Why Your Business Needs a Unique Selling Proposition Now More Than Ever

Greg Ott
Why Your Business Needs a Unique Selling Proposition Now More Than Ever
Standing out in a crowded marketplace is challenging enough. In normal times, setting your company apart from the competition requires careful competitive research, a compelling brand story, and a laserlike focus on delivering what your customers value the most.

Without offering a product or service that highlights the unique aspects of your brand, customers are likely to gravitate towards competitors that have clearly defined what, why, and to whom they’re selling.

The challenge of differentiating your business becomes exponentially harder during an unprecedented global pandemic. Shuttered businesses, disrupted travel, and economic uncertainty contribute to an unusual environment that makes it even more difficult than usual to compete for your customer’s attention. Finding ways to set your small business apart from the online deluge of well-known major brands and niche products blasted across social media is essential to securing the long-term success of your company. 

Establishing a unique selling proposition can help your company stand out in even the most challenging and competitive markets. As a clearly defined aspect of your business that separates your brand from the competition, a unique selling proposition can ensure that customers know exactly what your product or service does and how it’s different from the rest. By carving out a clear and precise niche, your solution can better emerge as the best option for customers seeking to solve a specific problem. 

What Is a Unique Selling Proposition?

A unique selling proposition (USP) is the one core aspect of your brand that separates you from the competition. Playing up to your brand’s most particular strengths, the unique selling proposition clearly and succinctly states what your customers should expect from your company and how you’re different from similar products or services on the market. 

The key to a successful unique selling proposition is the word “unique.” Positive but generic platitudes such as “high-quality products” or “great customer service” may be true and seemingly beneficial to customers, but almost any company can already deliver on such promises without extra effort. Instead, companies with a clearly defined unique selling proposition go above and beyond to communicate the precise reason that the attributes and benefits of one brand are different and better than the others in the same space. 

Determining a unique selling proposition is essential for effective branding and marketing. Even if you have already defined your brand, identified your audience, and developed a solution to a particular problem, concisely communicating your company’s benefits over the competition allows you to better target customers with a fine-tuned message. While your product or service itself doesn’t have to be inherently original, the message behind it must be in order for customers to understand why you present the better option. 

Why Is a Unique Selling Proposition Important Today?

No matter the business circumstance, differentiating your brand from the competition is always a necessary task. But in the midst of COVID-19, in which marketing budgets are constrained and consumers are more mindful about their spending, it’s more important than ever to have a clear brand identity and rationale for customers to buy your products. 

In adapting to the challenges posed by the coronavirus, many small businesses unaccustomed to Ecommerce have been forced to offer their products and services online. To compete with digitally native brands and other companies with a firmly established online presence, reaching your audience online will require skillful marketing and communication, as well as a top Ecommerce builder. And even if your brand doesn’t depend on the internet, having a strong unique selling proposition can leave it well-positioned to capture the right attention for customers looking for the goods or services you provide. 

Unique selling propositions are not a secret; they’re a well-established aspect of business and marketing. There’s a good chance that your competitors have already taken the time to determine what makes them unique and different from brands like yours. Without expressing why any customer should choose your small business over another leaves you at a competitive disadvantage. 

How Do You Create a Unique Selling Proposition?

Crafting a unique selling proposition requires creativity, care, and a small amount of soul-searching. It’s not simply a matter of stating what you think your brand offers: Asking yourself hard questions as to who is actually using the product, what your product’s true strengths and weaknesses are, and what differentiates your brand from the others takes careful thought and research.   

Your brand should fit in the sweet spot between what the consumer wants, what your brand does best, and what your competitors don’t offer. Capitalizing on your strengths, your competitor’s weaknesses, and your target audience’s interests will allow you to accurately pinpoint why your company is the right choice for the customer. 

To craft your unique selling proposition, determine what makes your company stand out, clearly and confidently state your differentiating qualities, and focus on the benefits to the customer. Don’t shy away from using hyperbole if it’s honest — if you offer a best-in-class product, tell the world! If your answer ends up sounding like a slogan (“fresh, fast, and on time”), you’ve got a strong indication that your brand can be communicated with a unique, short, and effective message. 

Unique Selling Isn’t Unique

The global pandemic may come and go, but the need to effectively market your brand will remain the same. Positioning your brand to solve the problem of a particular audience or niche is an essential year-round business strategy that ensures your product is reaching its intended audience. 

Your unique selling proposition doesn’t have to be determined overnight. Testing out different messages and refining your brand’s core strength can take time, and basing a marketing strategy off of a flimsy rationale won’t set you up for long-term success. But by accounting for the truly unique aspects of your brand and communicating them clearly to your customers, your small business will be better positioned to withstand a recession, pandemic, or any other challenge thrown your way.

Greg Ott
Greg Ott is a writer and editor in New York City.