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In this article, we’ll dive deep into the characteristics of unique selling propositions and share five great examples to help inspire you.
Image source: Flickr
What is the chance that you are the only one offering a specific product on the market? Probably none. In fact, the competition is so high nowadays that you have to fight for every single customer.
This is where a unique selling proposition (also known as a unique selling point) comes into play.
It helps you point out the very best aspect of your business and drive more customers to you. Once you step into competitive marketplaces and niche marketing industries, there’s no turning back. Your job is to make your USP so attractive that people cannot forget you.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
A unique selling proposition, or USP, is the one aspect of your business, and your personal brand, that sets you apart from the rest. It is often communicated verbally, through a slogan or a short tagline. USP can be related to a specific feature of your product or an experience you want to emphasize.
For example, if you have a small business, selling custom-made, leather shoes, you need to find this one unique aspect that makes your business stand out.
Do you use old-fashioned techniques for making shoes that not many people know of? Are your shoes in vibrant colors or have an outstanding design?
Take a look at Rivir shoes. Their design is very quirky and unusual. This is exactly what they want to emphasize. ”Expressing art on your feet” communicates the one thing that sets them apart from the rest.
Sometimes it’s hard to find a specific benefit relevant to potential customers. Once you find it, though, it will be easy to “sell” your product or service and attract the right audience for it.
However, it’s not enough just to come up with a unique selling point and expect to see results. For it to be effective, your entire branding has to highlight your USP. This includes your logo, visual identity, slogan, motto and many more. When people hear your USP, they should immediately connect it with a particular product.
Take Nike’s unique selling proposition that is embedded in their slogan – “Just do it.” When you hear it, you immediately think of action. You also connect it with high-quality shoes and sports equipment. It is incredibly simple, yet communicates the essence of Nike’s brand philosophy.
A unique selling proposition (USP) can help you frame your company’s branding approach. It impacts almost every area of your business and helps you acquire new customers.
You can include your unique selling proposition in your marketing efforts and sales strategy, on your website and even on the product itself. It becomes an integral part of your business and the first thing people think of when they hear your company’s name.
Without it, you risk blending in with the rest of the competition and having very limited success. Also, you may struggle with your marketing strategy, since you won’t know what to emphasize. In the long run, this means a lot of experimenting that only wastes your time and money.
Now, let’s take a look at how you can come closer to finding your own unique selling proposition. First step – understanding elements of effective unique selling propositions.
Can Your Personal Brand Be the USP?
Yes, for sure! A personal brand is an overall impression a person makes to others, and it can be your biggest differentiator in business.
Consider Elon Musk and Tesla.
Despite the fact that Tesla is not the only electric car on the market, you most likely associate it with Elon Musk’s character traits (or the picture he created of himself as a personal brand). Your brain will immediately come up with words like ‘opportunistic, space-age, modern, and fast.’ This likewise holds true for any other USP built on a personal brand.
First of all, creating your unique selling proposition is one of the most important parts of your branding. It impacts how people view your business as a whole. This can either attract them or drive them away. You only have one chance for a first impression, so you need to be very careful with crafting your unique selling proposition.
There are 3 specific attributes that are an integral part of your USP. These include the benefits that customers have, the uniqueness of your message and how much it targets their pain point. If you skip one of these, you may not get the results you’re looking for.
Here are some elements to consider:
Now, this is often easier said than done. Incorporating your business’ essence in just a few words can be very challenging.
If you’re not sure where to begin, consider some of these questions:
This is the first step toward crafting your company’s unique selling proposition. In the next section, we will go through actionable steps you need to take in order to specify your ideas.
There is no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to developing your own unique selling proposition. However, a few best practices work across markets, and any business owner can implement them successfully.
Below, we list proven methods to help you get results and help your business thrive:
Since your USP should provide value to people, your first step is to define who your audience is. Even if it ends up being broad, you can use that to your advantage by emphasizing that your product/service helps everyone – from 7 to 107.
