USP – Unique selling proposition

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USP – Unique selling proposition

Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is what makes your product or service different from the competition and answers the customer’s question, “Why should they buy your product?”.

Creating a unique selling proposition for your business means identifying the factors that make you stand out and creating a message that connects you to your customer’s needs.

How unique selling proposition works

A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) differentiates your product or service from your competitors’ products. This is sometimes used as a slogan that appears on marketing materials, but the USP is always more than just a slogan. In essence, this is what makes you unique.

For example, a few years ago, when Amazon became the most popular online shopping destination, it offered free two-day shipping to its Prime members.

For many users, the barrier to buying anything online was that there was always a shipping cost involved, which meant the purchase would be more expensive. Amazon, at the time, was unique in that it shipped within two days for free. Amazon’s USP addresses a specific problem its customers experience when shopping online.

KFC – the legendary fast food establishments of Colonel Sanders
KFC – the legendary fast food establishments of Colonel Sanders

Not only was Amazon’s two-day shipping model unique among online sellers, it also removed a barrier that might otherwise prevent people from buying items online that they would normally buy in a physical store.

How to create a USP in 5 steps

Because the Unique Selling Proposition communicates what is different and special about how you serve your customers, it is important to understand both their needs and how you can uniquely meet those needs. These five steps will guide you through the process of refining and defining your unique selling proposition.

Start with your target audience

It may seem counterintuitive to start with your customers when you’re considering the unique features of your business, but what you really want to do is solve their problems. Find out what matters most to them and, in particular, how your business can solve this problem. Since your selling proposition is what you use to communicate why a customer should buy from you, understanding their needs will inform you about each of the next steps.

Picture: Nastassia Samal | Dreamstime

Ask yourself the following questions and make a list of answers:

  • Who are my clients and what are their pain points?
  • What specific problem am I solving for my client?
  • Which factors are most important in the decision-making process?

Identify and understand your competitors

In addition to your target customers, it is also important to understand your competition.

SWOT analysis – identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business
SWOT analysis – identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business

One of your sales goals should be to differentiate yourself from your competitors, which means knowing who they are and how they work.

List the reasons why your solution is unique

Make a list of how your product or solution differs from your competitor. For example, you may be using materials that no one else is using, or you may have your own manufacturing process.

Define your unique selling proposition

Once you have looked at both your target customers and your competitors and come up with a list of what is unique to your product, you can combine them into a USP, which can then become the cornerstone of your sales management strategy.

Avoid using overly technical language or phrases that make sense to you but mean nothing to anyone outside of your company. Your sales proposal should be no longer than one or two sentences.

Integrate your unique selling proposition into your sales strategy

Once you’ve formulated your selling proposition, it’s important to integrate it into your overall sales strategy. This should become the way you talk about your products when interacting with customers and should be present in all your marketing and promotional materials.

Slogan: how to create the right slogan for your business
Slogan: how to create the right slogan for your business

One of the most important ways to integrate your selling proposition is to train your sales team to use it to position your products during sales.

Because your salespeople identify your customers’ needs during the sales process, they can use the USP to demonstrate the value you offer as opposed to other options available to your customer.

How to write a USP

Good afternoon, my name is Akhundov Emil and I have been doing marketing for over 10 years. Today we are talking about USP or Unique Selling Proposition and the most common mistakes in using it.

Picture: Maksstock78 | Dreamstime

Let’s start with the official definition:

Unique Selling Proposition (Unique Selling Proposition) is a prominent characteristic of a product or brand upon which a company’s marketing activities are based.

From the definition it is clear that this is a unique and non-repeatable characteristic on which marketing activity is based. This does not rule out that a company may have several products with different USPs, but it also means that one product is unlikely to have 3-4 such USPs.

Brand Ambassador: who is it and how to become one
Brand Ambassador: who is it and how to become one

A lot of people confuse an offer (essentially a trade offer), of which there can really be a lot and a unique trade offer.

For example: “Buy now – we will give a 5% discount” – this is just a suggestion, but “Buying from us – you are investing in your future, because your discount will not be easy for life, but apply to your whole family” is already bad (we’ll talk about this a little later), but USP. This example is just for illustration purposes.

At the same time, the offer works great in conjunction with the USP, simply because it will be made up of it and the element of attraction, catchiness and even involvement will also work. And they can’t be combined.

Immediately advice: if someone offers you 10 USP for each advertising company, then most likely at least 7 of them are already used by your competitors. There are no such number of unique words. But you do not forget to check the sites of competitors, so as not to be in an awkward and unprofitable situation.

USP Rules

If you choose to write a USP, then it is simply a description of your product and its benefits. The USP should have only three points:

  • Specific – accurate description of the service?
  • Uniqueness – what’s unique?
  • Effective – people should like it, if you do it yourself, don’t be afraid to ask friends and colleagues.
B2B sales – business to business
B2B sales – business to business

I’ll add right away – these are all the requirements for USP, it can be long or short, it all depends on each specific case, now we will give a couple of world examples of USP with a comment, so it will be clearer.

USP examples

Avis car rental – “We’re second, but we try”.

