Pat Ross "Unique Selling Points"


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These are the slides for Pat Ross's talk to the Sheffield Inventors' Group on Tuesday 8 July 2013. Pat is the managing director of the Sheffield brand consultancy, Genie Creative.

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Pat Ross "Unique Selling Points"

  1. 1. An introduction to the Unique Selling Point (USP) and a simple guide to finding yours
  2. 2. Presentation by Patrick Ross, Genie Creative Ltd My Experience:  Graduated in Visual Communications 1986  Started work as a studio junior 1986  27 years commercial experience in advertising/design and marketing  Last position (prior to setting up Genie Creative): Creative Account Director – working with DfES, DWP (Jobcentre Plus), UfI/learndirect as well as many private sector organisations  Set up Genie in 2006 – working with ventura/capita, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) UK Export Finance (UKEF) as well as several private sector clients and VOL COM/ Charities
  3. 3. So,I think it’s safe for me to say thatI have a wealth of experience in successfully marketing products and services through brand design, implementation and management. One of the cornerstones of marketing is The Unique Selling Point (USP) (By marketing, I mean the entire process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling the product or service).
  4. 4. What is a Unique Selling Point (USP)? A USP is your pre-defined “difference” (uniqueness). It sets you apart from your competitors and tells your customers what is special about you. It is a key reason why they do business with you rather your competitors.
  5. 5. What is a Unique Selling Point (USP)? The USP is a cornerstone of marketing and may also be referred to as: • unique selling proposition • unique marketing proposition, or • Point of Difference (POD) Whatever you want to call it, the fact is that differentiating your business can help you to reach your target market more easily.
  6. 6. Why do I need a USP? Unless you have a truly unique product or offering with a ready market then simply having a great product is not enough of a difference to make your business stand out. In a consumer driven world, having a great product is simply a pre-requisite, a starting point and at times irrelevant. An effective USP will make your business stand out from your competitors. Therefore customers will be easier to come by and will readily recommend your company because of their own positive experience.
  7. 7. Why do I need a USP? Without an effective USP - getting new customers to pay attention to you will be more difficult. Try looking at your business from a customers perspective… Why should they spend their hard earned money with you rather than one of your many competitors?
  8. 8. How to find your USP So, assuming you recognize the value of a USP, how do you define yours? There are several approaches you can take to determine your USP and your USP may even be a combination of things. In the end there’s no one right answer (the clue to this is in the “Unique” part).
  9. 9. How to find your USP Here are a few established and fairly simple ways to differentiate your business. There are of course many other and more complex techniques BUT, for a small business without an infinite amount of time (and marketing budget), these are a great starting point to help you focus.
  10. 10. 1) USE YOUR PERSONALITY If you’re running a very small business (like I do), then sometimes your personality alone can be a differentiator. Remember, your personality is not just work related nor is it social – it is the combination of you and your work/life experience and knowledge... and cannot be faked! So for this to work you’ll need an approachable personality. But by putting your “personal stamp” on key areas of your business, you create something no one can directly compete with (there is only one you, after all).
  11. 11. How This works for me Almost all the work we do is via recommendation and repeat business. Therefore it’s reasonable to assume that this is because the clients’ experience is a positive one and they are therefore happy to return and recommend us. Their experience is determined by:  My knowledge of the industry  My personality – what’s it like to do business with me?  The service they receive  The end result – are they happy and does it work?  The financials – was it good value for money?
  12. 12. How This works for me Over the years I came to realize that the things that irritated clients the most were rarely product related. More often than not they were service related – for example:  Unanswered emails/phone calls  Lack of accountability  Poor attention to detail  Lack of financial transparency
  13. 13. How This works for me When I set up Genie I was determined to ensure that every aspect of the customer experience was positive and I am directly involved in every stage – from the initial meeting to product delivery. Our clients know and rightly expect that we will always provide a high quality, cost-effective, on time solution even when timescales and/or budget are challenging.
  14. 14. How This works for me So the Genie USP is me – my clients depend and refer my skills, experience and ability to deliver. This USP is supported by the Genie strapline: The answer’s yes – now what’s the question?
  15. 15. 2) EXPLORE THE INTERSECTION OF IDEAS Interesting things happen at the intersection of ideas and plenty of ideas haven’t been combined before. For instance – mix collective buying power with the social web and you get Groupon. (over 81 million subscribers) So you need to think about what your business is about and what you could add to make it more interesting and unique. You don’t need to invent something new, just combine two things you already know about.
  16. 16. An Excellent example Some time ago, an architect named Mick Pearce accepted an intriguing challenge from Old Mutual, (an insurance and real estate company) to build an attractive, functioning office building that uses no air conditioning in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. This may, on the face of it, seem ridiculous. After all, Harare can get pretty hot. But Pearce, born in Zimbabwe, educated in South Africa, and trained as an architect in London, was up for the challenge. He achieved it by basing his architectural designs on how termites cool their tower-like mounds of mud and dirt.
  17. 17. What’s the connection? As it turns out, termites must keep the internal temperature of their mounds at a constant 87 degrees in order to grow an essential fungus. Not an easy job, as temperatures on the African plains can range from over 100 degrees during the day to less than 40 at night. Still, the insects manage to maintain the right temperature by ingeniously directing breezes at the base of the mound into chambers with cool, wet mud and then redirecting this cooled air to the peak. By constantly building new vents and closing old ones, they can regulate the temperature very precisely.
