In marketing, the unique selling proposition (USP), also called the unique selling point, or the unique value proposition (UVP) in the business model canvas, is the marketing strategy of informing customers about how one's own brand or product is superior to its competitors (in addition to its other values).
It was used in successful advertising campaigns of the early 1940s. The term was coined by television advertising pioneer Rosser Reeves of Ted Bates & Company. Theodore Levitt, a professor at Harvard Business School, suggested that, "Differentiation is one of the most important strategic and tactical activities in which companies must constantly engage." The term has been extended to cover one's "personal brand".
A unique selling proposition (USP) refers to the unique benefit exhibited by a company, service, product or brand that enables it to stand out from competitors. The unique selling proposition must be a feature that highlights product benefits that are meaningful to consumers. USP focuses on explicit claims of uniqueness involving an objectively verifiable product attribute or benefit-in-use.
See also: Devising the creative strategy
The USP concept has become[when?] one of the eight broad approaches to creative executions in advertising.[need quotation to verify] The USP approach is recommended[by whom?] where high levels of technological innovation characterise a product category. A clear USP helps consumers to understand differences - even non-existent differences - between brand offerings in a category, and may also help consumers to form a positive attitude towards a brand and may ultimately contribute to increased levels of brand recall.
In order to determine an appropriate USP for any given brand, marketers must undertake extensive research of the category as well as of consumers. It is important to be able to locate a space in the market, ensure that the feature is something that is unique, and also something that is valued by potential customers. Sellers also need to try selling a brand to themselves; this is so they know they are passionate about a product and confident it can succeed. The seller needs a key point to use when trying to sell their product or service, and coming up with it prior to selling will benefit. Having a point of difference to stand out is a major benefit in markets; customers will be drawn to a business if it offers something no one else has. Whether differences are subtle or blatant, they can be the driving force that ensures the end-consumer makes the desired decision in choosing one product over the competition.
In markets which contain many similar products, using a USP is one campaign method of differentiating the product from the competition. Products or services without differentiation risk the consumer seeing them as commodities and fungible, thus lowering price potential. Thus having a unique selling point is essential to have a successful business that can handle current competition, as well as possible future comers in similar markets.
The desktop personal-computer market provides one example with many manufacturers and the potential for new manufacturers at any time. Apple used[when?] the slogan "Beauty outside, Beast inside" for its Mac Pro campaign to differentiate its product as "beautiful" compared with any other desktop computer. Buyers of this product were willing to pay a premium price, compared with technically similar desktop computers. Apple differentiates itself with a focus on aesthetics and cutting-edge technologies. Wal-Mart's "Save money, live better" (Waiz, 2013).[sentence fragment] Wal-Mart is concerned with being the cheapest department store and with reminding customers that it's not how much one spends on a product that matters. This USP rests on strong, direct and concise messaging that gives consumers a clear picture of exactly what value they will receive for choosing a given brand or product. Something so simple that can attract customers like that and show the unique selling proposition of the business is what people look for.[need quotation to verify] Marketing strategies are very important for different companies to establish their identity and increase market share.
A good USP should target a specific audience. Furthermore, a USP should not only be unique, but also keep its promises in order to prove trustworthy.
The following are examples of Unique Selling Propositions. What is commonly considered a slogan is enhanced with a differentiating benefit of the product or service. Typically, the uniqueness is delivered by a unique process, ingredient, or system that produces the benefit described.
Successful business ownership is not about having a unique product or service; it's about making your product stand out--even in a market filled with similar items.
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