Over the years I’ve worked with many companies who try to find that magic bullet, the unique selling proposition or USP that will differentiate them from their competition and shine a light on them in the marketplace for all to see.
It’s a myth.
Very few businesses are truly unique on any meaningful scale. The idea that every business has to be unique in some way or have something unique to sell in order to survive and be successful is just not true. Everyday businesses – small, medium and large – operate head-to-head, delivering pretty much identical products and services (I’m sure you can think or more than a few).
And while it is useful and necessary to clearly articulate the value of what you do, to add to that, the burden that it must also be unique from every other business, is perhaps a tad too much pressure for a humble message to shoulder.
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The result is an endless and extremely destructive cycle of manufactured differentiation that has been systematically undermining customer confidence for decades.
USPs that were originally used to capture the benefits of products for advertising purposes, too often today stretch the boundaries credibility. Too many manufacture differentiation and over hype benefits in an endless spiral of competitive one-up-man-ship that just undermines the credibility of the very organisation, product or service they are supposed to be selling.
So I want to float a different approach…
The authentic selling proposition – ASP.
Where USPs try to communicate differentiation, an authentic selling proposition doesn’t play that game, it demonstrates value by making a genuine promise that you know you can keep.
Authentic selling propositions represent the true and deliverable value of your organisation, products and services. They align message propositions with actual development, operational delivery and provable results and understand that getting the customer is only the first step – keeping them is what matters most.
So if you want to build brand strength, customer loyalty and long-term trust and reputation, think about your authentic selling proposition.
See you next week.
Michel Hogan is a Brand Advocate. Through her work with Brandology here in Australia and in the United States, she helps organisations recognise who they are and align that with what they do and say, to build more authentic and sustainable brands. She also publishes the Brand thought leadership blog – Brand Alignment.