Being ahead of competition is one thing many business owners share. While on the other hand, on the consumers´ side, they are bombarded with an overload of brands seeking their attention as each brand seeks to make a sale.
This has made many consumers weary before they make a purchase of any new product, fearing that they may have bought into the wrong product; it could be fake, or bought at a higher price than it should have been.
A mistake most business owners make is, instead of finding a strategic way of reaching their market, they continue to bombard their target market with more and more of their products, using every channel of communication but not offering any compelling reason for consumers to buy their brand.
Professor Theodore Levitt of Harvard Business School once said, “Differentiation is one of the most strategic and tactical activities in which companies must constantly engage.” A strategic business owner must therefore consider differentiation as one of the most important steps to getting ahead of their competition.
What is a Unique Selling Proposition?
According to BusinessDictionary.com a unique selling proposition is defined as a real or perceived benefit of a good or service that differentiates it from the competing brands and gives its buyer a logical reason to prefer it over other brands.
Also known as a Value Proposition, a U.S.P (Unique Selling Proposition) is the unique advantage that your service or product offers to your consumers.
In short, it´s the compelling reason that makes or will make your buyers prefer you over your competition.
How to Develop my U.S.P
Though businesses may be in the same market, they should not have similar U.S.Ps. As a business owner, you first need to look at your business from a buyer´s point of view. Without any bias, assess your business according to how your buyers would see it.
Ask yourself, which of the problems in the marketplace are you helping to solve? What are the unfulfilled needs in the market? Is there a need for variety in products or the need for a trustworthy person to guide the consumers or a need for time saving services?
Once you´ve been able to answer these questions, you need to find a niche need that you can fulfill and offer great advantage to your consumers. Make sure that you can adequately deliver on your promise. If you choose to base your U.S.P on having a variety of products, you need to make sure that you are fully stocked and able to provide all the products as required by your consumers.
You should also make sure not to overpromise on your claims. An example is, when Domino´s Pizza started out, their U.S.P was. ´Hot, juicy, delicious pizza – delivered to your door in thirty minutes or less – or it´s yours absolutely free.´ But they could not continue with this claim due to the frequent accidents caused by their delivery drivers, in a hurry to beat the 30 minute deadline.
Once decided on a U.S.P, you need to articulate and express it clearly to your buyers while avoiding being generic and abstract in your claims. Claims such as ´Quality Products and Quick Services.´ should be avoided instead you need to define what ´Quality´ means. Is it ´Handcrafted´, ´Swiss Design´?
What does ´Quick Services´ mean? Does it save 30 minutes, 1 hour or 21 days? A good example of a unique selling proposition is Nivea´s where they state, ´Longer, Lasting, Fresh Fragrance.´ for their lotion.
Developing a well-articulated U.S.P requires serious self-examination by a business owner, it may be challenging but the rewards are worthwhile. It may require some testing and some changes while being developed but once refined, a good U.S.P should be seen in all aspects of the business.
Where to Use my U.S.P
A good U.S.P should be integrated in every form of marketing. Your U.S.P should be expressed in your Facebook or T.V ads, your website, Newspaper ads, brochures and your company profile. The U.S.P should be consistent and associated with your brand.
Your staff should also have the ability to properly articulate your U.S.P to your consumers as they interact with them. Your Front office Department should be well aware of your U.S.P just as well as your Sales and Marketing Department.
For many businesses, developing a unique selling proposition may not be the issue since the term is not new in business jargon. The problem is that, in the rush by business to go online and reach their consumers. They failed to realize that the internet like any other form of media is just a form of communication.
Therefore the rules of communication still apply. Whether on social media, print media, T.V or Radio, human nature has not changed. Consumers are still looking for places where they can get the maximum advantage. The presence of the internet and advances in social media only helps avail information to them faster than the other forms of communication.
A business that is able to articulate the advantage it can offer it´s consumers in the most precise and specific manner is the business that is going to grow in market share and end up dominating the market it´s in.
Most businesses therefore fail to express their advantages to their consumers, instead focusing their outreach on ´Buy my Brand´ claims that offer no advantage to their consumers.
According to Peter Drucker, described as the founder of modern management. He describes that for most business owners, they are either an entrepreneur or a proprietor. A proprietor is a business owner who adds nothing to their market.
They operate just like everyone else and doing business just as it has always been done by those before him. Their business basically survives because of the demand that exists in their market but they don´t try to improve any aspect of their business.
An entrepreneur on the other hand is a business owner who seeks out innovation in the marketplace. They are constantly looking for ways to improve their product, services, customer experience their forms of outreach and all other aspect of their business.
Entrepreneurs strive to offer the greatest value to their consumers above what the marketplace is offering them. With this mindset they are able to differentiate themselves.
Unfortunately most business owners act much like proprietors. Therefore differentiating your business will give you a greater advantage over your competition. With a good U.S.P you will help prospective buyers see what your business offers in a concise and memorable manner.
Francis is a budding Creative Copywriter. You can reach him on firstname.lastname@example.org