How To Create Your Point Of Difference: Your Unique Selling Proposition...

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Published: 07th April 2009
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One of the most important elements to the cost-effective marketing of your company is to make the core offer your company presents to your market as powerful as it can be.

Your core offer differentiates you from your competition and makes every dollar you spend on your marketing work harder.

The best core offer you can have is a Unique Selling Proposition or 'USP'.

What's a USP?

A USP is not a slogan, a mission statement, or a catch-cry. These may have their place within a business but they are not a USP.

If you break the term into its parts, you get a good idea of what a USP is really all about.

A USP is a proposition you make to your market.

Not only that, it's one directed at generating a response, an action, a sale. It's a selling proposition.

And not only that, it's a selling proposition that no other competitor makes. It's unique.

The idea first came from Rosser Reeves, an advertising copywriter for Ted Bates & Co. Reeves introduced it in a book written in 1961...

"Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. Not just words, not just product puffery, not just show-window advertising. Each advertisement must say to each reader: 'Buy this product and you will get this specific benefit.'

The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique, either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising.

The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions; i.e., pull over new customers to your product."

How Do You Create A USP?

Nobody has ever described how to create a USP. So we had to create the process ourselves.

For starters, we don't think you 'create' a USP at all. Not a USP that's worth anything, anyway.

We think you 'derive' it.

Strategy and Action see USP Derivation as revolving around a key question...

What does your market want... which your competitors are not adequately addressing... and which you could deliver?

If you have the answer to that, you have identified a gap in the market. It might not be a actual gap in terms of product performance or service delivery by your competitors... but it's a gap that isn't being claimed by anyone, or not being claimed strongly.

If you break the USP question up there are three ingredients that will give you the answer... Market Intelligence, Competitor Intelligence and Company Intelligence.

Once you have these, you can then apply a derivation process...

The Derivation and Writing of a USP

Once we have our three ingredients, we apply a process of gap identification and prioritisation. The key ideas of most strategic and competitive fit are targeted.

Then we copywrite the USP and subject it to a unique evaluation process we've developed that turns a good idea into a powerful USP.

For instance, we appraise the basis of any uniqueness, the specificity of claims, and even the rhythm of the wording itself.

Stephen Johnson, Director, Strategy and Action

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