How Unique Exactly Are You?

 

To prepare for the lecture we were tasked to come up with the value proposition of a business our team felt passionate about, to the exception of the big names (ie: Google, Facebook, Ebay, etc). MUJI is the one we settled on, it is a Japanese retailer that sales household and consumers good, they have stores in 29 countries around the world. What we like about MUJI is the simplicity of their design, the image of the brand to be precise the lifestyle it promotes (simplistic, minimalistic, no clutter). What makes them unique when there are many other brands that do the same thing you ask? Well, even if you did not wonder why let me try to explain to the best of my abilities.

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First thing first, what is the value proposition? Well it is a promise a brand or a company makes to its customers for a distinctive benefit. We used the value proposition canvas to help us pin point exactly what it is that is unique, that MUJI brings to its customers. The VP canvas is a tool that helps you design a product or service that your customers want. This is to help you (the company) focus on what matters the most to them (your customers). Below is copy of the canvas.

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Due to the extensive list of products MUJI sales we decided to focus on the top product sold on their UK website which is the oil diffuser. One would ask himself what does this oil diffuser have that it is unique and has been voted top product. To answer that question, it has many in one features: it works as a night stand lamp and as an oil diffuser. The minimalistic promise that MUJI made to its customers, makes it that the lamp/oil diffuser is light and small. Thus, it will not take as much space on your night stand. When it came to the experience of the customers, 72% claimed they loved the diffuser because it was simple, lightweight, some people could use it to both meditate and read at night. However, 14% claimed that they did not have a good experience with the product because it came in broken part, one feature worked and not the other, it kept shutting off, etc.

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I would love to hear your feedback: do you think that if it was your company, would you return to the drawing board and redesign the features of the oil diffuser or would you just focus on the 72% who enjoy your product the way it is? Well, for me it is safe to say that I would go back to the drawing board and try not to disrupt too much the things that most customers liked originally. I think us being customers we have all seen brands redesigning a product that used to be a favourite and changing so much that we did not like the new version. Then again, in my opinion that is a very difficult task to do.

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Overall from our lecture with Richard, of the don’ts he mentioned when doing the value proposition  I remember the following. Firstly, what we should not do is to only focus on functional jobs rather we should try to find/understand the emotional, social drivers of the customers. Secondly, I learned that we should not try to address every single customer pain and gain. It is unrealistic to believe that one can satisfy all the needs at once, perhaps what one should do is to focus on a need or a couple at a time and not all of them at once. Lastly, the most important in my opinion is that you/me (as a company) should not when filling the customer profile (wants, needs and fears) start listing only the pains and jobs we see our value proposition solving.

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