Here are some characteristics that can help you analyze your target group:
Some people skip this step because some of the answers may seem obvious. The best example to refute this belief is Coca-Cola. If you remember the famous Coca-Cola Christmas commercial, they all show a warm, family experience. Coca-Cola uses the same motive in different commercials, based on the needs of a specific target market. This would’ve been impossible unless they studied their people in great detail.
Who’s your competition? What’s their unique selling proposition? How do they serve your audience? How do people respond to their USP?
We encourage you to dive very deep into this analysis. The more questions you ask, the better you will understand your competition and where you stand. You’ll also better identify client pain areas and competitive advantage chances.
The idea is not for you to copy your competition’s approach. Even if your competitor has a great strategy, it may not work for you since it’s already taken.
However, if you can find an area that nobody covers, this is your chance! Learning about your competition’s strengths and shortcomings can help you create an authentic USP for your brand.
It is easy to fall into the trap of describing your product or service, without thinking about your customers. The best way of attracting people is to answer their needs. If you can show this through your unique selling proposition, people will come to you.
For example, if you run a delivery service company. You don’t want to talk about the number of your trucks or the number of deliveries you can cover in a day. Instead, focus on the customer’s benefits. Can you make delivery in less than 24 hours? Perfect. Tell your audience that their package will arrive before the sun sets in.
This is just an idea to help you shift focus from explaining features or technicalities, to targeting the very specific needs of your audience.
Yes, making a unique selling proposition is a serious task that shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, you must not forget to be creative in the process.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try different approaches. If you choose the safe strategy, your success may be limited.
Think of it this way – if you don’t enjoy your unique selling proposition, neither will your customers. They may acknowledge it but probably won’t take any action.
Therefore, allow yourself to be bold and creative. Put all of your ideas in writing. Even if they seem impossible, they can still serve as an inspiration in the process.
In the brainstorming phase, you should rely on your imagination and really put yourself in the shoes of your audience. You probably won’t come up with a USP after one attempt, so give yourself the freedom to experiment.
Once you’ve finished with the creative process, it’s important to test your USP before you release it to the public. This is particularly important if you have an unusual tagline that you’re not sure people will like.
There are different ways of ensuring your USP is welcomed by the public. Don’t skip this phase as it’s very hard to change your USP after you share it with your audience.
In the next section, we’ll review some of the most effective ways of analyzing your USP to help you get started.
Before making a purchase, customers often perform some sort of cost/benefit analysis to ensure they are getting the best value for their money.
The stronger an impact you make on your customers, the greater the chance they’ll entertain the idea of buying from you and finalize the purchase with your brand.
But, how do you analyze your USP and build it for success? In a few steps, really:
It’s important to know what people think about your USP before committing, so conduct an experiment.
Create a social media post that incorporates it and see how people react. Does the comments section fill with positive or negative feedback? This can help you see whether users understand your point or not. You can then make changes, if necessary.
If you’re unsure what drives your clients to buy from you, A/B testing your company’s unique selling proposition on landing pages can assist. By comparing different USPs, you can evaluate which messages resonate most with your target audience by assessing a specific conversion goal, such as a product purchase.
Let’s imagine you’re in the business of selling ceramic cups, a rare and collectible variety of mugs. You can’t tell if people are more compelled to buy them because of the ‘goldstone’ in the mugs or their antiquity (they are more than 100 years old).
To get a better idea of your USP’s impact on customers, send out surveys or interview people who have already bought from you.
You can also interview your customers to get their thoughts on your USP and brand strategy.
People buy and decide on a product for different, often personal reasons. Your goal is to listen carefully and try to understand these reasons.
Once you get answers to these questions, you’ll know which direction to take further. It doesn’t hurt to follow results-oriented B2B development tips, either.
As communicated above, a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is your company’s competitive advantage compared to your competition. It is a statement that describes how your product or company is different (and hopefully better) than the competition. The best USPs take a unique quality and explain how that quality will benefit your customers, all in a few memorable words.
