A Unique Selling Proposition, commonly abbreviated as USP, refers to the elements of your brand and everything about your business, including your products, services, staff, that consumers recognise as unique.
Put yourself in their shoes, when a consumer is spoilt for choice, with hundreds of options at their disposal, what would he or she 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 attributes of their products while some focus on customer service. The owner of Revlon, for instance, says he sells hope, not the makeup. He says that by selling his products as a source of hope to consumers, he easily stands apart from the competition.
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. There are some great examples of USPs 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. Through 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 who is loyal to your brand will go to some length to let their social media followers, friends, family and associates know you’re the best. Wal-Mart for example is a low cost brand and it’s 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. There are many car manufacturers 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
Finally, a Unique Selling Proposition can also help you stand apart from the competition by simplifying selling. That’s because when you have a USP that your sales reps understand and identify with, selling you to consumers becomes effortless.
It gets even better if the consumers themselves are already aware of the USP. Even you will be surprised.