Could you sell your product to your prospects in five seconds?
And within those five seconds, could you explain why you’re much better than anyone else on the market?
It’s certainly a feat.
And it’s also what your unique selling proposition (USP) is there for.
In this article, we’re going to demystify unique selling propositions (also called unique selling points) to help you phrase your pitch better.
We’ll also cover over twenty unique selling proposition examples.
It’s time to make your customers see how great you are.
Let’s dive in!
Here’s the thing: a lot of things make your product(s) special. However, you don’t get an unlimited amount of time to communicate that to your sales prospects.
Instead, you get about a few seconds before they decide to keep listening or end the call.
A unique selling proposition is a set of factors that make your product unique in the market (for your customer).
You could be selling what thousands of other companies are selling and yet, your USP is going to make your product much better than any other alternative.
According to Theodore Levitt (and common sense), “Differentiation is one of the most important strategic and tactical activities in which companies must constantly engage.”
Your USP is the way to communicate your differentiation to your customers.
The logic behind it is very simple: there are a lot of products in the market. Your prospects aren’t being mean when they say they will think about it. They’re simply inundated.
A strong USP is a great way to make their decision easy for them (and in your company’s favour).
Or, to put it simply: a USP is a way of telling your customers what your company has that your competitors don’t have.
However, your USP should focus on your customers.
You don’t want to say: “We have Mary in accounting, and no one else has her. She can do some legitimate magic for our quarterly reports.”
Instead, everything in the USP should be focused on the benefits your customers are directly experiencing.
Before you start thinking that you need a unicorn for developing your USP, you should know that there are a few rules to follow:
Remember: your USP should clearly articulate the benefits of your product to a specific person.
If you have more than one audience type, you should develop USPs for each type.
For example, if you sell a B2B software to both IT companies and accounting firms, your USPs won’t necessarily be one and the same.
The IT whizzes may love your product for its integration with their existing systems.
The accountants, on the other hand, could love that it’s not difficult to set up.
Your USP for every audience your sales reps and marketers are communicating with should be tailored to that audience specifically.
The main prerequisite for developing a great unique selling proposition is knowing your product well.
That goes for everyone in the company; from developers to sales managers and sales representatives.
Make a list of all the benefits for different consumers.
When you’ve listed all those benefits (and we’re sure there are plenty), it’s time to take a look at your competition.
Chances are, your product isn’t unique. That, however, doesn’t mean your sales representatives should just flop about and say: “Meh, we’re mediocre.”
Instead, make sure you take an extremely critical look at your competition and then evaluate how they are presenting their products.
What are they emphasising as their main benefits? How do their customers respond to those phrasings?
Typically, your main point of differentiation will likely be one of these three things:
Maybe your product’s quality is better than that of your competitors, and that’s what will draw your customers in.
Then again, you could be offering a great product at a significantly reduced price (as some of the companies in the examples we’ll mention are).
Finally, you could be providing your customers with a more convenient experience.
Maybe they have to click fewer times to get the product they want.
Maybe you’re selling clothes and they can add custom measurements instead of trying to figure out which size they are.
It all depends on your product, but know which factor makes you different before you develop your USP.
Typically, companies express their USPs in their positioning statements.
However, a USP is a living, breathing thing. It changes with your company and products, and your sales reps should tailor it to every prospect they’re speaking to.
Not necessarily, but both good USPs and good slogans express the same thing: memorable benefits for consumers.
Your sales reps are not robots, and they shouldn’t repeat the phrasing of your USP blindly. Especially if it doesn’t fit their natural speech mannerisms.
Make it clear that they can paraphrase it, as long as the core values are intact.
The same goes for the USP itself.
If you pride yourself on being a very casual company, don’t develop and perpetuate a formal USP, and vice versa.
Benefits for consumers may be 90% of your USP’s success, but the other 10% is the way you present it.
And your customers have a knack for understanding whether you’re being genuine or not.
Finally, test your unique selling proposition.
You can test it as you go – letting the sales reps try it out first and gauge reactions from prospects.
You can also assemble a focus group of ten to twenty people representative of your target audiences, and see how they feel about it.
Your USP will change, and that’s natural.
Just make sure you monitor trends and find new opportunities to make your USP even better.
Guardian Band is a company that produces bands/watches dedicated to making their customers safe, no matter where they are.
Their USP strikes a nerve with the today’s generation of travellers, troublemakers and people who like living life to the fullest. The world isn’t safe enough to do it without a little help from the Guardian Band watch.
With the band, the user’s GPS coordinates and photos/videos of their surroundings are immediately sent to people they’ve added to their Guardian Network when they press the SOS button.
And while the company could have gone for a technical USP, they focused on safety in a thrilling way instead.
