Commonly understood as a unique selling point or proposition, widely accepted as a defining point of difference, and often misunderstood on two critical aspects – unique and sustainable.
Most businesses are unable to claim a UNIQUE selling proposition and fewer still a SUSTAINABLE one.
Unfortunately for suppliers (not so consumers) in today’s commoditised world where new products and services can and are copied in weeks, it’s increasingly difficult for companies to identify a genuine USP, let alone sustain it.
What is your Unique Selling Proposition?
The term first appeared in Rosser Reeves book “Reality in Advertising” over 50 years ago and was explained in 3 steps
- Every advert must explain what specific benefit you get from the product.
- The product or brand proposition must be unique in the market.
- The proposition must be good enough to attract new customers.
Many have forgotten or chosen to ignore the meaning of the word “unique” and settle for the oft used words of: service, quality, delivery, stock, price, and choice. Today these are all taken for granted by customers and consumers alike, as they no longer differentiate you – even honesty and trust no longer count, after all which company do you know of admits to being dishonest or untrustworthy?
However in the absence of a USP to be able to excel in the areas of service, quality, delivery, etc can set you apart from some of your direct competitors… but for how long?
How sustainable is your Unique Selling Proposition?
Assuming you have identified your USP, that it’s understood, owned internally, and persuasively communicated externally: how long will you be able to claim that it’s unique to your company, before it becomes just another commoditised me-too?
Today’s search for real USP’s is proving as difficult for consumers to find, as it is for companies to identify; and as a result consumers, especially the Millennials (those born in the early 80’s to the early 00’s) are seeking out companies with which they can feel an affinity, based on authenticity, transparency, engagement and responsibility.
Yet many companies will be overlooked as they have failed to identify, understand and communicate their SUSTAINABLE UNIQUE selling proposition – a management process that doesn’t have to be complicated.