The importance of understanding your USP in business

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A USP, better known as a Unique Selling Proposition, is a common term that is frequently used in marketing speak. Known as the factor presented by a seller as the defining element in a product or service that sets it apart from competitors, a USP is an important aspect to consider when positioning a brand to a customer. Managing Executive of The Fish & Chip Co, Jan de Beer, believes that a good understanding of your USP is vital in ensuring the business stays ahead of its competitors. Here’s how.

There are a variety of factors that contribute to defining a USP. If the business is focused on a specific product, the USP could be based on the characteristics of the product, or perhaps its packaging and price. A service could be differentiated by price and its added benefits, for instance. These elements are then changed in a way that gives the business an upper hand over its competitors.

But what if you don’t know what your USP is? Where do you actually start to define what defines your brand? Here are a few steps to follow:

Conduct a SWOT analysis on your product/service

In order to gain a general overview of the larger concept, start by breaking up what you are offering, piece by piece. A SWOT analysis is ideal to determine where you are at in your offering. By delving deeply into what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are, you will have a clearer view on how your brand and its offering is actually competing. Analyse the strengths and opportunities as these will provide you with an insight into what your unique differentiating factors are, so that you can effectively leverage these to your advantage.

Step back into your customer’s shoes

In the quest to determine the USP of a brand, many owners tend to forget that the customer needs to be a starting point. It is after all the brand that fulfils the needs of the customer best that will win over their hearts too. To identify what will set you apart, start relooking at who your customer is and the actions which need to be taken in order for their expectations to be exceeded. Customers of The Fish & Chip Co, for instance, fall mainly within the lower LSM bracket. To these customers, demonstrating value for money is key, as they need to know that their hard earned money is utilised effectively. This is why the brand’s slogan, ‘Hot and A lot’ is one of their USPs – it comes down to offering the customer more food for less money. While many things change in the lives of consumers, we know that when we put ourselves in their shoes, that value for money, which does not compromise on quality, is what is important to them. Additionally we also try and add more value to their brand experiences by hosting frequent promotions and giveaways, such as the ‘Win a Car’ competition – which has shown phenomenal interest to date.

Now that you have a clearer idea of what it is that sets you apart, remember to continuously keep building on your offering. Customers will evolve with the times, which is why it is important to constantly relook at the way in which you are presenting your USP to them. While the basic needs will remain fairly unchanged, the manner in which these needs are met could be impacted by the times and trends in the industry.

Even within the franchising industry, which presents a fairly stable business environment with its established support system and reputation in place, a business owner will need to diversify what is being offered and ‘up’ their USP. In a competitive market such as the fast food industry, competition is especially rife. If brands are not positioning their offerings better than their next-door neighbour is, they will simply become irrelevant and a thing of the past.

Opinion piece shared by PR Worx.

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