Many companies past and present use USPs as their slogans so that they can put them in front of as many prospective customers as possible. In fact, some of the best slogans of the past have used unique product qualities that no one would think were good selling points — until they worked!
Here are a few particularly compelling Unique Selling Proposition examples to check out.
“We’re number two. We try harder.”
This USP does a remarkable job of turning what seems like a negative quality into a benefit. For many years, Avis was in the unfortunate position of being the second-largest car rental company, while Hertz claimed the #1 spot.
In fact, Avis was having trouble just staying solvent. So Avis decided it was time for a total image makeover and hired the famous ad agency Doyle Dane Bernbach to come up with a new ad campaign that would pull the company out of its hole. The ‘We Try Harder’ campaign was so successful, Avis’ market share went from 11% to 35% in just four years.
“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
FedEx no longer uses this slogan, but while it lasted it was perhaps the perfect example of a great USP. In a few words, FedEx gives its customers the guarantee that it will deliver their packages safely and on time. The slogan actually delivers not one but two benefits: the security of knowing that the package will be delivered as promised, and the ability to save time by getting it there overnight. Sadly, FedEx has since replaced it with the slogan, “The World on Time,” which is far less powerful because it doesn’t contain a USP.
“The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”
This is an example of how even a quirky USP can attract customer interest. Who would think of making a selling point out of the fact that your product doesn’t melt when you hold it? M&Ms did, and it worked very well for them. This goes to show that as long as a benefit is meaningful to prospective customers, it will be effective. In this case, the fact that the M&M candy shell keeps the chocolate inside from oozing out and dirtying your hands is a definite plus for customers.
“A diamond is forever.”
There’s a reason that the famous DeBeers slogan has been in use since 1948 and is still used by the company to this day. The USP here is that diamonds, being almost unbreakable, last forever and thus are the perfect symbol for eternal love. As a result, diamonds became by far the most popular choice for engagement rings. It’s no surprise that Advertising Age magazine named this the best slogan of the 20th century.
“You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.”
This slogan is really too long to be catchy, but it’s still an excellent USP because it spells out a guarantee with perfect clarity. The terms of the deal are laid out so specifically that Domino’s customers know they can hold the company to it. Sadly, Domino’s no longer uses this slogan or offers this deal because it lead to a series of car accidents when delivery drivers started driving like maniacs so that they could beat the thirty-minute limit.
A USP is more than just a catchy headline on your website. In the end, it’s all about how the rest of the world perceives your products or perhaps your entire company.
Having a strong unique selling proposition doesn’t necessitate that your products are completely original. As an alternative, seek an area of the market that hasn’t been occupied by your competitors.
Many strategies to market your items exist but the greatest way to stand out is by focusing on your USP, which is what sets you apart from your competition and what your customers care about.
Unique selling proposition (USP), also known as the unique selling point or the unique value proposition (UVP) in the business model canvas, is the marketing approach of showing clients how one’s own brand or product is superior to those of competitors (in addition to its other values).
Coca-Cola’s main selling point is to think of the product as happiness in a bottle. By advertising coke like this, the company encourages individuals to create a joyful reality by becoming a part of the Coca-Cola family. Coca-Cola’s success is mirrored in its distinctive selling concept, which dates back to 1886. It connects with clients all across the world through universal narratives and everyday moments.
A USP, or unique selling proposition, is that one competitive advantage you’ve got over your competitors. It’s a distinct advantage that makes you and/or your company stand out from the competition in your market.
A unique selling proposition (USP) is the distinct advantage displayed by a company, service, or product that differentiates it from competitors. The unique selling proposition must be a feature that highlights consumer-relevant product benefits. USP emphasizes specific claims of uniqueness using an objectively verifiable product trait or in-use advantage.
About the author
Iryna Kutnyak – Director of Operations at Quoleady – SaaS Content Marketing Agency, growing SaaS blogs through evergreen content. Iryna has over 10 years of experience in Management, including 8+ years in Content Marketing and 6+ years working with SaaS. Contact her on LinkedIn.