Value Proposition Canvas Explained

The Value Proposition Canvas is a tool which helps you make sure that your product or service is something that your customer or ideal client values or needs. It was originally designed by Dr Alexander Osterwalder of Strategizer alongside the business model canvas which you can watch a quick video of here:

For the value proposition map, we are taking the first two sections from the business model canvas (you can read about how that works here). The value proposition section and the customer segments section and we're going to dive into them in far more detail to figure out exactly how you can best serve your customers and provide them with a product or service that is exactly what they want or need!

Section 1: The Customer Segment Profile

The customer segment profile describes the customers' characteristics in more detail and it is composed of 3 different sections.

  1. The jobs your customer wants or needs to be done.

  2. Their pains related to that job, e.g. negative aspects they'd like to avoid.

  3. Gains what would make things easier relating to the job. The positive outcomes or benefits to having that job done.

Let's look at each section in a little more detail now.

The Jobs-to-be-done.

These jobs could be one of many things. It could be, tasks your customers are trying to perform and complete, problems they're trying to solve or needs that need to be met. They can be practical, emotional or social. Either practical things like getting from one place to another, emotional can be things like not having to worry about something and social can be things like trying to impress someone. They don't have to be essential jobs to be something your customer really wants!


The pains can be anything that annoys your customers before, during or after getting a job done. Any negative outcome at any point during that process can be a pain. So, ask yourself (regarding each individual job.): What is troubling or annoying to your customers? What is stopping them from getting the job done or at least, getting it done successfully? What is keep your customers up at night?


The gains are the positive outcomes or benefits your customers need or want for that particular job. These can be things that they expect, but it can also be things they could be happily surprised by. So ask yourself: What would make your customer happy? What would make their life and job-to-be-done easier? Lastly, what do your customers dream about or wish for?

Now let's go into an example of the Customer Segment Profile.

Going back to my particular profession, photography (If you're looking for a photographer for your own business, whether it be headshots, products etc go ahead and pop me an email here) imagine the job my clients need to be done is a beautiful photo album of their wedding day. Using the questions above let's have a look at the pains and gains my customers might have relating to this 'job-to-be-done.'

If a couple hadn't booked me to provide them with high quality, professional photographs of their special day and to create and design an album for them what would their pains be? They would either have to ask a family member or a close friend to do the photos for them or they might not even have anyone at all! So, in this situation the pains would probably be things like:

  1. Missed moments - things that family members wouldn't know/remember to photograph

  2. Stress on the day, trying to remember all the shots you want, maybe not trusting whoever's taking the photo to get attractive angles etc..

  3. The designated family member might miss essential moments of the day that you want them to be a part of.

  4. There might be a lot of work afterwards collating photos from different guests to try and put into an album.

  5. The final album won't be as consistent/good representation of their memories.

  6. The images could be bad quality if just taken on phone cameras etc..

Moving on to the gains, what is going to make this client/customer happy in this situation, what positive outcomes are they looking for? So for my clients who want a beautiful album of their wedding day, these are the things they are expecting or hoping for:

  1. High-quality images

  2. All the desired moments captured (and far more!)

  3. The stunning final product - Luxury photo album.

Now, that we have figured out what jobs our customers want to accomplished, what are the negative outcomes that they don't want to have and what the positive outcomes are, we can move on to our value proposition and learn how to make sure we fulfil their needs and desires with our product or service.

Let's have a look at the value proposition map. This is a way you can design products or services that you know will create the most value for your customers. These value propositions can now be designed to address your customers jobs they need to be done and their pains and gains relating to those jobs. This map is composed of:

  1. The products and services you provide.

  2. The pain relievers, so how your products and services are relieving your customer's pains.

  3. The gain creators which is how your products and services create gains for your customers.

Let's look at each section a little closer:

Products and services.

These simply outline the products or services you are offering your customers that will help them get a social, emotional or functional job done. This could be several different things or just one depending on your individual business.

Pain Relievers.

The pain relievers make it completely clear in what ways your product or service will relieve their pains. These can be before, during or after the customer is trying to get a job done. You target particular pains the customer has relating to that job it doesn't have to be all of them.

Gain Creators.

Like the pain relievers above, these gain creators show exactly how your products and services are going to create gains for your customer. We do this by looking at our customer profile and seeing how we can fulfil their 'gains' their hopes and expectations for that particular job and even help them exceed their expectations.

Now, let's continue with our example above and look at this value proposition map.

My service and product that I am providing for the customer example above is their wedding photography on their big day and creating a beautiful album of that day afterwards, it's pretty simple really, the job they want to get done is a beautiful wedding album, so that's what I'm going to provide them with.

The best way to make sure your product and service are exactly what your customer wants is to make sure that your pain relievers actually relieve their pains and your gain creators really do create gains for them! We need to make sure that our value that we're providing is perfect for our customer profile!

So how can I help my lovely customers relieve their pains in this area?

  1. Preparation - I make sure that I have met my clients and helped them plan their day in a way that leaves plenty of space for planned photographs as well as gone through a list of shots they want with them so that I don't miss any of the moments that are really important for them to have captured! I also give them little tips to help me not miss those moments too, e.g. "have a couple of first kisses!"

  2. Pro Equipment and Backup Equipment - All of my equipment is professional-level equipment, which means the results of their wedding day photography are going to be very high quality. I also make sure I have several backups in case something breaks or malfunctions. E.g. extra batteries, memory cards and an extra backup camera! This will prevent my clients from needing to worry about anything being missed on their day.

  3. Experience - I am obviously a professional, and have photographed many weddings before so I know what I am doing! This will relieve any worries of having a family member photograph and not really know what they're doing!

  4. Sole job - I won't have any other distractions on the day e.g. having my children there, wanting to be a part of the day as a guest etc.. so I will be solely focussed on grabbing beautiful photos!

So those are the pain relievers so let's move on to the gain creators. What parts of my service help my customers achieve their goals or make their lives easier?

  1. High-Quality Images - As I have professional equipment their images are going to be high quality and I will hopefully surprise my customers with some beautiful photos they didn't expect!

  2. No Missed Moments - As we said above I have done everything in my power to be prepared and use my experience and knowledge of the job to make sure I don't miss any moment!

  3. Beautiful Professional Album - Being a photographer I use professional wedding album printers to provide my clients with a stunning heirloom album that will exceed their expectations and be something they (and their family) can treasure for generations to come!

There you have it! The value proposition map explained as simply as I can for you. This map has helped me tremendously in my own business and I really hope it does for you too. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions and let me know what your business idea is too!

If you missed out on The Business Model Canvas blog earlier in the month make sure you go ahead and read it so you can fully make the most of this one too.

Also, don't forget to join the Georgia-Beth Photography family so you don't miss out on any more useful blogs coming up!

I'm always cheering you on!

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