The Unique Selling Proposition
Also known as a Unique Selling Point, or just USP for short, was coined in the 1940’s and is just as relevant today as it was back then.
So what exactly is a USP?
Well… in it’s most basic sense, a USP is the reason that customers choose you, and not someone else. It’s what makes you different, unique.
The trick is to be different for the right reasons, and in the right way.
The right reasons are to provide more value, and the right way is by being different in a way that matters to your customers.
There’s little point in crafting a USP that customers don’t care about, or worse, don’t even like, and if you create a USP that’s not unique, well, then all you have is a selling proposition.
If you can’t accurately define what makes you different/better than your competitors, then neither can your customers.
In most cases there is little value in being rude, slow, or unreliable (though there are exceptions when it comes to luxury marketing)
At the other extreme, being faster and cheaper may be desirable, but these are rarely unique as many brands “race to the bottom” of the price chain (ie, Walmart) and can now offer incredibly fast shipping (ie Amazon)
You’re unlikely to out-Walmart, Walmart, or out-Amazon, Amazon, so unless that’s your goal, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to try.
There are USP’s however, that are both desirable, and attainable.
Many brands claim exceptional customer service, but few deliver (less than 8% according to the statistics the last time I checked) so why not reach for that goal.
Or what about being unique in your delivery, or exchange policy, or level of service, or variety (or lack of variety as is the case in many specialty stores) in goods sold.
You could offer greater product depth or breadth, or less! What about greater service knowledge, or after-service care?
How about infusing your own personality into your product or service, that’s unique, and may just be the human factor your customers are looking for in a business.
There are many ways to design the perfect USP, the point is to base your decision on factors that are different from competitors, and that actually matter to your customers.