I like to attend local seminars when I can, to connect with business owners and learn more about the issues they are facing. This week, I went to an excellent one given by John Sweeny, an entrepreneur and business growth expert from Business Doctors. His presentation explored the question “How well would your business do in the Dragon’s Den?” Going through all the common traps business owners get into, he illustrated the necessity for entrepreneurs to devote time to working on their business as opposed to in it, if they want to develop a viable growth strategy. It is a common scenario and has an immediate impact on PR campaign planning.

Part of this process includes completing a GIVE analysis. It is similar to a SWOT, but with an emphasis on defining the value proposition. As relevant for services as for product-focused businesses, it helps to distill what the business USPs are. Having a clear understanding of what you excel at means you can identify a business growth strategy that is achievable with minimal risk. A number of the businesses that come to me for a PR campaign don’t have clearly defined USPs, so I thought it would be interesting to write about.


Why is this important for PR campaign planning?

You might believe what you do is unique, but the reality is that it’s very rare these days to be offering something that truly hasn’t been done by someone else somewhere before. All too frequently when getting a new brief, I get the ‘so what’ feeling. This usually happens when I hear the client tell me they have ‘a unique software product’, ‘a new leadership framework’, that ‘no one is doing it like they are’. Habitually I visualise myself in a media relations situation, imaging having to contact the relevant journalists in their sector and tell them about this client’s proposition. How would they respond? Would they be interested? ‘So what?’ I hear them reply in my mind too, with a ‘Why is that relevant to my readership?’ If journalists are react this way you can bet that customers will too. Doing an exercise like the GIVE analysis is an essential part of the PR strategy development process.


How to complete a GIVE analysis

It’s not a framework I had come across before and as the name suggests, requires you to focus on identifying 4 things. What is the business GREAT at? Where could things IMPROVE? Where are they VULNERABLE vs. the competition? What’s their competitive EDGE?

Completing the exercise for my own business to provide an easy example, here’s what I came up with as a starting point. It’s an honest perspective and illustrates how an analysis like this, even if only completed at a very superficial level, gets you to think more deeply about your customers. What and why they are buying from you, plus how you want to be perceived?


Example: my super quick GIVE analysis

  • GREAT – spotting story angles, strategic thinking, writing B2B content and storytelling, B2B media relations, learning new client subject matter
  • IMPROVE – making more time for networking in person and social media, administrative discipline and planning
  • VULNERABLE – trying to do it all, not delegating, developing new expertise
  • EDGE – experience, knowledge, authenticity of approach, relationship building, attention to detail, maturity, customer satisfaction, getting beyond the ‘so what’ factor.


After completing a GIVE analysis, you will be able to define your USPs and how these can be developed to sustain a competitive advantage and business growth. At the Great and Edge stages, find ways to back up each of your claims with evidence and examples. Once this is clear and complete, you will be in a position to develop a clear strategy and begin PR campaign planning. It will be supported with engaging and credible brand messaging, using the examples as evidence to validate the claims of your value proposition.