Their USP conveys freedom. They give their customers confidence to safely enjoy their lives.
And their USP shows it.
When you take a look at Domino’s Pizza’s USP, chances are, you’re going to think they focused on the price as a key differentiator.
But if you look at the reviews of any takeaway pizza place in your vicinity, you’ll see that the main thing people complain about is slow delivery.
Domino’s Pizza tackled this head on.
And while their USP may seem like they’re emphasising the free pizza people could get if it’s not at their doorstep within half an hour, they’re actually emphasising the speed – the quality – of their service.
And their unique selling proposition also comes with the word “free” in it, which is always a fan favourite.
The best part is that Domino’s actually follows through. If you don’t get your tasty meal within the thirty minutes of placing the order, they won’t charge you.
Zoho Books know their people.
Well, they actually know 99% of mankind that’s doing business. Accounting can get complicated, and the worst thing you could subject yourself to is getting an equally complicated software.
You just want to run your business, and Zoho knows it. It’s why their USP shows they’ll help you do it. Without any headaches.
This is a prime example of a convenience-based unique selling proposition.
The company doesn’t talk about the tech stuff behind the scenes. Instead, they put their customers’ convenience at the forefront of their success.
Did we say hyperbole is the way to go? Because it definitely is.
Death Wish Coffee is a company that’s true to their branding in every way. Especially with their USP phrasing.
After all, they serve people who want their coffee black, bitter, and strong enough to kill a horse.
Phrasing their product offer in such a way doesn’t just make them reach all the right people. It also makes their customers feel amazing at the same time.
They are, after all, drinking the world’s strongest coffee.
It’s definitely something to talk about at parties.
Colgate takes their unique selling proposition to new heights.
Knowing that people use their toothpaste to keep their teeth clean and their mouth healthy, they’ve emphasised it in their USP.
But they also showed what they have that their competition doesn’t: a timeframe.
Not only will you, as someone who uses Colgate, improve your mouth health, but you’ll also do it in two weeks.
This phrasing makes prospects and consumers more aware of how real Colgate’s benefits are for their mouth health, and they’re more likely to buy the products themselves.
Now, this is certainly a slogan.
Like we already said, a USP can be phrased as a slogan.
A slogan, just like any other marketing and sales material, is an extension of the unique selling proposition.
However, not all slogans convey a company’s unique selling point.
As makers of gin, they know that not all gin is the same. And there are some serious gin aficionados out there.
Fever-Tree calls upon those people with their USP.
They don’t want to please everyone. They know who they’re going for and what that audience likes.
And that’s exactly who they address with their unique selling proposition.
Social marketing is incredibly important these days. We’re all increasingly aware of the problems with the climate, and how the humanity as a whole disrupted the natural functioning of our planet.
And that’s exactly what makes cause marketing a good card to play.
Ecosia is actually a search engine that uses the 80% of their profits to plant trees.
And by displaying that prominently, they’re managing to get an edge over huge search engines such as Google, and even Bing to some extent.
This is an interesting avenue to take, as they’re not necessarily showing their search engine is better than competitors.
They’re showing that the company is better than competitors.
8) Zappos: “Our purpose is simple: to live and deliver WOW. Learn more about our service company, which just happens to sell shoes, clothing, and more.”
Zappos live and breathe their unique selling proposition.
While they are an online retailer, what made them famous and beloved by customers in the first place was their stellar customer service.
They use quality as the main differentiator of their product. However, it’s not necessarily the quality of their products, but the quality of their service.
You can gauge that from their USP, as well (which is not a slogan in their case).
They put convenience and delight into the process of buying shoes and clothes online, all because of the customer service reps who are always delighted to talk with the customers.
What makes BMW so special?
The company that manufactures the car day in and day out put it in four simple words: the BMW is the ultimate driving machine.
It provides a better driving experience than its competitors.
It lasts longer than any other car.
And it’s a great ride.
This USP is a marriage of quality and the X factor: BMW is simply the best, and they don’t shy away from stating that in their pitch.
Plenty of companies play on their customers’ insecurities in order to sell their products.
Beardbrand addresses this early on and promises that’s not the case with their products.
Similarly to Ecosia with their cause marketing, Beardbrand gives customers a wider perspective of who they are actively becoming by using the company’s products:
“When a man invests in himself, he then has the power to invest in his family, his friends, his career, and his community. Amazingly, self-investment can start with a simple grooming routine and ultimately lead to a better world.”
It’s hard for a man not to feel inspired when reading their USP.
And we all know that inspired prospects become satisfied customers.
In a world of witty, larger-than-life unique selling propositions and slogans, Local Farm Box’s is a breath of fresh air.
It’s stunningly simple and yet, it’s as effective as a fan in summer heat.
