Unique Selling Proposition – What Is a USP and How You Can Destroy It

Unique Selling Proposition – What Is a USP and How You Can Destroy It

If you are in business, you have probably at least heard of a Unique Selling Proposition or USP.  It’s one of those terms that almost every business owner has heard of.  But hardly anyone ever uses.

Which is too bad, because once you understand the power of a Unique Selling Proposition to your company, you will wonder how businesses ever survive without one.

In fact, you need to understand that if you do any marketing at all, your Unique Selling proposition is the most important part of that campaign.

However, beyond being the basis of your marketing campaign, a USP needs to be the basis of everything that your company does.  And this is where many companies who do go out of their way to create a Unique Selling Proposition get it wrong.

You see, if you create a Unique Selling Proposition for your marketing campaign, and then your company doesn't live whatever it is, you can actually cause your company more damage than not having a USP.  A good example of this would be BP…

But, before we go there, let’s take a step back, and look at what a Unique Selling Proposition is.

Simply stated, a Unique Selling Proposition means to give your ideal customers a reason to buy from you.  What is it that makes your company or product unique?  And why they can not live without it.

While there are a number of individual steps in creating a Unique Selling Proposition for your company, it comes down to really 3 things.

1.  Figuring Out and / or deciding  Who your Ideal Client is

2.  Finding out what they need

3.  Presenting your company or product in a way that exactly fills those needs.

Number 3 should be condensed into one or 2 lines max.  So your customers know exactly who you are and why they need you.

A couple of examples of famous USPS are:

  • Domino’s Pizza – “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less — or it's free.”
  • Avis Car Rentals – “We Try Harder”

A USP like the ones above can be extremely powerful.  They identify exactly why your ideal customer should buy from you.

But, there is one big way to destroy everything a Unique Selling Proposition has done for your company.

Once you have identified your ideal customer, their needs, and presented your USP in your marketing campaign, your company needs to live it.  In all of its operations.

Remember earlier, I mentioned BP.  They promoted a USP around environmental awareness.  They even changed their name from British Petroleum to BP to diminish the message of Petroleum.  But, after the Gulf disaster this USP has been destroyed.

It doesn't even matter who was at fault, or if the chance of failure was infinitely low.  The fact that their USP was all about the environment, and their company had the spill makes it worse for them than if their USP was unrelated to the environment.  In fact, some say it has damaged, or at least put at risk, other companies whose selling propositions are built around environmental issues.

It’s that important.

A Unique Selling Proposition is not something you should rush.  You should get input from management, employees, customers and more.  But, it is certainly worth doing and can be extremely powerful for your business.

By creating a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) before you begin any of your marketing campaigns, and if you are living those values, you are creating an image for your product or company that can last a lifetime.

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