Because the market leader then was “Hertz”. By the way, after this USP, which many will not accept because of selfishness and vanity, Avis’ market share increased from 11 to 35%. The coolest USP that shows how it should work. They were able to convey to the buyers that they are a very strong company – 2nd place out of hundreds, moreover, they said that they also work hard, because they want to be the first. People understood everything as intended, although the idea was revolutionary.

Picture: Alena Dzihilevich | Dreamstime
FedEx logistics – “When it should be Absolutely delivered tomorrow”.

A chic play on words, they accurately described the situation in which every potential client wants to be: “We will deliver your cargo quickly and on time and will not break anything.” In my opinion, this is the perfect USP.

M&M’s – “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands”.

USP, which has been with the company for so long that buyers take it as its slogan. But a really very successful USP, which is aimed at both children and parents who pay for sweets: “It will be delicious and you won’t need to wash your hands.”

I even saw the USP – “We have sober movers”, which of course makes the company stand out, but this is not a very ethical technique, in relation to everyone in general.

Not a very good opportunity

At one time I worked in the production of lifting and traction equipment, where a new USP had to be quickly invented. I recently moved into this company and industry, I knew only a few competitors and their USPs, if any, were very dubious in my opinion. The only thing I could think of quickly was: “Success is a matter of technology, our technology”.

Franchising: business features
Franchising: business features

And it seems to suit everyone, and in general it sounds good. But only at the exhibition for which we did the USP, I received a business card from a person from another organization, but with the same USP.

So remember that any strategic decision (and your USP may even outlive your company) must be carefully considered.

USP simply makes you stand out and helps customers choose you. And you also need to always comply with what it says – otherwise more customers will leave you than they will come.

Bad USP example

In our time, it is difficult to offer the market exactly a UNIQUE TP, as Vadim Tyan, an expert at Interim, explains. But, in the excess of information and advertising noise that hit the consumer from each iron, the UNDERSTANDING TP is of particular importance. Uniqueness is replaced by a clear and concise statement of the acquirer’s benefit. And it works just as well, and often better!

To draw up a TP, it is necessary to look at it not from the side of the manufacturer or seller, but from the side of the consumer. It seems to be clear to everyone, but it is extremely rare in practice. Catastrophic errors are quite common, even in large companies with huge marketing budgets.

Home business ideas for women
Home business ideas for women

Remember the famous brand of yogurt, with its “Not all yogurt is the same”! This slogan, which USP tried to formulate, not only did not help increase sales, but collapsed the entire market of yogurts. Since the consumer considered it completely different than the marketers of this company assumed. “Yoghurts, it turns out NOT USEFUL!”.

Why having a USP matters

The unique selling proposition is used mainly in two ways.

Picture: Ratz Attila | Dreamstime

First, it is used by marketers to communicate what the company is about and is often present in marketing materials. This helps to determine the company’s position in the market and attracts potential customers.

Second, it is used by sales teams to position products in direct comparison with competitors. A good unique selling proposition should be easily used by the sales rep in a conversation with a potential customer to help them make a purchasing decision.

Unique Selling Proposition Benefits

Creating a unique selling proposition has several benefits for your company as it forces you to think about what is unique about your product or service and how it meets your customer’s needs. Ultimately, these benefits lead to a clearer sales plan and more sales as you attract the right type of customers and successfully meet their needs.

Handmade: a source of income or just a hobby?
Handmade: a source of income or just a hobby?

Here are some of the most significant USP benefits:

  • Clarify what your company stands for. Some companies have very specific selling propositions that define who they are.
  • Clearing confusion among clients. A well-designed sales proposal will make it clear to the client what you stand for and what you offer, reducing the chance that they will be confused about either.
  • Overcoming customer objections. When a customer tells you they have a particular problem or have been disappointed with another provider, the USP can help you get over it by showing you how you and your products and services are different.
  • Customer Satisfaction. Since your unique selling proposition determines how you stand out from the competition, it can help manage expectations and increase customer satisfaction as they clearly understand what you offer and why you are unique, which also increases the likelihood that they will tell other people about you. .


As Tatyana Kaminskaya, Professor of the Department of Mass Communications and Media Business of the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, explains, it is necessary to reflect the advantage, but not the characteristics of the product, service or policy in one catchy phrase. The advantage can be found in the type of product (compared with similar ones), in the way the product is used, in the process of exposure.

For example, a baby stroller may be different from strollers that competitors make:

  1. that it folds easily and fits into the trunk of a small car;
  2. that it has excellent cross-country ability and can be used on a country road;
  3. It’s made from materials that retain heat.
KPI – key performance indicators
KPI – key performance indicators

As a rule, two or three obvious advantages are not combined in one product, while each advantage is aimed at a certain type of consumer. Therefore, having determined a competitive advantage, you can thereby clarify your target audience and refer to it in the slogan: “The stroller of the company N is instantly ready to lie down in the trunk!” Or: “She won’t hold you up in the parking lot!”

As for the USP in politics, it is usually about those qualities or symbolic capital of a candidate that his competitors lack – youth or experience, origins from the electorate locality or career achievements – everything can work as a USP.