Their USP emphasises all the right things:
They follow up by expressing how competitive their prices are, and what you could do with the produce; from veg salads to delicious broths.
Local Farm Box is a great unique selling proposition example as it manages to capture a wide audience of diverse people who only have one thing in common:
They want to eat healthy food.
Nerd Fitness caused quite a delight when they first appeared.
Regular fitness websites re usually full of trainers with more mass than Mt. Everest. They push people to go harder to the point of complete exhaustion, and the type of training isn’t exactly something a regular person could relate to.
And then came Nerd Fitness with their simple and cool USP:
You’re average but you want to stay fit without collapsing. We respect that, and we’ve got something for you.
Their unique selling proposition shows exactly what makes them stand out from the competition.
Patagonia was originally founded by climbers and surfers.
The founders were people deeply in touch with the nature, and like-minded people are still the brand’s best customers to this day.
However, the brand is also loved by people who want to emulate the spirit of the adventurers – even if they’re just going for a picnic in the park.
Their USP is a great one because it doesn’t only show the quality of their products, but the impact.
Being active and smelling nice isn’t easy.
Swago understands that.
They bring the benefits of their cologne applicator closer to their audience by showing how convenient it is.
Their USP has it all:
Men on the move can relate to their USP, and they’re immediately made aware of all the benefits.
It’s a win-win.
Mind mapping software can be extremely useful for teams that rely on creativity in any way.
This B2B unique selling proposition emphasises this benefit to the fullest.
In addition to saying what their product can be used for, MindJet also introduce social proof.
By mentioning that 83% of the Fortune 100 companies use their product, they’re automatically positioning themselves as the best option on the market.
And if the Fortune 100 are using it, who could say no?
Target’s USP (and slogan) is a great example of using pricing as a differentiator.
Target is extremely affordable, they stock anything and everything, and their American customers really do buy at their shops because they get a lot of value for money.
So why not show put that front and centre with their unique selling proposition?
When it comes to technology, there are two camps: people who love it and who want to know all about the intricacies behind it, and people who just want to get some work done.
Zapier wanted to reach more users (even those who aren’t as technologically proficient) so they made sure their USP was clear:
Their tool is easy, and it helps you automate work.
No further explanation needed.
Honey Copy’s USP is a great example of personal USP/branding.
The copywriter, Cole Schafer, entices his customers with quality.
While the rest of his brand is definitely well thought-out, nothing puts the entirety of the Honey Copy experience as well as his unique selling proposition.
In B2B, simplicity is key. Especially if your company is handling data and analytics.
Everyone wants to access the well of information their customers are giving them on the daily, but they don’t want to overcome obstacles to do it.
Agorapulse promises that the experience with their product won’t be a rocky road.
Instead, their USP promises that their tool is simple (convenience) and affordable (pricing).
And what else does a business owner need?
Speaking of B2B, the trick isn’t just in selling to your immediate prospects.
You have to help them sell to their prospects, as well.
Salesforce does just that with their unique selling proposition.
Their sales tool will help you grow your business by helping your customers succeed. It’s a whole formula for success within one simple line.
And it works like a charm.
Every customer loves feeling special.
Beyond the pricing, beyond the quality, and even beyond the convenience, we all just want to feel like someone’s keeping us in mind when they’re making their products.
Medium plays into that with their unique selling proposition.
They give their (potential) customers a taste of fame they could achieve through their platform.
They show them that their thoughts and words matter.
And that’s exactly what made them such a popular blogging platform.
Luggage is a purely practical thing, unless you’re asking people who are tired of mediocre luggage and mediocre travel experiences.
American Tourister, founded by the well-known luggage brand Samsonite, launched their brand with one mission in mind:
Quality, but without compromising fun and style.
And the quality as differentiator is clear from their unique selling proposition.
A software company, New Relic helps their customers create and launch software faster.
Because they know that they’re not ultimately pleasing their direct customers, but their customers’ customers.
And if you think that’s confusing, then it’s a good thing that New Relic aims to please.
HubSpot don’t use their USP as their slogan, but they certainly practice what they preach.
As one of the first companies that started using the inbound methodology and put customer success first, they want to help their customers do the same for their customers.
And all the while, they don’t see a reason to sacrifice customer satisfaction for growth.
This USP knows exactly who it’s speaking to, and it’s what makes it such a resounding success.
Finally, we’re going to finish our article with Project Central and the simplicity and aesthetics that can be found in their unique selling proposition.
We’ve grown accustomed to seeing beautiful, visual solutions for even the most complicated things, so don’t forget to make your USP convey the visuality of your product.
And since we live in an increasingly complex world, the more convenience you can offer your customers, the better.
That’s how you’ll develop your winning unique selling proposition.