First, let’s get the semantics out of the way. When we say unique value proposition (UVP), it’s the same as what some refer to as the unique selling proposition (USP) or a unique selling point. In case you didn’t pick up on the similarities, uniqueness is the name of the game.
Let’s talk about the UVP’s value. It’s more than knowing who you are, it’s being able to tell others why your differences matter. It’s essential to communicate your uniqueness compared to others in your industry, but more importantly, it’s paramount that you can do it quickly and succinctly. Creating a short statement that communicates what problem you are solving and who you are solving it for is a foundational element for brand communications.
The unique value proposition is created by first understanding:
- Who you are
- Who your customers are
- What your customers need and value
- How you can deliver what your customers need to be successful
The traditional UVP structure looks like this:
For (target customers) who are dissatisfied with (the current alternative or pain point), our product is a (product detail) that provides (key problem-solving capability) unlike (the product alternative). Note, the elements are what’s important, not the specific structure.
As an example, our proposition reads:
As a brand experience agency we help companies that positively impact our health, well-being and social responsibility by engaging their prospects, improving their sales funnel and building brand loyalists.
Maybe the best way for you to understand the value of the UVP is through these FAQs and example scenarios.
1. If we don’t have any competitors, do we need a UVP?
First, your UVP isn’t just for potential customers, it’s a pillar in your brand foundation. And trust me, you have competitors. Don’t think of your competition as only those who sell the same thing that you do. Broaden your view to consider companies that may take your share of the market. It may be true that no one else has a product/service like yours on the market (today), but your competition may be those who have yet to enter your marketplace, or those who compete with you indirectly. Example, “do we buy a dog or a pot bellied pig?” Both are pets, but from two different industries.
2. Is the UVP and brand promise the same thing?
No. The UVP is the connection between the brand promise and the customer’s needs. It rounds out the perception your audience has about your brand. Your brand promise, on the other hand, states your promise to your customers and staff. Brand promise is a key internal communication tool to help ensure your employees are aligned with your brand and can deliver on your promise. It’s relationship based and should answer the question, “If I engage with you or your brand, what can I expect?”
Here’s an example from Scotch®:
Their brand promise: Saves time, makes the job easier and eliminates redos, providing a sense of accomplishment and freedom from worry. “A sense of accomplishment and freedom from worry” is what the brand promises from a relationship standpoint.
Their UVP: For professional painters who need to paint interiors quickly without redos, Scotch Brand Masking Tape delivers fast work, consistency and perfect results.
3. If we have a mission statement do we need a UVP?
Yes. To put it simply, mission statements typically have a brand-centric focus, unique value propositions should have an audience-minded, selling focus. Consider your mission as a foundational component of your brand DNA.
4. What if we’re not unique?
Your service offering may be similar to others in your industry, but there is always something or a combination of somethings that will set your brand apart. You may offer your service/product to a very particular audience segment. Or maybe you deliver your offering in a different way. Sometimes it takes a bit more digging, but that’s where we come in. We have a lot of strategic shovelers to help find the answer. Once you determine your uniqueness reinforce it daily by living your brand promise.
5. How do I start the UVP process?
R+M has a proven process called THIRST® that digs deep into your brand to find your true, memorable differentiation. Here’s a good place to start: www.rmagency.com/UVP
6. We’ve finished our UVP, now what?
Let’s not use the word “finished.” What’s most important is that your UVP resonates with your target audience. If your audience’s needs evolve, you and your UVP should as well.
Check out the “now what” portion in Chris Lien’s blog post: “Time to Give Your Brand Direction.”