Yesterday, you did some research and identified one main competitor. Today, you are going to decide how your brand can differentiate from your competition by creating a unique selling proposition.
What is a Unique Selling Proposition?
Your unique selling proposition is what makes your business different from everyone else in your market. It’s a statement of your uniqueness. It’s how you stand out from your competitors in the minds of your customers. Until you can identify what makes you different from everyone else doing the same thing, you cannot effectively build your brand or market your business.
What Makes a Good Unique Selling Proposition?
A good unique selling proposition should simply and clearly state what makes you unique. The idea is not to say, “We’re the best!” but instead to say, “Here’s how we’re different from everyone else.” Once your audience understands how you are unique, they will be naturally drawn to your brand.The idea is not to say, 'We're the best!' but instead to say, 'Here's how we're different from everyone else.' Click To Tweet
Here are a few examples of brands with very clear and very effective USPs:
You can probably recite Geico’s tagline from memory right now: “15 Minutes Could Save You 15 Percent or More on Car Insurance.” Geico gets how crowded the insurance marketplace is these days. They don’t claim to be the best or offer something amazing, they simply claim to be around 15% cheaper than their competition. If all auto insurance is basically created equal, wouldn’t you want to save 15%?
If you’re even a little bit nerdy, you’ll fall in love with ThinkGeek. They know exactly what their target market craves and they deliver, along with a huge dose of fun. Need a set of Star Wars Tiki Mugs or a Pac-Man Ghost Lamp? They’ve got you covered. Their USP is novelty items for geeks with an emphasis on fun. For instance, many of their items feature hilarious product demo videos, often shot by ThinkGeek employees.
TOMS is a great example of a simple yet powerful USP. Like a lot of other brands, TOMS sells ethically-produced shoes and accessories. Their differentiator, though, sets them apart in a big way: “One for One—With every product you purchase, TOMS will help a person in need.”
You Must Be Radically Different
Here’s a fact you simply can’t ignore—the world is too competitive for you to be just a little bit different. You must be radically different.
Beware the dreaded “ers”
Too often I see brands try to differentiate by claiming to be faster, cheaper, lighter, smaller, bigger, etc. Relying on the “ers” is not enough to make your brand stand out in a crowded market. Stay away from using these adjectives to describe your brand.
You must be radically different. You have to claim something that no one else can claim. You must be able to identify at least one unique thing about your brand. It could be a unique product or service, a unique way of offering that product or service, or a product you created especially for your target market.
A couple of days ago you created a niche for your brand—a unique product or service designed specifically for your target market. The main reason for creating your niche is to help your brand stand out from your competitors. Your niche makes your brand unique. Sure there might be others doing what you’re doing, but are they doing it your way and for the same target market? Probably not.
If you can’t figure out one unique thing about your brand, go back and revisit the article on creating your niche. This is a simple yet powerful way you can differentiate.
How to Create a Unique Selling Proposition
To help you craft a compelling unique selling proposition, here are a few questions your USP should answer:
- Who is this for? Define your target market or ideal client.
- What do they want or need? Identify their biggest problem or issue that you help solve.
- What big benefit do you provide? Describe how you solve their problem or how you help make their life better.
- What is your differentiator? Simply state one thing your brand does that no one else can claim.
Here’s a template you can use to help get your ideas down on paper:
- (Your brand)
- Is (what you do)
- For (target market)
- Who need (what they want or need)
- Unlike other (brands in your category)
- (Your brand) is the only brand that (your radical differentiator)
And here’s how this might look for TOMS:
- Is a shoe company on a mission
- For caring, generous people
- Who want to make a difference in the lives of those in need
- Unlike other shoe companies
- TOMS is the only brand that gives away a pair of shoes to someone in need with every purchase
The formatting isn’t as important as making sure you’re USP claims something that no one else can claim. Don’t be afraid to be big, bold, and radically different.
Day 8 Action Item—Create a Unique Selling Proposition
Take a few minutes today and work on your USP. Get hold of a notebook or your 21 Days to Build a Better Brand Workbook and start writing down any ideas you might have about what makes your brand unique. If you get stuck, go back to the post on your niche and see if it sparks any ideas.
Coming up: All great brands create WOW! experiences for their customers. In tomorrow’s lesson, you’ll learn to do this for your brand.
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