Paul Simister, a UK business strategy coach suggested that the
Unique Selling Proposition for brands is all but dead. It should be replaced by
the USP (Unique Story Proposition). I completely agree. Paul suggests thinking about a new USP that...
- Makes a short statement to differentiate your business based on what
you stand against.
- Recognizes that USPs don’t exist in markets where the businesses are more
interested in copying each other than in being different.
- Creates a Unique Story Proposition that focuses on what matters
to the customer and what matters to you
Stories, background and context are what distinguish brands
today, not some sales-related point of differentiation. Differentiation is like
an arms race with never ending challenges to add more features. Just think of the toothpaste category:
“Our toothpaste will whiten your teeth, refresh your breath, heals your
gums, relax your wavy hair and increase your Twitter following”
Markets aren’t what they once were when Rosser Reeve
conceived the USP in the 1940’s. Channels are fragmented. Brands proliferate.
Selling has changed in dramatic ways and consumers learn about products through
new platforms and from their own communities not solely from advertising.
power has shifted and my friend's recommendation to try a new wine or running
shoe carries far more influence than an ad. Brands must align and can’t just hit me over
the head over and over and over again with messages that interrupt me without my permission.
In the 1990’s P&G developed a USP for Pampers that they
were the driest diaper of all the choices. Over time, consumers became emotionally
connected to Huggies and challenged Pampers. As Bernadette Jiwa, an Australian marketing thought
leader describes, the consumer doesn’t want different, they want difference.
The distinction is important.
The consumer falls in love with products that
make a difference in their lives not because of a product’s features.
A unique story is vital to a brand’s health. It helps to
embed the benefits of building a relationship with a consumer in ways that advertising
just can’t match. Sharing within your community turns GRP’s (Gross Rating
Points) on its head.
Can you imagine the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge as an
advertisement working versus what happened on social media as friends
challenged friends? It was the shareable story that motivated millions to donate and dunk themselves - not a paid advertisement.
What is your Unique Story Proposition?
How is it different from your competitors?
Is it authentic to your company’s values?
Is everyone in your organization telling the same story in their own voice?
Where does the storytelling happen?
What time of day is best for sharing your story?
Does it align with the needs of the community you serve?
Who is telling your story – your customers or your ad
Labels: bernadette jiwa, Difference, Different, Marketing Moments, Rosser Reeves, Unique Selling Proposition, Unique Story Proposition