How Higher Ed Institutions Can Hone In On Their Purpose to Increase Their Value
CategoriesCorporate Alliances / Social Impact / Higher Ed Foundations
“Purpose” commitments are now a business decision, and one that is followed with targeted pain points and a crowded marketplace. Higher education institutions have to redefine the way they position and package their value to corporations to become a true partner and no longer just a beneficiary. We’ve borrowed basic business principles to help you understand your value and competitively position your Institution like a boss!
In business, there’s a concept called value-based selling. It’s a simple sales method that focuses on creating and communicating the value your customers will get from a product or service, rather than on the price or overcoming adoption barriers. The first step in developing a value-based corporate partnership program is identifying those pain points. While many companies have different needs and goals, most of their pain points can be described in five groups.
- Brand Reputation + Awareness
- Employee Engagement
- Customer Engagement
- Societal Solution
- ESG Goals
Next, a higher ed institution must define its value to a company. When thinking about value, consider four main categories:
- Business Value: In business, the first question asked is, “what business challenge are we/can we solve for your customers?” A great way to demonstrate business value to your corporate partner is to position your institution as a thought leader, an expert in your field.
- Financial Value: You can think of your “financial value” as the tangible value of your brand, recognition and activation opportunities. Some call this your “Asset Matrix” that offers parameters around your minimum requirement for corporate partners to exchange your intellectual property, how you will recognize their support of your institution and how you will activate your supporters and their constituents. Not knowing your financial value will risk unrealized revenue, overextended resources or out-pricing yourself within the marketplace.
- Constituent Value: If the product/service is easy to use, encourages consistent engagement, and meets business goals, it’s a win! Your partnerships are no different. Strive to answer these key questions, “How can our partnership help companies:
- Engage more employees
- Increase employee trust and perception of employer
- Expand their skills”
- Solution Value: Now ask, “Why are we the best option for a strategic partnership?” What’s YOUR impact on this societal challenge? How do you approach your mission differently or better than others?
Defining the value you can bring to a company is important. Determining your unique value proposition is critical – and even more difficult. The difference between value and unique value can be illustrated through a traditional sales concept called the “Value Wedge”.
PARTNERSHIP VALUE PARITY: a value proposition that several institutions can claim and deliver on. Your institution must evoke similar value offerings to partners as other institutions to remain competitive. While Partnership Value Parity is necessary, it is not differentiating or unique.
PARTNERSHIP VALUE WEDGE: a value offering that is exclusively unique to your institution. This proprietary value point could include activation opportunities, programmatic impact, your approach to your mission, or even how you steward your partners.
Once you’ve done the hard work to identify your promise to corporate partners, what they will gain from partnering with you and why they should choose you over competitors, consider this methodology to package your institution in an understandable and impactful way.
- Why – Why does your institution exist?
- What – What impact does your institution have on its mission?
- Need – Why does your institution need to raise money?
- Promise – What can you deliver to partners?
- Benefits – What will your partners gain from supporting you?
- Unique Value Proposition – Why should a company choose to partner with your institution?
To download Accelerist’s full Playbook on how to competitively position your institution to the corporate sector, click here.
Accelerist is the leader in social impact partnership technology, supporting hundreds of brands and charitable institutions in finding and growing their partnerships with each other.
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