How to use the value tree to communicate the right values to your customers

May 17, 2018News, WeAreIdeon

“You don’t realize how much you need this until you actually do the work”, this was said by Vala Zulfiu, Marketing & Communications Specialist at Sensative AB about the value tree workshops they had with Carin Madsén Kollberg a few months earlier. She accompanied Carin at the Marketing and Sales network to talk about and shared her experiences from working with value proposition design and how it has helped the team at Sensative.

Carin Madsén Kollberg
Carin Madsén Kollberg

Carin Madsén Kollberg came to our network to give us an introduction on how to define product’s different values and structure a tree. “When we communicate about a product, we are often good at describing the product’s values on a high level and the functions down in the product, but not how they are linked. The tree creates these connections and can be used to, communicate with customers in a better way to create trust”, Carin said.

Carin used a special water bottle as an example during the workshop for everyone to focus on when finding the values. “Customers are looking at the product in different ways. Some are interested in technical features, other in what gains the product will give or what it can bring as future possibilities. In this workshop we will put them together”, Carin said. “When you have built your value tree you can pick out the “right” values that help the customers with their challenges. “What you pick and highlight depends on the customers and their needs. You need to focus on the problems in that customer’s type of market”, Carin said.

“When talking to customers they will find appeal in different aspects of the value tree, like value or realization. You can see how it is all linked together, and so can they, but they might be persuaded by different values.”

Creating a value tree is a continuous job

“It is important that you bring a diverse team to the table when you do the value tree, so that they represent different parts of the organisation. Do it in at least two sessions, so that you will have time to reflect between the sessions”, Carin said.

Now it was time get to the practical parts of the workshop! We started by writing down all the benefits of the product, then grouped them into two categories; closer to the product or closer to the customer. The next step was to group the benefits into realisation, features, concept and values.

“When you have done this, you will have a tool where you can create the right messages to your different customer groups. Focus on your customer’s pains and gains, because if you can fix those you will more easily connect with the customer”, Carin explained.

Vala Zulifu, Sensative
Vala Zulifu, Sensative

“You must do this work continuously, you need to have a review process in place. The markets are changing so quickly and you need to be agile. But if you have learned the tool, you can make the updates continuously. The features might change and develop, but the customer values are less likely to change as often. With the tree, the values are connected to why we can say these things, you can follow the chain. Many companies are good at talking about customer values and the features, but there are usually steps missing and this is where the tree can help you”, Carin finished.

“After doing this value tree workshop we decided to take some time to make a communications plan that complements the marketing plan and that makes sure that our departments align. And having it in a visual way helped us a lot as an organisation”, Vala said.

The workshop was appreciated by all participants and some members in the network talked about coming together and helping each other to make create a value tree for their companies. Are you interested in finding out more about value proposition design? Find out more in the book “Value Proposition Design” or contact Carin for support.

Workshop marketing and sales network
Workshop marketing and sales network

About our speaker

Carin Madsén Kollberg has a unique background as both computer scientists and communicator and long experience as Project Manager and in communicating technical solutions, both external and internal. You can contact her at +46 709 302 684 or

Are you intested in growing your network and knowledge within marketing and sales? Thein join our network and connect with us in our Facebook group!


Always, always have the buyer’s perspective when crafting your message

December 4, 2017News, WeAreIdeon

Last week, the Ideon Marketing and Sales network had a great guest speaker, Sean Duffy from the Duffy Agency. The topic, how market research can help you identify your customer or target audience. Sean Duffy has extensive experience in this area, which spans industries such as food, education, automotive, fashion, pharma/life sciences and consumer goods. Did you miss it? Not to worry, here is a summary of some of the best tips from Sean!

Sean started of the seminar by asking all the participants to write a message to their customers mirrored on some clear plastic, to remind them how important it is to always take the customer’s perspective.

Always, always have a buyer perspective when you are crafting your message. What is their background, their cultural references? Sean Duffy

Sean Duffy, Duffy Agency

Sean Duffy, Duffy Agency

The best takeaway from the seminar are these guidelines to apply to your business when it comes to planning your marketing message:

  • Don’t expect to change people, listen to them, then adapt all 4 Ps to the market.
    (The four Ps of marketing are; product, price, promotion and place.)
  • Markets do not respond to quality, only value. Listen to what your customers are asking for.
  • Don’t export your domestic strategy. You can have a global value proposition, but the values must be local.
  • Don’t confuse data with understanding. The market has all the answers you need, if you only know how to ask them.
  • Don’t assume your norms are the standard everywhere. Understand the culture, test to be sure.

There was a question from the audience on where to start if you are a startup? You can not always travel to new markets to do research or afford to hire third party research, so what do you do?

“Strategic business planning needs to come before strategic marketing and brand development at this point. At this stage, you can try out different sales approaches. A trade fair is a great way to do market research”, said Sean. “Keep an open mind and be flexible, because your market value proposition will mostly change along the way”.

Join us for the next Ideon Marketing and Sales Network meeting

Do you want to learn more about marketing and sales and how you can do more for your business? Join our network! It is open for all Ideon companies and we meet once a month to get inspired, learn from each other and try our new ideas. The next meeting is on January 18, welcome!