“In advertising not to be different is virtually suicidal,” said William Bernbach.

In business your goal is for people to buy your product – and NOT the competition’s. But if the product is no way different or better, folks will have no reason to buy from you!

A unique selling proposition (USP) is a way for you to distinguish yourself from others. A simple exercise to begin with is to go through all the benefits your product delivers, and then identify how your competition is positioning themselves.

Remember that your USP must be a benefit! A benefit that your competition has overlooked, and is not advertising. Even though you might share similar benefits, you can always find something that differentiates your business from the herd.

However, the challenging part is to find a benefit that is strong enough to compel people to jump ship and buy your product.

Unique Selling Proposition Example: Evernote vs. Day One

I’m a big fan of Evernote, a note-taking application that syncs across all my devices. Nevertheless, I found myself looking into another application called Day One, that some would argue is very similar to Evernote. Both can be used for taking notes, but the difference between the two is that Day One is positioned as a journaling app and delivers features, such as passcode protection and reminders, which Evernote does not.

By positioning themselves as the go application for journal writing, DayOne has proved very popular with folks who want a written record of events and has won several awards, including App of the Year in 2012.

Identifying something unique about your products and making a big deal about it – you help folks see it from a different perspective. What you’re saying to consumers is, “When you buy our product, you’ll get this particular benefit.” For Day One, the benefit is that you get a journaling app that lets you keep track of your life.

Ideally, you want to find a strong benefit to set you apart. However, for markets where you might find yourself with a flood of competing products, you might want to follow these useful tips.

1. Make A Big Deal About A Little Known Benefit

  • Make a list of your product’s features and benefits
  • Study the competition’s marketing content
  • Spot anything they’ve ignored? Then highlight that feature and benefit they’ve missed and present it in a unique way.

2. Differentiate Packaging, Delivery And Guarantees

  • Make your packaging the stand out attraction, Puma’s Clever Little Bag is an excellent example.
  • Promise delivery times your competition isn’t offering
  • Out do the competition’s guarantee. Do they offer a 30 day money back guarantee? Offer customers a lifetime guarantee instead!

3. Build A Brand Personality

  • Give your brand human characteristics
  • Classic example include: the Marlboro Man (masculine), Nike swoosh (athletic), Apple’s bitten apple (youthful)
  • Your logo, content, videos, mascots and employees help personify your brand
  • Examples of businesses using mascot include; MailChimp with their chimpanzee, Angry Birds with its birds and pigs, and Evernote has an elephant.

A unique selling proposition can be anything, but it’s up to you to find out what it is and take advantage of it. Oreo is notorious for its twist, lick and dunk campaigns showing consumers how they can eat the sandwich cookie and M&M came up with the “Melts in your mouth, not your hand” tagline. So, what’s your USP?