A UX Lesson: Netflix and the importance of a clear value proposition | by Cíntia Antunes | Nov, 2021

New businesses are always welcome to society. They play a key role in the economy bringing diversification and supplying people’s needs.

However, it’s not so uncommon for entrepreneurs to bear risks for some kind of business that have no reason to exist. Either because the business does not bring any real value or because there is great competitiveness and without the “something else”, there is no prominence.

According to Simon Kutcher and Partners, 72% of all new products flop.

When we focus on making the idea seem to be good enough to convince others to accept it, we are maximizing the risk of failure. Improving an idea without testing doesn’t make you go anywhere.

It’s like putting makeup in something to pretend it’s visually attractive while people still haven’t emitted their opinions.

We need to understand people’s necessities and test our hypothesis to make a useful tool.

A good example to make the concept of Value Proposition clear is the product Netflix. Streaming services became very common in our lives. It makes it easy to understand the benefits we get using them.

What are the benefits Netflix offers us?

  • Easy leisure.
  • Movies to watch at home without the necessity to go somewhere else to get them.
  • Watch as many times as we want.
  • No worry about returning the videotape or DVD in a limited time.

Why before the streaming services, video stores were so popular and now they are not anymore? Because people want to have a relaxing time watching movies or some TV show.

Users’ objectives were not to leave home and go to a store to select some film among thousand titles on a crowded shelf. Checking one by one. After choosing, the user would have a limited time to watch what was selected, and then, it would become a concern, since it needed to come back, bearing the risk to pay a late fee.

Netflix with its Value Proposition brought the solution for the pains created when we wanted to watch a movie.

But Netflix didn’t start with streaming. Initially, Netflix was a service that sent DVDs by mail.

Netflix’s website offering DVD rental

Instead of going to a physical video store, customers would look for what they wanted to watch on the website and request it at their homes. A much easier way to find and rent a movie.

After some time, the company adapted its business to cease another user’s pain. The consumer didn’t have the time limit to keep the product. They could watch how many times they wanted and when they were done, they would post it back.

Their Value Proposition was improved till the company has what they have today. And it will continue attentive to what can be better in order to make their clients’ lives even easier.

What users didn’t want to do?

They were not choosing Netflix because they wanted to access a beautiful website. They were not choosing Netflix because they wanted to receive DVDs by mail. All processes were part of what was necessary to do to achieve what users really wanted.

What did users really want to do?

They wanted to watch movies or some TV Show as easily as possible. The way it evolved for what we consume today, seems to be an obvious direction. But without understanding users’ ideas and necessities, business moves can lead a product to a hole.

Of course that many projects that became products we use nowadays didn’t start with a clear Value Proposition. Entrepreneurs tried alternatives that didn’t work till achieve what worked. But clarity saves time and money.

We can write down our ideas and concept on a napkin. It’s important to take it off from the world of thoughts and make it more solid and visual.

But as a better tool, we can use frameworks created to guide the creators through what they need to focus on.

Created by Alexander Osterwalder from Strategyzer, the Value Proposition Canvas comes from the Business Model Canvas.

It’s a tool to understand the client deeply in order to create products and services that connect directly to their wishes.

The Canvas makes all the information more visual. Make it easier to understand, to present, and keep all the team on the same path.

Value Proposition Canvas is composed of two parts:

  • Customer profile
  • Value map
Value Proposition Canvas video

First step:

We start in the customer profile. We need to identify the jobs to be done. What does the person want to do? These jobs can be emotional, functional, or social. Using Netflix as an example, we could fill out this area with “Have fun with family”.

Forward, we highlight what pains customers face when they try to get the job done.
E.g.: It’s hard to find a good movie to please all.

Next, the gains are the way clients measure the success of a job well done. Concrete results.
E.g.: All family feeling good after the movie time.

We don’t need to limit ourselves by identifying only one element per area. Instead, we should identify several elements. And making the use of canvas we write each one down in a post-it and position it in the corresponding place.

Second step:

The value map must contain answers for what was found out in the customer profile. We can start on the pain relievers because it seems to flow more intuitively.

Normally when a subject is being interviewed, the pains they feel come out so fluently. So, in this area we define ideas to minimize the pains, making it easier to solve.
E.g.: To connect the pain relief to the pain identified previously, we can elect for here “Suggestion for family movies”

Next, the gain creators outline the benefits the users will receive that they expected or can be positively surprised.
E.g.: A rating system — this way people will know what other people thought about that film they were suggested to watch.

Relieving the pain makes people adopt your product, but the gains make them stay.

And to conclude, in the products and services area we list the product and services that were built or planned based on what was learned.
E.g.: Smart algorithm — to offer family movie options

All this process should be used to design, test and iterate as many times as necessary until we figure out what resonates with customers.

Value Proposition Canvas video

The canvas can be printed in big size so all stakeholders can interact in a physical space or use the canvas in a platform like Miro where all the teams can interact simultaneously.

Here is the link to download the blank Canvas: https://www.strategyzer.com/canvas/value-proposition-canvas

The information on Canvas helps the internal team but we won’t present it to the final client in order to explain the product for them, of course.

People are not interested in using a product. Speaking about product functionality is not interesting initially. To generate the desire to use a service or a product, people need to know the advantages and how they will improve their lives.

No list of features, any technical detail is relevant. A potential customer needs a tangible message. Gathering separated elements we may compose what we want to transmit: E.g.: “Netflix makes it easy to choose movies for the family to enhance the family’s leisure time”

This way, we speak to a regular person in a regular way expecting them to embrace the offer and make their lives more comfortable.

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