What is a USP or Unique Selling Proposition and Why is It so Important?

Those of us who have been working in marketing for a long time have heard many times about the USP or Unique Selling Proposition. It is a concept that was defined for the first time in the 1940s and it seems that it is not given the importance it should.

Nowadays, it is still very useful. I’ll show you why.

What is a USP or Unique Selling Proposition and how to define it?

Wikipedia defines USP as follows:

“It is the unique benefit revealed by a company, service, product or brand that allows it to stand out from the competition. The unique value proposition should be a functionality that highlights the benefits that are meaningful to customers. “

To be a unique value proposition you must comply with three rules:

  • Each advertisement must make a proposal to the client. It should be as clear as saying: “Buy this product for this specific benefit.” It must be focused on a benefit not on a functionality.
  • This proposal must be one that the competition does not offer or cannot offer.
  • The proposal must be powerful enough to mobilize consumers. To buy the product or service or to perform a certain action. And of course, we must be able to fulfill it.

For me the best way to summarize it is:

“The USP or Unique Selling Proposition is the reason why they buy our product before the one from the competition.”

This definition does not exactly correspond to the theory, but it does explain the concept clearly.

How is a USP or Unique Selling Proposition defined?

We need to find and communicate a unique benefit (that our competition does not deliver or cannot deliver), in a sufficiently powerful way, as to mobilize our audience towards the purchase.

For this, we need to have information about:

  • The business model of our company, as a starting point to understand that the only generic or global sales proposal we can offer.
  • If we want this USP to really mobilize, we have to lower the value proposition for our audience and detect those arguments that add value and that can be converted into USP.
  • Compare our proposals with those of the competition.

Once we have found that unique sales proposal, we must transform it into a message that meets the three conditions stated at the beginning: what is a proposal, what the competition does not do and what is powerful enough to mobilize our audience.

The strength of the Unique Selling Proposition is that we can use it as a basis to define our positioning.

We can define USP in many areas: for our company, its products, for each audience profile…

Before finishing, watch these two videos that explain it very well with some examples: