Every business, big or small, must have a USP established to make headway in the market. If you don’t know what that acronym means, don’t worry. We’ll explain it in more detail.
Start-ups and relatively new brands, for example, don’t have the resources or funds to launch expensive and lofty marketing campaigns. That’s where a USP comes in handy.
A USP, Unique Selling Point or Unique Selling Proposition, is a factor or element that differentiates a brand from its competition. It is essentially, the idea of exclusivity that you and your products have, which your rivals surely do not. This could be any number of things. It could be that you offer the cheapest price, highest quality or best design out of a series of products. Or, maybe you offer the first product or service of its kind. Perhaps, even, your product is capable of something totally new and different that comparable products are not? Don’t confuse this concept with value proposition, which, although just as important, is a completely separate factor.
Whatever the case, a USP is what helps you and your brand stand out from the competition. It’s what will ultimately convince your audience to choose your products and services over the multitudes of others they have available.
If you run a business, you have a USP. End of story. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be making any progress whatsoever. The goal here isn’t necessarily discovering or identifying what that USP is — hopefully, you already know it well.
But it does help to know some innovative and engaging ways to incorporate your USP into your marketing themes and onboarding processes. In this way, you can use the concept to attract new business and expand your reach.
Take a look at the following tips:
This tip is a no-brainer. Success in business means growth, and growth can only happen naturally after you increase exposure and awareness for your brand. This will bring in new customers, new business and more revenue. Unfortunately, it’s a concept that permeates every aspect of your business.
In terms of your USP, you must grow its visibility beyond anything you currently have. There are several ways to do this, mostly through targeted marketing and promotional campaigns. The idea is not just to show off your products and brand, but actually to showcase what they can do. You created your product or service to solve a problem — so show your audience what that solution is.
Money, or the exchanging of money, is completely reliant on value. For your customers to feel they are warranted in spending money, they need to receive enough value in return. That value, in and of itself, is the unique selling point of what you are providing. Increase its visibility and exposure, and you will also increase the growth and awareness about your brand.
The brand Bose embodies this idea better than anyone else. What is their company known for? Exceptional sound. Why? Because they’ve identified that as their USP, and they’ve invested all their resources and time into spreading the visibility and awareness of that idea. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that their products all sound great, too. Even their site’s tagline “better sound through research” conveys the idea that the company is all about quality, satisfying sound.
When you build a new structure, home or construct a property, your work is not finished. You need to maintain said property over the course of the time you spend with it, whether that be years, months or less. Your products or services are essentially like the aforementioned property. After you launch and begin shipments, and your customers get their hands on the item, your work is not finished.
We’re not simply talking about the future, meaning your focus on future iterations and versions of the product. We’re talking about the current series as well. Are your customers satisfied with what you have provided? Have problems appeared or been brought to light after the launch? Are there ways you can improve your product or service to make it more efficient?
Today, it’s all about the experience your customers receive, as opposed to just a simple item or service. Part of that experience, is the history they have with a product or brand. You better believe that your customers and audience will be watching you closely to see what kind of maintenance and support you provide.
Above all else, ensure your USP remains true and accurate throughout the entire life of the product. There’s no better example than the brand DeBeers, and their endless devotion to the idea that “a diamond is forever.” They took a stone — one that really isn’t all that rare — and convinced the entire world that it embodies value and grace. More importantly, they have kept this concept alive for as long as their brand has been around, and they will continue to do so far into the future.
Before, during and after the launch of a product, make sure you highlight the features and functions that your competition cannot duplicate, clone or reproduce. This is what makes your product and your brand special, and it’s also what makes your offerings more desirable. Of course, this is the core idea behind USP, so this isn’t necessarily something you should have to spend a lot of time with.
The real process behind exclusivity is improving and advancing its potency. Chances are, there are ways to perfect what you offer and become that much more unique and valuable to your audience. Focus on that specialization and hone it before doing anything else.
McElroy Metal is one of the best examples of this concept anyone could give. The company has been around for decades — over 50 years — and yet, throughout all that time, they’ve maintained one simple, compelling aspect: They are family owned and operated. Throughout every revision or update of their website, throughout every rebranding or logo change, they’ve always stuck to the concept that they are an honest-to-goodness family owned and operated business.
That means, when preparing to update or launch a new version, your main focus should, in fact, be that exclusivity and uniqueness. Adding new features and support is always a good idea, but they should be more of a secondary process. In everything you do, from now and until the end of your brand’s existence, it should be establishing, maintaining and improving that unique aspect, whatever it may be.
Piggybacking off the point above, it’s important to understand and make the distinction that innovation can hinder and sacrifice that unique property or feature. That’s not to say you should be frightened of change and innovation, as it’s always good to keep moving forward. However, be especially aware of your unique properties and offerings, and never betray them or leave them in the dust.
If, say, a new product launch calls for the update of one unique specification, you want to be sure you are not ruining the experience for loyal customers, and customers in general. Because this sounds so broad and generalized, let’s take a look at a simple example.
Smartphones are one of the most common devices in the world today. A feature of flip phones, if you can remember, was that they had excellent battery life and power usage ratings. That’s because they didn’t have all the bells and whistles that phones do today. Furthermore, they could last longer with smaller capacity batteries.
In the upgrade, someone clearly realized that outfitting smartphones with more capable hardware and features, meant sacrificing that total battery life. Over time, it has improved as technology advances and battery life has been extended further and further. That said, one thing you willingly accept when making the jump to a full-featured smartphone, is that the battery will merely last a full day, sometimes even less. There are exceptions, but the point is that innovation in the case of mobile devices, has resulted in the capacity reduction of that particular feature.
Don’t focus so much on what is lost by this forward momentum. Instead, consider the gain compared to the loss. In the case of phones, both manufacturers and consumers alike agree that less battery life is acceptable, in terms of the trade-off.
Applying that to your business and products, means fully assessing the unique selling point of your brand and services, and honoring that as much as possible. Don’t fight innovation and change, but don’t allow it to ruin your unique selling point(s) either.
Every brand has its own thing, which in essence, is their USP in action. Revel in it, be proud of it, share and encourage it, and base everything you do on — you guessed it — your unique selling point.
Those little mottos and marketing statements — you know the quirky jingles and sayings we’re talking about — should reference your USP. Your logo or brand name should have something to do with your USP. Your website design and theme, your content and media, and even your packaging for online and shipped orders, should have some small relation to your USP. This seems extraneous in some cases, but in reality, that unique selling point is absolutely everything that defines you and your brand. Welcome and relish it at every opportunity.
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