No brand operates in complete isolation. There will always be at least one other business meeting the same needs as you. What makes you different?
What sets you apart is your UVP (unique value proposition) or USP (unique selling point). The way in which you communicate this unique selling point is what will propel your business ahead of the competition. While your product or service may not be unique, you will be able to add value in a way your competitors can’t.
Take a look at our advice below and discover how to curate a USP that’s authentic and competitive.
Unique Selling Point Definition: Benefits vs. Features
Resist the temptation to set yourself apart on technical differences. Your focus should be on benefits over features. What are the emotional differences you are offering your audience?
Are you keeping them safer, or giving them peace of mind? Perhaps you’re lightening their load, allowing them to spend more precious time with loved ones?
No matter what it is that you are communicating – be it a campaign, event or new product launch – this is the nub of how to communicate your offering uniquely, even in a crowded market space.
As an example, let’s consider a brand specialising in vintage knitwear. Instead of filling their marketing with redundant statements like, ‘We have the best selection of vintage knitwear,’ this brand has considered its USP. Now, its messaging centres on the business’ owners and how they travel the globe annually to source vintage knitwear from Europe and the United States. Their offer isn’t just ‘the best knitwear,’ it’s a curated selection of knitwear pieces from multiple eras and locations, offering a snapshot of the history of fashion.
This USP is also essential for developing content pillars and producing bedrock content – both of which are essential for a content marketing strategy.
Unique Selling Point Ideas: Think Outside the Box
What if your unique selling point isn’t as obvious? It is essential to toe the line between fact and fiction. Your customers will notice an inauthentic and fabricated USP a mile off and it won’t benefit your marketing team.
Set aside time for you and/or your team to practice some genuine ‘blue sky thinking’ with coloured pens, post-it notes and flip chart paper.
The trick to is keep all ideas on the table until everybody has had a chance to freely share their thoughts. Removing limits from the creative process can tease out some of the best ideas.
Start your thinking about your journey under three key headings:
Whatever you are trying to communicate must have an end game. Whether you are selling tickets to an event, promoting a product or booking consultancy sessions, your goal is everything. It will in turn determine your call-to-action and success.
Be careful though. Your USP shouldn’t centre purely on commercial targets. It is not a unique selling point to say, ‘Our business exists to sell one million jumpers’. Instead, a better starting point would be, ‘Our business exists to give people the luxury experience of wearing cashmere’.
You know what you want to achieve, but who is going to help you achieve it? Where do they reside and communicate? How are you going to reach them?
Understanding your audience will make sure you craft a USP that resonates with them and articulate it effectively.
This is where the benefits of your offering really come into play. Come up with a strong one or two sentence message (we call it a mission statement), finished with a clear, concise and urgent call-to-action, ‘Book Now.’
Seek Inspiration, But Don’t Copy
The key thing with inspiration is to adopt and adapt elements from previous creative endeavours, not plagiarise entire concepts. This might be a certain style of photography, particular lighting or unusual colour palette. The power of the internet means brands are routinely called out on a lack of originality… make sure your brand isn’t one of them!
Inhabit the mind space of your target audience when mood-boarding. By gathering a variety of components from previous works that have previously resonated, you are creating something truly original and likely to succeed.
Share Your Creative Vision
Once you are sure of your message and creative vision, execution is key. Be sure to fully articulate what it is you are setting out to achieve and how you want to achieve it with all your suppliers, be they videographers, photographers, copywriters, set designers or stylists.
Read more: Finding Your Brand’s Unique Tone of Voice
Set out a clear brief that details your goal, audience and message – the three building blocks of your unique selling point. This will help set the scene for the entire team, which is especially important in large production work.
Why Do I Need a Unique Selling Point?
Still not convinced? Perhaps you’ve been operating successfully for years without a clearly defined USP. That’s okay. But when it comes to business growth across social media, content marketing and printed marketing materials, a USP will keep your whole team focused and on-brand.
For example, a USP will inform your content pillars and your content pillars for social media. This will inform your bedrock content and brand language. Your USP will feed into your ‘About Us’ storytelling and descriptions about your business on third-party websites and directories. Your USP can inspire your PPC and digital marketing campaigns, your advertising, your UX copywriting and underpin your seasonal strategies. It’s everywhere.
Work on your brand today and you will reap the rewards in the future.
Things to Remember…
Your product may not be unique, but there’s no reason why you can’t communicate about them uniquely
Consider ‘why’ you do what you do when developing a USP, not ‘what’ you do or ‘how’ you do it
Decide what makes you different and how that will make your customers feel
Focus on your business goals, your audience and your message when crafting a unique selling point
Use your unique selling point as a springboard for your marketing messages – this will help you stay on-brand
Do you need help defining your brand and value proposition? Talk to The William Agency team today to find out more.
We are a brand storytelling agency and branded content marketing specialist with lots of experience helping brands like yours excel.