What is a USP you ask? A USP is your Unique Selling Proposition, something that is specific and unique to you or your business that also adds value to the potential client or customer.
The term was coined by a man named Rosser Reeves, he built the campaigns for some of the largest brands we know today: M&M’s, Colgate, Bic and many more.
Why should you try to articulate your business' USP? Because in today’s day and age, it is growing ever more important to cut through all of the marketing noise people have become accustomed to. As a business owner you need to demonstrate to your customers what you can offer them that makes you stand out from the competition.
Now that you understand how important a USP is, let’s have a look at some examples of what makes a good USP.
- “A Diamond is forever”
You can’t make a list of USPs without mentioning DeBeers. They have been using this USP since 1948 and continue to use it to this day. Why is it so good? Because it demonstrates the strength and longevity that diamonds have and uses this fact to symbolise love.
- “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
This was FedEx’s USP for a very long time, why is it so good? Because it gives the customer an assurance in what service is being delivered and why you would use them specifically.
- “We're number two. We try harder.”
This brilliant USP was used by Avis, the car rental company. At the time, they were second to Hertz and needed something that would encourage more people to use their service. The campaign was so successful, Avis' market share went from 11% to 35% in just four years.
Now that we have seen some examples of what a good USP looks like, let’s dive into some of the key steps in building your own USP.
- It describes your target market: Who they are, what they are feeling, what they would like to feel
- It explains the problem you/your business solves: Unless you are specific in the why behind someone using your service or product, they will not have any motivation to buy from you.
- It mentions the largest distinctive benefit: This is the big one - what is the largest thing you bring to the table outside of your competition?
- It outlines your guarantee: Like we saw with FedEx, the guarantee is overnight delivery. What are you able to quickly articulate as a guarantee to your customers?
- It’s easy to remember; use the KISS formula.
Re-work as many times as necessary to come up with something perfect. This should be the hardest part, but when you find it, you’ll know!
Another important thing to remember about USPs is that they are not something that has to remain the same indefinitely. Businesses are allowed to change and pivot on what they specialise in and what they offer as the market demands. Do not make the mistake of pigeonholing yourself into an offering or product that is no longer needed. Feel free to re-work, reword and revisit your USP whenever is needed.
If done correctly, a USP has the potential to drive more people to your business, help people remember your business, and build trust more easily. It is answering the simple question “Why should I buy from you?”
Keep in mind all of the above and you are well on your way to a winning USP!
For further reading on marketing, check out our post on How to discover your company's voice with brand archetypes.