Ever marvelled at how global brands navigate the intricacies of launching products across multiple markets, captivating their customers attention in a crowded space and fostering lasting loyalty?

Picture yourself in a fast-paced arena, like some of our global clients at Primark, Booking.com and Cambridge University Press & Assessment. The key to success is having a clear, easy to understand articulation of your customer proposition that can be rolled out and implemented by multiple stakeholders and cross-functional teams.

More than a branding exercise

Developing a customer proposition transcends branding; it’s a strategic process rooted in customer insight that helps you position your brand effectively, ensuring cohesive execution.

Investing time in crafting a precise offer, aligned with customer needs, and contributing to the overarching brand and business strategy, unifies cross-functional teams toward a common objective.

Why choose you?

A customer proposition is a product or service tailored to meet a specific customer need, compelling more customers to choose your brand more often. It offers a solution to a customer need or pain point that will change brand perception and consequently behaviour.

When developing a customer proposition, always ask yourself the fundamental question, “Why should your customer choose your product or service?”

Crafting customer propositions

Developing a robust customer proposition doesn’t happen by accident. It is a systematic journey rooted in identifying a market opportunity, customer insights and supported by a clear framework.

Let’s break it down into four pivotal steps:

  1. Define your growth objective: Why do you need this proposition, and what are you aiming to achieve?

Identify the need and articulate the business opportunity. Present how it aligns with your brand strategy and gauge the necessary investment.

Opportunity example: During the pandemic, John Lewis saw increased demand for affordable homeware, as their customers spent more time at home.  (John Lewis Anyday)

  1. Target customer and behavioural change: Who is your target customer, and what attitudes and behaviours do you need to change?

Pinpoint the customer segment, their current attitudes and behaviours, and the shift you want to drive in their attitude and behaviour as a result of your new proposition. Use the Think, Feel, Do tool (see article) to get clear and define your insight.

Insight example: As I’m spending more time at home, I want it to look beautiful, but I can’t afford the stylish home décor I see in the shops. (John Lewis Anyday)

  1. Develop the concept: What is the distinctive approach you will take to change the customer perception and behaviour?

Craft a distinctive idea answering why the customer needs it (insight), what’s in it for them (benefit), and why they should be believe you (reasons to believe).

Concept example: When it launched in homeware, the John Lewis Anyday range offered a clear benefit of quality and style at affordable prices. They supported this with reasons to believe about the range having over 2,400 products and with prices on average 20% lower than the John Lewis standard range. Noting that since then, the range has expanded!

  1. Execution across the marketing mix: How will the proposition be executed consistently across the marketing mix (4 Ps)?

Envision how customers will perceive, feel, and experience the proposition across product, price, place, and promotion by defining the guardrails for execution.

Example (Execution): John Lewis Anyday was launched with an engaging TV campaign that challenged price perceptions and posters online and in shop windows that displayed the style and breadth of the new range.

The litmus test

At the end of the process, check if your customer proposition fulfils the following success criteria:

  1. Customer-centric: Does it address a specific customer need?
  2. Distinctive: Does it differentiate from the market while staying true to your brand?
  3. Strategic alignment: Does it deliver on the overall business and brand strategy?
  4. Commercial viability: Is it financially sound?

Summing up

A robust customer proposition underpins all marketing endeavours, guiding messaging, campaigns, and branding strategies. A shared proposition development process unites teams, ensuring consistent, effective implementation that influences customer choices, drives conversions, and fosters enduring brand loyalty.


Author: Christina Bertram

Christina has a track record in strategic marketing and brand management spanning over two decades, having worked in global roles at the Absolut Company in Sweden, as well as Campari in the UK where she spearheaded the launch of Aperol Spritz. In her role at Blue Feathers, she’s supported esteemed brands including Tesco, Aviva, Primark, Cambridge University Press & Assessment and Booking.com with the development of their brand strategies, marketing plans and team success. Christina is passionate about connecting brands and consumers through relevance, emotion, and purpose.