4: The Unique Selling Point: finding it and using it

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What’s the key to creating a credible brand image? How can you represent what your company does in an engaging way that can really mean something of value to existing and potential customers?

Find something interesting to say, then keep saying it

Here’s an exercise for you: compare your product or service offer to three of your competitors. Look at the promises you’re making in area such as service standards, quality, value for money, expertise or the way you deliver those services. What’s the one thing that your company does better than anyone else? If you can combine the most marketable features of that product or service with a specific, measurable promise then you’ve got your Unique Selling Point (USP).

With a USP, you have something to say and something to sell. Without one, your marketing staff, design consultancy or marketing agency will only be able to design ‘window dressing’ for your company; marketing collateral that looks nice but communicates nothing of real interest or value for your audiences.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

Here are the USPs of some well known companies:

avis_tesco_bmw
All of the USPs have the following elements in common:

1) a specific promise or claim
2) a challenge to staff to help make it a reality
3) an element of risk (failure to deliver on the USP could result in disaster)

Check out this advertising slogan hall of fame for more examples:

The three second test

Another aspect of marketing communications that companies need to be aware of is the low patience threshold for the receipt of selling messages that most of us now have. Although estimates vary, conservative estimates put the average number of selling messages we see or hear in the UK at around 100-200 per day. This means that a company’s advertising, product literature or even a representative’s business card has to compete for attention amongst all this promotional ‘noise’ to which we are all exposed.

The challenge I often pose to design students when commenting on their work is that they have only three seconds to grab my attention. That’s a good rule of thumb that applies to tv or radio adverts, website home pages, posters, brochure covers etc.

So, if your company doesn’t have a USP, develop one and start using it. Make sure that it truly represents what you do or stand for and that your audiences can’t fail to notice it.

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