Want more customers to come to you and not your rivals?
Wish you could stand out more and say ‘pick me!’?
Then you need a unique selling proposition.
A unique selling proposition (USP) is the thing that makes your brand unique.
Not only does it make you unique, it also makes you better than the competition.
Take Nike, for example. Whereas some of their rivals might make sneakers that give you blisters after you’ve been running in them for over an hour, Nike makes sneakers that are so super duper comfortable that you can even wear them to bed and during … well, okay maybe they’re not that good.
But you get the picture (and hopefully it isn’t too graphic).
Understanding Your Target Audience
For a USP to actually resonate with the right people, it has to be something that your target audience really cares a lot about – and not something you care about, and which you think the whole world should care about, too.
Take, for example, two brands that are selling the same kind of skincare product.
Brand A and Brand B are pretty damn similar in terms of the quality of the product and the price. What distinguishes them in the minds and eyes of certain customers is that Brand B does more for the environment by using sustainable ingredients.
Brand A, on the other hand, lose out because they’re still using plastics like it’s 1999. They’re also guilty of a bit of greenwashing and their minerals are sourced by children in an Indian mine. Hmm.
Brand B’s unique selling proposition in this scenario, then, is their focus on doing their bit for the environment.
What a Unique Selling Proposition Needs To Have
Let’s break down what a good USP needs to have:
- It knows what your customers want – Get inside the heads of your customers and find out what matters to them on a deeper level. Why do they buy? Is it out of convenience? Create surveys to find out more about your customers, and visit forums related to your niche where they hang out
- It needs to solve their problem – Customers don’t buy based so much on logic. They buy based on emotions, and they want you to solve their problems for them. If you’re focused on solving problems that don’t even exist, you will lose.
- It needs a captivating slogan – FedEx had a slogan that expresses their USP and hits home with their target audience. “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight,” taps into exactly what their customers are looking for
- It should be more than a slogan – A slogan is important as it can beautifully express your USP. But for your USP to be effective, it needs to be more than just a slogan. It needs to inform your entire brand. If “being there” for your customers whenever, wherever more than your rivals is your USP, you need to back your words up at all times
Why Do You Need a Unique Selling Proposition?
There may be times when you don’t need a USP, but these times are rare. In fact, the only time you might not need a USP is if you’re the only player in a particular niche.
Maybe, you know, you’re selling moon boots or something (I would buy).
Otherwise, it’s your USP that’s going to allow you to rise to the top in your (fairly) crowded niche so that you survive and thrive.
Get to know your rivals and how they’re framing their USP, and then learn more about your customers and what they really want from you. Then, put together a unique selling proposition that separates you from the pack, and which informs your brand and marketing strategies from now on.
What’s your USP?