A Unique Selling Proposition, commonly abbreviated as USP, refers to the elements of your brand and everything about your business, including your products, services, and staff, that consumers recognize as unique.
USP is a marketing concept that emphasizes the unique aspect of a product, service, or brand that sets it apart from its competitors in the market. The USP is a distinctive feature or benefit that addresses a specific customer need or problem in a way that competitors do not. Developing a strong USP is crucial for businesses to differentiate themselves and attract customers. It helps them communicate why their offering is superior and why customers should choose them over others.
A well-crafted USP can create a strong brand identity, enhance customer loyalty, and drive sales.
Put yourself in their shoes when a consumer is spoilt for choice, with hundreds of options at their disposal; what would they notice about your business that would convince them to pick you and not your competitors? If you can answer this question, you’ve found your USP!
There are different types of USPs. Some businesses focus on the attributes of their products, while some focus on customer service. The owner of Revlon, for instance, says he sells hope, not makeup. He says that he easily stands apart from the competition by selling his products as a source of hope to consumers.
Wal-Mart is an excellent example of a company whose unique proposition is low prices. The USP is often the caption on product branding, and it’s used across all marketing channels. Some great examples of USPs are used in captions and catchy phrases here.
How a USP Can Help You Stand Out
There are at least four ways a Unique Selling Proposition can help you stand apart from the competition:
1. Use to promote a unique benefit
Ask any expert, and they’ll tell you that in marketing, your biggest job is to make consumers understand how they stand to benefit from your product or service.
Why should they pick your brand? Why should they buy your products? What’s in for them? A unique selling proposition addresses this challenge. Using a well-thought-out USP, your marketing provides the perception that your products are indeed better than the rest and thus a ‘must buy’.
2. Increases customer loyalty
Once consumers believe buying from you is the only way forward, they’ll associate more with your brand and promote it for you. Referrals are your best prospects, and a happy customer loyal to your brand will go to some length to let their social media followers, friends, family and associates know you’re the best. Walmart, for example, is a low-cost brand whose loyal customers believe the hyper-store understands their needs.
There is a tipping point to reach where your USPs are ubiquitous, and now so much of your business is referrals and repeat customers.
3. A powerful USP increases brand recall
Brand recall is when consumers keep thinking about your brand even when they are not looking to make a purchase.
Take the example of Tesla. Many car manufacturers are currently producing electric cars, including Ford and Volkswagen. But, because Tesla has, from the beginning, positioned itself as the go-to electric car manufacturer, today, whenever consumers think about buying an electric car, the first brand that comes to mind is Tesla.
4. Simpler selling
When crafting a USP, businesses need to understand their target audience, identify their needs and pain points, and demonstrate how their offering uniquely addresses those needs better than the competition. It should be a clear and concise message that resonates with potential customers and stays memorable in their minds.
Finally, a Unique Selling Proposition can help you stand apart from the competition by simplifying selling. That’s because selling you to consumers becomes effortless when you have a USP that your sales reps understand and identify with.
It gets even better if the consumers are already aware of the USP. Even you will be surprised.
How To Change Your USPs
Changing a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) to beat the competition requires a strategic and thoughtful approach. When your business improves it’s services and products – it’s an ideal time to also change your USPs.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help businesses effectively modify their USPs.
Your audience has changed so to understand your target audience, their preferences, pain points, and what they value most you need to go back to research and how you’re capturing and updating your customer data. Also, analyze your competitors’ USPs to identify gaps and opportunities for creating the right marketing message.
Conduct a comprehensive analysis of your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This will help you identify areas where your USP can be enhanced. You think you know your business but it’s not the same as it was when you set it up. Regular SWOT analysis can be useful for revising your USPs and marketing messages.
Determine what sets your product or service apart from competitors. Focus on areas where you can offer something unique, valuable, and difficult to replicate. Even the smallest updates with new features can make a world of difference to your customers.
Emphasize the benefits your product/service provides to customers. Highlight how it solves their problems or fulfils their needs better than competitors’ offerings.
Innovate and improve your product or service. Introduce new features, functionalities, or technologies that give your customers a reason to choose you over competitors.
Quality and Performance
Ensure your product or service consistently meets or exceeds customer expectations. High-quality offerings can become a strong USP. It’s hard to ask for feedback for fear that it will not be favourable. However, you want to know how your business is performing so you can improve it.
Enhance the overall customer experience. Provide excellent customer support, easy purchasing processes, and personalized interactions.
Consider adjusting your pricing strategy. This could involve offering competitive prices, bundle deals, or value-added services that make your offering more appealing. Remember, there are many ways to compete, and price is just one way.
Sustainability and Ethics
If applicable, emphasize your commitment to sustainability, ethical practices, or social responsibility. Consumers increasingly value businesses that align with their values.
Branding and Marketing
Develop clear and compelling branding and messaging that effectively communicates your new USP to your target audience. Launch a targeted marketing campaign to promote your revised USP. Utilize various marketing channels, such as social media, content marketing, advertising, and influencer collaborations.
Remember that changing a USP can be a significant undertaking and may take time to see substantial results. It’s important to stay patient, committed, and responsive to the evolving needs of your target market.