We’re The Best

USP Blog - FnCSo many businesses do it. They sell themselves as being the best in their field. But what about when they really aren’t?

My family and I recently moved into a new home in a new suburb. Part of getting to know the new area is experiencing the local takeaways. So the other day we went to the local fish and chip shop. We thought it must be good since they had a huge banner out the front advertising “Voted Australia’s Best Fish ‘n’ Chips – 2010 – Award Winning Customer Service.” I’m not sure what happened in the last 5 years, but I would say they deserve an award for the world’s worst customer service. It almost felt like we were a burden to come into the shop and buy fish and chips. What’s more, Urbanspoon (a foodie review site) have numerous reviews claiming the exact same experience as ours. Sad for this small business, but like my husband says “I like to vote with my feet.”

Having a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) isn’t only necessary, but it should be believable, otherwise you’re better off not even having one. I think the weakest USP a business can adopt is the whole “We are the best” or “We’re better than you”. Yet the local fish and chip shop aren’t the only ones who have failed. So how do small businesses (that does not really have a unique product, like the local fish and chip shop) create a USP that people can believe? This might seem hard to do, but by taking a feature and making it seem unique, by being very specific about it, you create a USP. I really like how Iacobucci (2013) puts it “if you don’t have real differences and cannot see a way to create them, then create an image-based difference.”

Here are some examples I like:

  • M&Ms don’t advertise as having better quality USP Blog - BMWchocolate than other chocolates, but instead they pointed out how M&Ms “melt in your mouth, not in your hand.”
  • Avis is only No. 2 in rent-a-cars, so why choose them? “We try harder”
  • BMW don’t try to tell you they are the better luxury car to drive, they say they are “the ultimate driving machine”
  • Subway use two simple words, “Eat fresh”. They are cleverly telling us that it is the healthier fast food option, without telling us they are better than other fast foods.

USP Blog - M&Ms

From these examples, you can see that it is possible to create an image-based difference when it seems like you don’t have a USP. Without a strong USP, how can you confidently promote and sell your product? How can you convince people to buy from you and not your competitor?  The “We’re the best” message isn’t the way to go.  What are some good and bad USPs you can think of?

USP Blog - Subway USP Blog - Avis

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15 thoughts on “We’re The Best

  1. I agree with your article. I also found many small food business claims their products as the best and turned out to be the worst. You may need to look at how busy the store is before considering to try the foods. The busy-ness of the store will show whether what they’re claiming is genuine or not.

    USP is very important to make your product different with the others and create a specific targeted market. As you said, “Subway use two simple words, “Eat fresh”. They are cleverly telling us that it is the healthier fast food option, without telling us they are better than other fast foods.” Subway makes themselves different from the other fast food brand, e.g. KFC and McDonalds. Targeting healthier option for fast food customers.

    The other good USP that give you a clear understanding of your target market is Woolworth and Coles. They are a very close competitors for supermarket. Woolworths have USP “Fresh Food people” and Coles have “Save everyday”. At the end who wins the market share depends on what’s customer needs. Coles is winning over Woolworths because of their competitive market and people prefer to buy cheaper products.

    ESP (Emotional Selling Proposition) also plays important role together with USP in the Brand position in the market. This article gives good examples. They mentioned about Klenex uses both USP and ESP. In their marketing campaign they claim their product to be the softest tissue. They give the emotional feel to the customers that their products are soft through the images and words they have in the campaign – gentler, smoother and softer.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi

    This was a clever post because it really drills down into the heart of the marketing core. You really have to question what you view as “We’re the best” or award winner for the year today because whether these are true or false, they only used to boost market awareness and increase the market position. It’s really an outdated way of doing business today and I agree with the examples that you have provided, you need some “eat fresh” ways of doing things.
    I loved the open and honest adverts of the cheap frills budget car rental adverts or insurance once long ago.

    What is nice about the Avis car rentals that you have pointed out is that they are trying and to me that sounds like we’re just normal people, human error is possible, join us on our journey and let’s make this better for the future. We’ll try harder than our competitors. It’s a great USP and it goes against the “we’re the best” here is my 1 billion likes and awards to show it.

    The other point I wanted to make is that many organisations fail to communicate their USP because of useless or meaningless slogans.

    http://www.drypen.in/branding/what-is-unique-selling-proposition-how-brands-fail-to-communicate-it-through-meaningless-slogans.html

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that many businesses come up with a slogan they think is their USP. When actually it leaves consumers questioning and even “turned off” from buying their product. This happened to me with John West, their slogan ‘It’s the fish that John West reject that makes John West the best.’ has “turned me off” from buying John West. Slogans used poorly can be very damaging.

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  3. Another way of looking at small business marketing is shift the focus from USP to unique being proposition. UBP is essentially who you are and how well you deliver on your promise to the customer. If the fish and chip shop provides a quality product but terrible service, it cannot realistically expect people to believe its USP. Social media has put a large degree of marketing power back into the hands of the consumer. Yes you can vote wih your feet, but that is a vote of limited reach. Your comments on social media have far reaching implications for reputation and driving sales. No doubt the fish and chip shop is probably oblivious to this, however brands such as Avis, Subway and BMW are keenly aware. If your USP cannot be realistically delivered there is not a lot of point creating an image that promises one thing yet delivers another. As Marty Neumier says ‘your brand is not what you think it is, but what they think it is’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true Mik, and with the internet and social media increasing the power of consumers, a bad experience (like the one we encountered) can be damaging on how quickly it circulates the internet. I came across a few posts on facebook recently where teachers are wanting to teach their student about how quickly photos are circulated on the internet. This one in particular went “viral” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2515924/If-reading-click-LIKE-Teacher-warned-students-internet-dangers-online-note-goes-viral.html.

