Lesson 1: Has Anyone Seen my VAP?

Technology PR: How to Make A Better Widget
Lesson 3: Carpe di-VAP! (Seize the VAP!)

A well-hit golf ball that lands in its preferred location is labeled by golfers as ‘having legs.’ A golf shot with ‘legs’ is one containing the perfect synergy between power--in distance hit--and finesse--in landing in the location most desired.

A good Value Added Proposition (VAP) is no different. By confidently spreading the message of a VAP’s strengths, and, to the right people in the right places, you will discover that your VAP, too, will find its ‘legs.’

In the previous lesson we learned how to identify the forest from the trees when on the search for your company’s best VAP foot forward. It’s now time to enter those woodlands and to get the word out to its inhabitants.

Here’s where your organization’s communications professionals begin to flex their muscles. These are the folks that will take your VAP, create a message around it, and share it with the people who will give it the best ‘legs’ possible.

The key to VAP usage is to state its strengths clearly and succinctly. Far too often a company’s enthusiasm for its VAP leads to too much icing and not enough cake. The individuals with whom you will be sharing your VAP message–media, analysts, target customers–exist in a marketplace muddled with an endless array of existing communication messages. In this marketplace, it’s tough to distinguish between the real gems and the cubic zirconium imitators. To reach these people means getting to the core of your VAP, and fast: you often have but one chance to have your voice heard. Make it count.

If your widget’s strength lies in a 1/10th speed advantage over the competition, begin your VAP communication from that exact point. Expressing your VAP is akin to a ‘bottom line’ approach to communications: ‘just the facts, ma’am.’

Communication professionals often refer to this bottom line communications approach as an ‘elevator pitch,’ meaning, what you would tell a person about your company and/or product if you had a mere couple of sentences for them to ingest before they exited on the 12th floor. At the heart of this pitch lies your VAP.

Whether it’s a reporter, an analyst or your next best customer, stay true to your VAP by using that as a stepping-stone when describing your company or its latest, greatest product. Example: your 1/10th faster widget may, in fact, also be one outstanding-looking product, aesthetically speaking. However, if your VAP lies in its speed advantage, discussions of its appearance are best left to follow-up and/or later communication.

Fighting the urge to stray from your core strength, your company’s VAP will almost always yield the most positive results. This ensures that your VAP is what remains in the memories of reporters, analysts and potential customers. Thus, it is what ultimately separates your widget’s voice from that of the competition.

Give your VAP its ‘legs’ by stating its message with confidence. Ensure that it lands in its desired location by sticking to the ‘bottom line’ approach to communications.


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