Write a Unique Selling Proposition

Unique Selling Proposition

Yah a Unique Selling Proposition sounds businessy. Like some MBAs Master's Thesis or something. Honestly, it probably was. Historically it is attributed to Man Men era Rosser Reeves and his M&Ms campaign, "Melts in your mouth, not in your hand." Ever heard of it?

Technically, your USP is the factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition

Practically it is what your business stands for.

And, here is the hard part, your competitor should not be able to say the same thing, otherwise, it isn't unique.

Examples of Great Unique Selling Propositions

Let's look at a few. And be sure to notice how their slogan had their uniqueness wrapped up in it.

M&M's: "Melts in your mouth, not in your hand." M&Ms uses a patented hard sugar coating that keeps the chocolate from melting in your hands, thus chocolate soldiers could carry, compared to other brands.

Head & Shoulders: "Clinically proven to reduce dandruff." Pyrithione Zinc was found, after 10 years of research, to be an ingredient that was actually effective in eliminating dandruff where other products were not effective. Adding the name "Shoulders" to the product name also indicated that the product eliminated the tell-tale white marks on clothing caused by dandruff flakes falling from the hair.

Domino's Pizza: "You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less—or it's free." Later, "You Got 30 Minutes" Domino's uses what it calls the "make line" and other systems to make pizzas quickly.

FedEx: "When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight." FedEx was the first company to specialize in overnight air freight and first to implement package tracking.

Metropolitan Life: "Get Met. It Pays." Met's newer "Whole Life Policy" was a sales success for the company. The policy offered one-third more coverage, for the same price, and grew in cash value for a bigger "payout" over time. In advertisements, Met compared buying the policy to buying a home.

Southwest Airlines: "We are THE low-fare airline." You get the idea.

So how is your product or service unique? What do you do that your competitors don't?

And don't be tempted to water it down to the point it is useless.

Phrases to Avoid with Writing Your Unique Selling Proposition

And while you are noodling this set of magic words, don't be tempted to use these cliches. They really don't explain anything.

  1. "Built from the ground up."

  2. "For x, by x."

  3. "We do XYZ, so you don't have to."

  4. "Do more with less."

  5. "Best-of-breed" or "World-class"

  6. "Efficient and effective."

  7. "X people can't be wrong."

  8. "One-stop shop"

  9. "We go the extra mile."

  10. The most cutting-edge, innovative, and robust solution of the future."

And remember, if you can't explain your uniqueness, how are your customers supposed to? Products and services that aren't unique have a name, commodities.

Our challenge to you this week is to work on a Unique Selling Proposition.

Clinton BrownAlluvio