Unique Selling Proposition

What it isn't & what makes up a good one

With the ongoing globalization, the competition online since has been undergoing a constant increase. E-commerce brands have to face a growing online landscape with competitors springing up like mushrooms. Indeed, today are around 1.7 billion websites in the world wide web. For a brand who wants to establish a lasting business, any brand must develop a well-thought USP.

It doesn’t matter if you are a Start-up or a company which is currently rethinking its USP, it’s significant to find and communicate the winning difference of your brand effectively to prospective buyers.

In this article, we will have a look which misconceptions about USPs there are and what you need to consider when defining your unique selling proposition.

USP, the unique selling proposition or unique selling point, is one of the all-time buzzwords. It not only serves for the marketing & sales department, but it has to be seen as a part of the business or rather branding strategy. It states a step of great importance in your business or product lifecycle.

At first sight, it sounds quite simple: What does your brand different or even better than competitors? If you are now taking more than 5 seconds to think about your business’ secret sauce, it frankly tells you lack a USP which makes you an ordinary fish in a big ocean.

The absence of a USP moreover means that …

  • a clear positioning of your brand in the market is missing
  • there is no outstanding (feature) to set your company and products apart from the competition
  • there is no “reason why” a customer should choose you over all the other competitors

Today there are around 1.7 billion websites in the world wide web

What is not a USP?

A unique selling point is helping businesses to succeed. It should be the core company identity, but often its purpose and usage is misunderstood. Many years ago, the following points were considered as strong USPs: 24/7 customer service, free shipping, 5% discount for every purchase, 30 days return policy, highest quality products, lowest prices

As you may already think, today, they are almost taken for granted. Some of them can even be assigned to the category of marketing offers. Most likely you are asking yourself at this point how to figure out if your current USP or even just done draft is a real USP or not.

Let’s start with what a USP isn’t:

  • a statement or which can be easily copied and applied by the competition
  • a fake USP which promises only empty words
  • a slogan or positioning statement which changes from marketing to marketing campaign 
  • a persuasive written copy somewhere in your website or homepage header with 30 px size
  • a marketing offer

What are the ingredients of a great USP:

A company has to clearly understand what influences buying decisions and what are the motivations of its costumers. A compelling USP strives to communicate the unique value or benefit of your brand. It’s a differentiator which helps to shape and streamline your marketing goals. In addition to that, it shows that your products are made with a purpose.

A company can base or attach its USP on one of the 4 P’s of marketing:

Product: Special characteristics of a product or services
Promotion: A unique promotional strategy
Place: Specialities regarding location and distribution
Price: The structure of prices the company has in place

But pay attention here: a USP depends heavily on the purpose of the business, the industry as well as on the vertical and horizontal product line. Consequently, the definition phase is unique for every brand or company.

The recipe

  • Ensure that your USP doesn’t match one of the points mentioned above.

     

  • Create a memorable USP which leaves a positive impression in the client’s eyes.

     

  • Try to understand what influences buying decisions of the consumers you are trying to attract. Don’t create a benefit/ differentiation which is not valued by the target audience you would like to attract.

     

  • A USP does not necessarily state a superlative: to be the cheapest, to have the greatest choice. Just imagine an eCommerce which offers 300 different t-shirts in medium quality. Wouldn’t you prefer one with 30 with a fine selection and good quality?

     

  • Don’t write a novel. A good USP should not take more than 5 seconds to read.

  • Create sustainable/maintainable value proposition which reflects your brand. Make sure that your business doesn’t promise something that it is not able to deliver.

 

  • A USP has to be reviewed regularly and should not stay for many years as your business most likely is going to develop further. However, it should not change with every marketing campaign.

Examples you can learn from

Trello
Trello lets you work more collaboratively and get more done.
Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible, and rewarding way.

Trello makes you immediately understand which benefits their product brings.

SoundCloud
What’s next in music is first on SoundCloud
Upload your first track and begin your journey. SoundCloud gives you space to create, find your fans, and connect with other artists.

SoundCloud explains one of the biggest values, which is having new music trends first – the discovery of new artists on their platform.

M&M
The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

Also, here we have a compelling and catchy phrase, which addresses one of the main issues chocolate brings and promises to solve it.

Do you need help with finding and defining your USP? Contact us!

Final thoughts

Make sure to walk a few miles in your customer’s shoes to fully understand what a value is for her/him. If you are still in your baby shoes and you need to start from scratch, don’t hesitate to have a closer look at some of your competitors. If you have enough courage, go to visit one of their stores – in case they are selling locally. Try to find answers to questions like “What are they doing especially good? Are there things they could improve? How do they sell? Why would you choose them over another store?” After your “investigation” analyse your experience and notes (you hopefully took).

Remember that price is not always the decisive reason why people buy; it is about the whole customer experience, which contributes heavily to their decision process. In the end, your USP has to address the customer’s needs. If you came up with the perfectly fitting USP for your business, make sure you communicate it to your clients sufficiently!