Why You Need A Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Why You Need A Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

August 28, 2017

Every business needs a unique selling proposition (USP).

What is a unique selling proposition and why do I need one?

A USP shows what your business does and how that benefits the prospective client, while making it clear as to why they should choose you over the competition.

It’s a difference-maker when done right.

Customers searching for a product or service have many options and the process can be quite daunting. If you want to win their business or draw their attention, your business mission has to speak to them and garner their interest. It has to answer their need; their pain point. This is where a USP comes into play.

How to create a successful unique selling propositions.

  • Define your target audience
  • Consider what is unique about your business/service/product
  • Why do/will customers search for your business? What pain point can you solve for them?
  • What motivates customers to actually “buy”?
  • Assess your competition and look for ways you can stand out from them

Combine this information and form 1-2 sentences to clearly and uniquely display the benefits of your business.

Some businesses fall into the trap of wanting to please everybody.

Here’s a hypothetical example of a business:

Brendan is a second-generation cheese maker. He specialises in swiss cheese and creates it in the same rustic corner store his father ran for over 40 years.

In this example, it’s clear that Brendan has a fantastic marketing opportunity. He should focus on marketing his homemade, lovingly-crafted swiss cheese products to the people who appreciate and value this. These are the type of customers who will become loyal fans, write fantastic reviews and recommend his delicious cheeses to friends and family. They don’t want cheap, store bought, mainstream cheeses. They appreciate quality. A USP geared toward this type of client is a winning strategy.

On the flip side, the approach many people take is to try and market to everyone possible - the old scattergun approach. “Because many people like cheese, if I market to a larger quantity of people, I’ll make more sales!” But by doing this (trying to target the mainstream market) Brendan may miss out on his very best clients - the cheese fanatics! And the reason why is because he didn’t dominate his niche first. He tried to go straight for mass market. This rarely works.

Dominate your niche area of the market with your unique selling proposal and then focus on further growth from there.

Examples of unique selling propositions.

These are two examples of real-life businesses and their approaches:

Avis - “We Try Harder!”

This first example dates back to 1962, and the slogan was only changed in recent years.

Throughout its history, Avis was always No. 2 in the car rental industry, behind Hertz. So they developed a unique selling proposition around this that stood the test of time (around 50 years!). They accepted that Hertz was No. 1, so they let everyone know about it. They also owned being No. 2. Their marketing centred around needing to try harder, needing to provide better service and an overall experience so they could be considered No. 1. And that was a pretty compelling and honest marketing approach. After the first year of running this campaign, they went from millions in net loss, to over a million in the green.

This example resonates because not everyone is striving to be No. 1 in their industry - and it shows that owning your position in the queue can humanise your brand and create brilliant results.

Head & Shoulders - “Clinically proven to reduce dandruff.”

No doubt you’ve heard this slogan in ads or read it on the packaging when choosing a shampoo. Their unique strategy helped them become known as the shampoo to reduce dandruff. Not only that, it was “clinically proven” - giving confidence to the consumer. It was, and remains, good marketing and a strong unique selling proposition.

These are major worldwide companies, but the theory holds true in smaller businesses and startups.
Take the time now to consider your business and figure out what sets your product or service apart from the competition. From there, build a USP and build a marketing angle around it.

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Written by: Simon Welford

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Written by:
Simon Welford



Simon is the co-owner of Hazelnut Creative. With a background in small business growth and digital marketing, he handles all the technical aspects of Search Engine Optimisation and Search Engine Marketing. He also handles business development, and is the primary content writer.