Unique selling proposition

Unique selling proposition


The unique selling proposition (USP) is a marketing concept that states successful advertising campaigns make unique propositions to customers that convince them to switch brands. It is what makes your business unique and valuable to your customers. The term was invented by television advertising pioneer Rosser Reeves of Ted Bates & Company. Unique propositions that were pioneers when introduced include Domino's Pizza: 'You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less – or it's free', FedEx: 'When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight' and M&M's: 'Melts in your mouth, not in your hand'.

In the book 'Reality in Advertising', Reeves states that USP is made up of three parts:

  • Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer – not just words, product puffery, or show-window advertising. Each advertisement must say to each reader: 'Buy this product, for this specific benefit'.
  • The proposition must be one the competition cannot or does not offer. It must be unique – either in the brand or a claim, the rest of the competition does not make.
  • The proposition must be strong enough to move the masses, i.e. attract new customers.

Implementation process:

  1. Define your target market.
  2. Explain the problem you solve.
  3. List the most significant distinctive benefits.
  4. Define your promise.
  5. Combine and rework.
  6. Cut it down and shorten it.

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