Business is more competitive than ever before. With the internet providing a global arena, it’s especially hard for e-commerce brands to stand out. Whether you’re rebranding, just starting, or growing your business, knowing the right way to position yourself amid competition can mean the difference between blending in and standing out as the obvious choice to customers. This is where the USP – the unique selling proposition or unique selling point – comes in and works wonders.
As one of Australia’s leading branding agencies, we understand the importance of a unique selling proposition in brand marketing and strategy. So, we thought we’d define exactly what a unique selling proposition is, and how it contributes overall to your business. Here, we’ve identified some unique selling proposition examples used by well-known brands and explained how to help you find the unique selling proposition that’ll set you apart.
What is a unique selling proposition (USP)?
Put simply, your unique selling proposition is a meeting point between what your customers want, and what your business does really, really well. It’s what separates you from your competition as it speaks to those unmet needs. Your USP is in your hands. It’s how you position your brand and products. It’s the benefit that makes your business stand out while the others blend in.
A USP is not just a persuasive statement or piece of copy on your website. It can certainly be a statement (in fact, the clearer the better), but it should also be infused into all areas of your brand’s communication.
An effective USP should:
- Be uniquely valuable. It should be focussed on what your customer values and needs, and hasn’t been getting elsewhere.
- Be effectively communicated. It should be holistically weaved into as much communication with customers as possible.
- Display your strength. Your USP plays to your strengths and should be based on what’s uniquely valuable to your customers
- Assertive and justifiable. It should be bold and confident, but it should also ring true
- Specific. If you’re not known for something specific, your message will confuse customers
Why is it Important?
Customers are overwhelmed with options. A strong USP functions as a tool to help them quickly identify that you have exactly what they require. Branding in business is important. What you sell may not be unique, but the message you decide to focus on is what instils trust in potential customers.
When clearly articulated, your USP becomes an integral part of a business’s branding strategy that will help form a positive impression in the consumer’s mind. It helps your team to shape and focus your marketing goals to narrate the story of how you differ from the competition. Having your USP at the forefront of your marketing mind will naturally help you focus on the benefit to the customer, not the product itself.
How to create a powerful unique selling point
So, how do you find that edge in a global arena? Pinpointing your unique selling proposition involves a bit of brand soul-searching. Don’t be concerned if your USP isn’t obvious at first. Many businesses sell the same product but very few businesses are one-of-a-kind. Luckily, identical products can be positioned in wildly different ways with a bit of creativity. The ultimate goal is for your brand to be associated with the needs and values of the customer, first.
The following steps are key to developing a powerful unique selling point:
- Find what makes your brand and products different from others. Are there any differentiating factors in your manufacturing process? Is your service more of an experience? Is your supply chain unique? Perhaps it’s the way you deliver content, or what you do with the profits that makes your brand differ.
- Research the competition. Who are they? What are their USPs? Essentially, you want to look at the common ‘black and white’ selling points and explore the grey in between. That grey area is where you’ll find the needs of the customer that are not yet being met.
- Provide that need. Be that niche. With all of this in mind, compare and contrast your most unique propositions against the needs of your customers. Here you should find your USP.
- Apply it across your business. Reinforce your USP into every aspect of your business where you see fit. Be it part of the return policy, the tone of voice of your copy, perhaps even the business name.
- Be specific. Clear communication results in memorable marketing. With a compelling USP, your brand will hugely benefit.
Effective Unique Selling Proposition Examples
Each with powerful USPs, these businesses are doing it right:
- Who Gives a Crap – This business turns toilet paper purchasing into a funny, positive experience. Their product is recycled, delivered for convenience, and they donate 50% of profits to help build toilets in places like Kenya and India. They communicate their unique message of their positive impact across their branding.
- Bunnings Warehouse – Notice how their USP “Hardware products and expert advice at low prices” is specific. It doesn’t confuse the customer. If they had positioned themselves as offering “high-quality products at low-prices”, it wouldn’t be very clear as the two aspects just don’t add up. Bunnings delivers on their promise of expert advice, which is exactly what most DIYers require but won’t get at every hardware store.
- HoMie – Yes it’s a streetwear clothing brand, but it’s also a social enterprise, with 100% of profits supporting young people experiencing homelessness and hardship. What makes them unique is their motive and how they weave it into their branding. Their message is clear. They’re on a mission to draw awareness to homelessness and alter the stigma.
- McDonald’s – They positioned themselves as a fun fast-food joint for the entire family. They don’t only sell food, their proposition is convenience and being a reliable family-friendly restaurant that can be found all over the world.
- The Project – With a selling point that clearly states that they deliver news differently, The Project does a remarkable job providing an unexpected, powerful twist to news telling through on-air explorative conversation. This is what makes them different from other nightly news channels.
Remember, it’s not your products that need to be unique. Don’t let this overwhelm you. Expressing what makes your business different can be really fun and empowering. In turn, your unique selling point is what will end up doing the heavy lifting for your branding and business success, even if your product isn’t so unique. It’s not your story, it’s how you tell that story in a positive, valuable way for the customers to understand.
Brandwell – Creative Branding Agency Melbourne