To understand the power of USP, let us consider two businesses, one local and the other global.
Haven’t we all come across a food vendor who offers exactly one item on the menu, yet the product is so good that the customers are willing to go out of their way to buy it.
From the vendor’s point of view, it is a remarkable situation to be in. With exactly one product in his portfolio, the vendor is setting the agenda – he’s getting the people to eat out of his hands!
Now, consider the example of Nike, the American multinational corporation dealing in footwear, apparel, and equipment.
So what’s Nike’s Unique Selling Proposition? Product Wise, they may not be radically different from their competitors like Adidas and Puma.
But, Nike’s ‘swoosh’ is one of the most readily recognisable logos in the world. Add to that the killer tagline ‘Just do it.’ And the result is a formidable brand entity that impacts people’s mind in a positive way immediately.
The swoosh or the ‘Nike Tick’ closely resembles the sign for ‘right’ or ‘correct’ and most people interpret it as an endorsement of their own ability. The tagline ‘Just do it’ gently encourages people to try to accomplish whatever they have set out to do.
Any little doubt that may still be remaining in the minds of the customers is laid to rest by endorsement from brand ambassadors like Michael Jordan. The basketball legend is a role model to millions, who has actually faced seemingly insurmountable odds in life to be a world-beater.
And identification with the brand, nay lifestyle is total.
Identification usually leads to a desire for a life-long association.
How does one go about using the USP?
From the two examples we have seen, following pointers may be considered as workable solutions:
- Offer a product no one else is offering: Our food vendor has a single weapon in his armoury, but realizes it had better be the best one.
- Sell a common item in a unique way: The food vendor is selling a common enough item, but has developed a winning flavour his competitors are unable to match.
- Create a cool factor associated with your brand: Nike did it and still doing it, by constantly reinventing themselves and appealing to the new generation of buyers.
- Find a great brand ambassador: Nike hit paydirt when they chose Michael Jordan for their ‘Air Jordan’ campaign. At one fell swoop, they managed to capture the imagination of the players, fans, general public, and practically every kid in town.
- Quality is non-negotiable: Finally, identifying your USP or even creating one is vital from the point of view of your survival and prosperity in an overcrowded market. But suffice to say, regardless of whether you are an international brand or a local business, you can set yourself apart from the crowd by paying attention to a single factor – quality.