  18. 18. What’s the connection? Pearce's interests clearly extend beyond architecture. He also has a passion for understanding natural ecosystems, and suddenly those two fields intersected. Pearce teamed with mechanical engineers from the firm Ove Arup to bring this combination of concepts to fruition. The office complex, Eastgate, opened in 1996, and is the largest commercial/retail complex in Zimbabwe. It maintains a steady temperature of 73 to 77 degrees and uses less than 10 percent of the energy consumed by other buildings its size. In fact, Old Mutual immediately saved $3.5 million because it did not have to install an air conditioning plant.
  19. 19. Eastgate ultimately became a reference point for architects. Articles and books have been written about it, and the award- winning Pearce is credited as a groundbreaking innovator for launching a new field of architectural design that "copies the processes of nature.”
  20. 20. What enabled him to become such a leader? After all, he wasn’t a world-leading expert in architecture, and he certainly was not an expert in termite ecology. But he did not have to be. Instead, Pearce used his knowledge of one field and leveraged it with ideas and concepts from another, seemingly unrelated field. In other words, he stepped into the intersection between those two fields and struck gold.
  21. 21. We can all do this. In fact, in the fast-changing world that has emerged during the last couple of decades, finding such intersections is necessary for long-term survival. These intersections are the surest way for organizations to generate and execute groundbreaking ideas. The alternative is a predictable, spiraling route to oblivion.
  22. 22. 3) NARROW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE Here’s another technique that’s pretty easy to pull off. You can choose a narrow target audience who has never had a business like yours cater specifically to it. For example; design online marketing for dentists. Think about this from the customer’s standpoint. If you were a dentist and needed help with online marketing, wouldn’t you be inclined to choose the business that specializes in dentists? The other benefit of specializing in a narrow market segment is that promotion becomes much easier. You know where to find dentists together at conferences and where they hang out online, so you know how to target them.
  23. 23. 4) NARROW YOUR TOPIC Finally, you can also specialize narrowly in one particular aspect of your topic. Instead of being an auto mechanic, become an auto mechanic who specializes in electric vehicles.
  24. 24. When starting out, creating a USP might seem like you’ll be leaving out some potential customers. It’s a natural tendency to want to please everybody. But when you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing no one. The goal of your USP will be to connect more strongly with some people, and not so much with others. This is what you want because when you connect strongly with a smaller audience, your influence can spread much more quickly.
  25. 25. Promotion is Only a Small Part of Marketing Promotion is an important part of building a client base. But promotion alone can’t entirely make up for a poor product or the lack of a unique selling point. Building a successful business starts with your point of view. It begins with your thesis, how you see the world, how you care for and help your customers and extends through to your products, customer interactions and then finally to your promotion. Attracting customers isn’t something you “bolt on” at the end. It’s something you work on at every stage of your business and your unique selling point should be considered at the very start.
  26. 26. Branding, Design and Messaging Once you’ve developed a unique selling point, your job is to communicate it clearly and often. That’s the role of branding, design and messaging. A great name, tagline and design can really tie this whole concept of uniqueness together. And remember that the USP isn’t a one-time decision. You have to constantly remind people of what you stand for. Tell them in no uncertain terms on a regular basis why your business is different.
  27. 27. Be Unique, But Not For Its Own Sake Being unique is an important marketing strategy, but beware of being unique for its own sake. Being the only business who sells water skis in the desert makes you unique, but it doesn’t mean there’s a market for your product. Your unique selling point only works when you’re addressing some demand. It’s not necessarily about defining an entirely new market with unproven demand. Being unique also requires clarity. If the unique selling point you come up with takes someone minutes or hours to understand, it probably won’t be effective. Being clear is another essential aspect of building a successful brand.
  28. 28. Can you succeed without a USP? Yes, of course it’s possible to succeed without a great unique selling point. It’s possible, but definitely not as easy. And success without a good USP requires better product development and promotion, along with some outside factors (maybe a little luck). Sometimes there is so much demand in a market that multiple (virtually identical) businesses can succeed without working hard to differentiate themselves. In these cases, as long as you have a great product and a way to reach the market, you should be fine BUT having that winning USP will doubtlessly help.
  29. 29. Whatifyourbusinessdoesn’thavemuchofaUSP? So, you already have a business and maybe you’re thinking “Oh dear, I didn’t really think about this USP stuff before I started… What do I do now?” First of all, don’t do anything rash. You can refine your unique selling point without scrapping your entire business and still make a big difference. The important thing is that you now understand how to use uniqueness to your advantage.
  30. 30. And here’s a word of caution All of this can seem a little daunting at first. Plenty of people get hung up on the concept of the USP for weeks or months. But remember that research and planning with no action won’t get you anywhere. It’s better to start working on your idea and refine it as you go along than it is to get stuck contemplating the perfect USP without ever doing anything.
  31. 31. Why you? At the end of the day, the only reason you need a USP at all is to answer that question. Why you? Why should anyone buy your product or retain your services? What do you have to offer that makes it worth anyone’s time and/or money? It can be a painful question, but it doesn’t have to tie you in knots for weeks on end. Keep it simple, and keep moving forward. The strongest USP on earth won’t help you if you don’t back it up with all the other actions that create a successful business.
  32. 32. Credits Corbett Barr, owner of Think traffic Frans Johansson, CEO, The Medici Group Amanda Walker, marketing consultant at BusinessSmiths
  33. 33. Example: Bradfield Brewery We have been working with Bradfield Brewery for just over a year. Historically they had managed their marketing internally, however, such is their success that they realised they needed more professional marketing material to help them move onto the next level (selling into brewery chains/Witherspoons etc) They are based on a busy working farm in the Peak District within the picturesque village of Bradfield. They produce a range of distinctive cask conditioned real ales.
  34. 34. The USP = Traditional
  35. 35. From this…
  36. 36. … to this
  37. 37. Close