      So for this fish and chip shop, even if they had the best tasting hot chips on the planet, their service coloured the experience for us and through Urbanspoon, many others encountered the same. So small businesses should understand, with social media on the rise, word-of-mouth statistics should also increase, making it important to get their USP right.

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  4. I had a look at the different USP’s of Melbourne universities and reflected on these.

    Deakin – “reimagine the way your learn”. I find this a clever USP as creates the perception of possibilities and opportunities not confined to strict boundaries.

    Victoria University – “we’ll help you find your passion”. I am not convinced this is the best option, as it suggests students may be a little lost in their direction.

    Melbourne University – “World Class Post Grad Studies Only At Australia’s No. 1 Uni.” “World class” is more appealing to me as a potential student rather than the “we are the best approach.”

    Swinburne – “Students come first at Swinburne. Our courses are designed with your future in mind.” I am not convinced the first line is that successful – I find this a little obvious. The second line however is far more appealing, suggesting their courses lead to future success.

    RMIT – “World-Class People · Work-Relevant Education · Global Opportunities.” Each of these short statements are concise and convey an appealing proposition to potential students. “world class” suggests excellence without stating we are the best which I find clever. “global opportunities” indicates your qualifications will create international employment prospects.

    Monash – “We are a youthful organisation that believes in quality education and research.” The term “youthful” is interesting and may alienate older students. I don’t find this USP as appealing as others above.

    Latrobe – “Get real-world experience with a global perspective and have a positive impact on communities, businesses and organisations.” Whilst a bit longer than some of the other USP’s, this has a few key words that I find appealing – real world, global and positive impact. The broader impact on communities and organisations suggests a broader view than just an individual student.

    Which do you find most appealing as a current university student?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great idea to look at these uni USPs. I would agree with you about RMIT’s. The short, concise statements are appealing to me, especially the ‘Global Opportunities’ that tells me with a degree from RMIT, I can work anywhere in the world.

      Deakin also has ‘Worldy’ as part of their new logo design. I must admit, this may have influenced my reasons for doing my degree with Deakin and not other education providers that promised me the same degree in shorter time. Deakin appealed to me because not only did it offer the appeal of working anywhere in the world after completing my degree, but also the opportunity to travel overseas on short term programs to gain credit towards my degree. All this in one simple word.

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      • How universities market moving forward will be interesting should the federal government move forward with plans for deregulation of fees. I wonder if they will change their USPs to reflect price?

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  5. I am realizing more things through this article and comments. like how they positioning their brands with competitors and of course the marketing or targeting strategy is fulfilling its need. USP should be achievable by the corresponding business and sometimes it may end up in reducing it original values because of its attributes or the service provided. On my personal experience my seeing the cache words I get attracted to so many things, and even when I tried to consume, it really worth’s it. Consistency is really important on using the slogans and it is a good way of capturing market and say they are the best. I have seen the comments about different universities USP’s . Yes that’s true anyways everybody are trying to provide global education service.. and they need to differentiate only through past history scholars and the new innovation in their technologies to reach students. for that the entering platform might be the names they use…developing their(business or organization) own pride before others (consumers or customers) create it…

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  6. Porter advocates that finding a USP can often be established through determining what segments of the market you are not going to pursue or through finding a market where other competitors have overlooked.

    If we look at the rent a car market I can think of those small second hand vans that are rented by companies such as Wicked Campervans. They have chosen a market that others have overlooked they rent the vans at really low prices which is attractive to young budget conscious travelers and they will rent them to under 21 which other companies wont do. They are working on making money through volume.

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  7. The development of a USP comes as the last stage in the STP analysis. It seems to me that the fish and chip shop have done there STP better than they are given them credit for.

    Let’s take a step back from positioning and look at the targeting. In a targeting analysis one needs to pick the segment they are targeting. Part of this decision process is dependent on profitability, you have to be able to make money from that segment.

    Profitability is a function of:

    Total population – The total population of the greater suburban area
    Awareness – How many people know our shop is there
    Willingness – How many of those people want to buy fish and chips
    Market Share – How much choice do they have to satisfy there want somewhere else

    The analysis then in reverse order

    We are the only ones (i am assuming this based on the way the article is written)
    People will want fish and chips based on many aspects. Most of which are not in our control.
    People need to know about us so we need to be big, bold and catchy
    To satisfy the entire population

    The result of the market analysis. We cannot control peoples willingness to try fish and chips but we are the only company in this market. We must therefore focus on making people aware that we are around. The best way to do this is with a strong in your face message such as “Voted Australia’s Best Fish ‘n’ Chips – 2010 – Award Winning Customer Service.”

    Truthfully they could probably write “We believe in rainbow unicorns”, it should have the same affect.

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