Sunday, January 8, 2017

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

When considering brand positioning, brand managers must ask how their brand adds value to its market. What problems (ie pain points) are you resolving and or perceived needs you are satisfying? Think of Maslow's 'hierarchy of needs
'. Unspoken, often unconscious, visceral customer needs are powerful considerations because they are your customer's truest motivation. Perceived problems are often only symptomatic of needs. For instance,  a customer searching for lipstick perceives the problem of having lips that are too pale in color. However, the need from which that perceived problem arises is social, specifically, wanting to look attractive to others. It corresponds with the need for social belonging, in this case, possibly 'belonging' to a romantic life partner. From a marketing perspective, this need is always useful to note because red lipstick is only one of several competing ways in which the customer can meet her need. Consequently, this understanding may help you to use emotional marketing to also communicate how your product meets that visceral need in the form of your unique value proposition. To be clear, stating value delivery is hardly about listing features but mostly about meeting often unspoken needs that delivers value to customers, from their unique perspective. The 'unique' aspect of the concept is noteworthy. As seen in brand During the 
brand positioning exercise, brands may have the same or very similar value propositions as their competition. However, they must find or create something unique about themselves to make differentiate the brand much like how Uber and Lyft are very comparable regarding quality service and product. However, Uber uses image in its website presentation to differentiate itself as being more upscale and then charges a higher price accordingly.  

Unique selling proposition (USP) aka Unique value proposition (UVP)

A unique selling proposition (USP) is a statement. When formulated well, it is a guarantee of value. It revolves around something that the target market truly values or perceives as valuable, or the bundle of emotional and functional benefits as perceived by consumers. It is the concise answer a customer will give when asked why choose to buy from your business. In other words, this value is a key motivator for the market's demand (like convenience, reliability, courtesy and so on). It creates customer expectations as if saying, 'if you buy into our brand, product, service and so on, you will get X'. As its name suggests, a unique selling proposition also highlights the product's uniqueness when compared with your competition. A compelling B2B unique value propositions will often relate to increasing profitability or decreasing costs other key business driver, like 'we will increase your customer base (by X% within X days).' For private consumers, compelling unique value propositions meet human needs, resolve pain points and so on. BTW, if you were to categorize human needs into latent vs blatant and aspirational vs critical, the ideal / easiest needs to speak to are blatant and critical. BTW, if you are having trouble formulating your unique value proposition, you can ask your customers why they come. 

Uses of the unique selling proposition (unique value proposition)
  • In new business development, the unique selling proposition helps businesses analyze whether their new business idea will have the necessary element of differentiation or innovation in the market place. The more unique and truly in demand the new offering, the more likely the new venture's potential success. The unique selling point should answer the question, 'Why should a customer choose you over the competition?' Ideally, your USP caters to a pain point. For instance, if a market's pain point is that X types of product work slowly, your USP may be 'We sell the only X that eliminates ___ within 3 days'. It is noteworthy that, if you are in an industry in which high quality and performance are already the norm, do not waste time creating a USP to compete on these redundant propositions. Instead, find something unique that resolves a pain point as the basis of your USP. Be fearless! You may even need to be create an innovative offering that essentially 'creates' your niche and, by so doing, the competition. For instance, this would be the case if you are the only X service provider catering specifically to teachers, or selling frozen desserts to vegans. However, ensure that a demand exists. In other words, teachers must need the service and vegans must desire the frozen desserts. As these example illustrate, a niche or product innovation can also be achieved by focusing on a narrow target market. On a happy side note; just imagine how much easier and cheaper it will be to advertise with Google text ads.
  • A reminder to administration and management professionals. When formulating your website's homepage title and meta description, standard operating procedures, recruiting staff and so on, the USP is reminder of the business' raison d'etre and should therefore guide these tasks. After all, a slogan would amount to being a collection of pretty words if it is not deliverable in every aspect of your business. In short, every good, service, employee, job interviewbrand awareness promotion, email, image and so on must exude your brand's USP.
  • Slogans are often a company's USP. Remember however that a USP turned into slogan should be the by-product of corporate strategic planning. The USP must be a truthful reflection of your offering rather than a catchy phrase. Ideally, a unique selling proposition should be very concise to be catchy. Shorter USP slogans are like catchy advertisement jingles; they are more memorable and spread more easily. In short, do not write a unique selling point only for the sake of marketing as that defeats the purpose of a USP and lead to customer dis-satisfaction if you build expectations that are not met.
Disney is known as the most fun place to be.

Domino's Pizza implemented this excellent slogan. Although it is arguably too long, it offers a clear guarantee
You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it's free.

Earthly offers a more personalized approach by promising consumers who are nostalgic for the olden days that their products are not only natural but even handmade. 
100% Handcrafted

Kiva invites entrepreneurs and the rest of the public to offer loans that help change the lives of people in many parts of the world
Loans that change lives

Avis had been the second-largest to Hertz in the car rental business when they implemented this sloagan. With a well implemented USP (ie one that is supported by congruent action), Avis experienced over 300% growth in market share.
We're # 2. We try harder

Target considers psychographics, in this case the target market's purchase motivation factor - price.
Expect More. Pay Less

Zappos is a shoe store that became very well known because of its returns policy that may be considered extreme for its industry, especially online. Specifically, personal items (like shoes) are notorious for their high incidence of returns, especially online. They can therefore be disallowed or incur hefty penalties for returns. 
It's easy, and it's FREE! If you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase from ZapposLuxury you can return your item(s) for a full refund within 365 days of purchase. (Returns must be unworn, in the state you received them, and in the original packaging.) Some items ship with an attached security tag.

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