“Businesses that are like everyone else rarely survive; they generally end up in a war with only one weapon with which to compete – Price.”
This means that ultimately you’ll lose, as there is always someone out there who will eventually come up with a way of making, selling, or doing what you do cheaper, and customers who choose on price alone are rarely loyal.
Successful businesses know that they need something that shows them to be unique.
Identifying and developing your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), can be challenging, but the reward is worth the effort as it gives your business a competitive advantage that ultimately will be reflected in your profits.
If you want to survive and to thrive then you must differentiate yourself in the eyes of your customer.
Your USP is the thing in marketing terms that sets you aside from your competitors both locally and industry-wide. It is the thing that makes you stand out, so that people will choose to do business with you rather than them.
Your USP Must Be Strong
How many businesses do you hear saying, ‘The Best Selection in Town‘ or ‘Service with a Smile.’ These phrases are worn-out, tired renditions of a ‘me too’ business. You need to be specific.
Good Examples of a clear USP
Olay – You get younger looking skin
Loreal – Because you’re worth it
Red Bull – Stimulation of body and mind
Ronseal – You get exactly what it says on the tin
Dominos Pizza – You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less – or it’s free.
How to Identify and Develop Your USP
You shouldn’t rush or hurry the decision. Once you’ve made your impression if you then decide to change it you may begin to confuse your prospect and it may cost more money to re-implement a completely different USP. Having said that, your USP can change if the market changes or indeed when your competitors catch-up, so you’ll need to know how effective it’s being.
Domino’s had a very bold USP. To get a pizza to anyone’s house within 30 minutes was sometimes a difficult feat to consistently accomplish. But the rewards were fantastic.
How do you pick a USP?
One way, is to identify what needs are currently being unfulfilled within either your industry or your local market. These are called ‘performance gaps.’
For example: Car Repair
– Performance Gap (problem) = If Car garages had a reputation of being dishonest.
– Potential USP (solution) = ‘If It Isn’t Broke, We Won’t Fix It!’
Get the idea? You can also have local performance gaps that will give you a great USP. For instance, if you are an electronics outlet and carry more stock than anyone else in town, your USP could be, ‘We Have 10 Times the Selection than any shop in Town. Go Visit the Rest, Then Come Shop at the Best.’
Your USP Doesn’t Have to be Unique (?!)
A slight contradiction here I know but although a USP is a statement of your uniqueness it doesn’t always have to be something that is only unique to you…if you market it first!
For instance if you claim, “order by lunchtime, we will deliver by bedtime’. This is not a unique claim in itself, but it might be in your specific industry or market place, or you might be the first to proclaim it.
This is sometimes called ‘pre-emptive marketing.’ You can pre-empt your competitors if you take a strong benefit, whether or not it’s unique, and put your stamp on it first. Geddit?
Live Up To Your USP
Be bold when developing your USP but also be sure that you can live up to it. It should have promises, guarantees, supported by policies and procedures. You’ll need to make sure your whole team knows, buys in to and lives up to it. Having a strong USP can make your business super successful; on the other hand, having one you can’t live up to is suicide.
Integrate Your USP into Everything You Do
Once you have put some careful thought into it, you need to integrate it into everything you do. It should be found somewhere in your headlines, body copy of ads, direct-mail, emails, name cards, websites, signs, etc. You should repeat it clearly and consistently in every one of your marketing communications.