Your small business needs to be remarkable. It needs to stand heads and shoulders above your competition. When customers actively compare your small business to your competition, you want them to be compelled to choose you to the exclusion of everyone else. Sounds right? To do this, you need to be able to find your unique selling point and consistently deliver it.
Why do I Need a Unique Selling Point?
Each year the world is deluged with more brands and more choice. 2006 saw over 58,375 new products introduced throughout the World. This was more than double the number introduced in 2002.* Ouch. This means that your business has more and more competition and more and more clutter and noise to cut through.
As mentioned on the keys to small business success, a unique selling point is the differentiating benefit that your small business has over your competition. It’s the message aiming to cut through the clutter which drives customers to your small business. Your unique selling point needs to be different, relevant and valued by your target customers so they choose your small business to the exclusion of all others.
Your unique selling point must be simple to express and easy to understand. It must also be threaded through your entire business; from your business cards and catalogues, to your invoices, receipts and email signatures. You can never over communicate your point of difference. In short, if you’re sick of seeing your unique selling point you’re implementing it correctly.
You should also only focus on one unique selling point. This is easier for customers to identify with and remember. It also strengthens your focus and protects it from the competition.
*J Gerzema, E Lebar The Trouble with Brands, 2009
Brands that Successfully use a Unique Selling Point
OK, let’s step away from the theoretical classroom for a moment to see how real brands successfully champion a unique selling point.
- Photoshop: The premier image manipulation software
- Harley Davidson: The original motorcycle
- Dyson: The bagless vacuum cleaner that doesn’t lose suction
- Dove Soap: The soap with moisturising cream
- IKEA: Great value furniture you assemble yourself
- Wikipedia: The comprehensive free online encyclopedia
- Gatorade: The sports energy drink that helps you regain energy faster
- Black Berry: Access and send information anywhere, anytime
- Amazon: Get any book shipped to your door
It’s important to understand that these brands champion these selling points through consistent messaging over many years, usually decades. This consistent messaging helps solidify their unique selling point in the minds of customers, guarding it against competition.
Sure, there may be moisturising soaps apart from Dove, or a better motorbike than Harley Davidson – but it doesn’t matter. These brands have already won the minds of customers. Their perception is reality in the minds of their target customers.
And in business, perception is more important than reality.
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