits that members believe they will receive from doing business with you. From that perspective, your value proposition isn’t really about what you say…. it’s really about what you do and who you are.

Author David Whyte wrote, “Our lives succeed or fail, one conversation at a time…” Perhaps the same could be said for our organizations. All too often organizations write value propositions and mission statements that attempt to cover up the cracks in their organization with words. That simply doesn’t work. Your members care more about who you are and what you do for them than what you say.

Your value proposition is the overriding core message incorporated into every conversation (marketing) surrounding your business. It is not marketing copy – it directs what your marketing copy says. It’s not the conversation – it directs what the conversation is about. It’s not what you say – it’s who you are and what you do.


About Dan Finerty

Dan Finerty is the Director of Marketing at the Mountain West Credit Union Association, a Credit Union champion, a Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE), and an award-winning marketer. Dan has over 14 years of marketing experience in communications, retail, packaged goods, and, of course, Credit Unions. He believes that Credit Unions have an incredible story to tell and works with some of the brightest Credit Union professionals to help promote Credit Unions to the public. Dan holds two Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing and in Management. He is also a swell guy.

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