Your brand needs a unique selling proposition or a unique selling point. This is a differentiator and helps you to establish a powerful brand. In this movie we explore how to define your USP and several steps to help you evaluate your differentiation. A brand needs to have a unique selling proposition in order to standout from the competition.
- I live in Santa Barbara. It's a small town along the coast of California, but if you search for a coffee shop here you'd think you were in a big city like Los Angeles with the number of results you'll find. We have a staggering amount of coffee shops, most within walking distance of several others. So how is it possible that all of these coffee shops are successful? And how is it possible that more are even opening up? Well, they narrowed their focus and catered to a specific slice of customers that fit their brand. We have coffee that's freshly roasted, a shop that caters to bicyclists, others being innovative with their food offerings, some focusing on convenience or community, and others on innovation.
In essence, they differentiated. They took a very broad category, coffee, and contracted it to make it their own. They went on to establish a brand that resonates with a specific crowd, and that crowd sees that coffee shop as theirs. They belong. Each individual coffee shop established their unique selling proposition. Take a step back with me and let's see just how powerful differentiation is. Keeping on the theme of coffee, we can trace this movement within coffee in the United States back to Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks.
In the early 80s he took a trip to Italy and was impressed by the coffee house tradition. You see, at that time, coffee was an afterthought. The typical coffee shop was a convenience store, a bakery, a deli, or the donut shop. At scale, coffee wasn't really all that special, but Schultz saw an opportunity to differentiate. He wanted to build a place for specialized coffee, conversation, and a sense of community, and his answer was Starbucks. Now consider that the company did almost no marketing in their first 30 years.
They grew because the brand was powerful. It was an experience. Starbucks convinced people to pay big money for coffee because they focused on every detail, the shops, the packages, the cups, the smells, and even the experience of placing an order. It was something you just couldn't get anywhere else. Starbucks created a significant differentiation. It moved the coffee category into a different space and established the viability of focus. They changed the frame of reference. They built a new market and now niche shops like those here in Santa Barbara keep popping up with their own differentiations.
Fragmenting the market works if the slice you take is big enough to make your business viable. So now each new successful coffee shop has its own difference, each positioned heavily by their brand identity. The ones that disappear, well, they lacked brand. Your brand needs to demonstrate a difference. It must have that unique selling point. You may have the best coffee, but saying it and showing it are two completely different things. So how do we put this into practice? The first step of your branding process is to evaluate your differentiation.
To get there, start by answering the following questions. Who are you targeting? What goal does your target achieve by using you? What makes you really unique? Invest time in filtering those answers down to being as narrow as you can. Don't be afraid of getting so narrow that you invent an entirely new category. The most useful aspect of branding is creating a new category, demonstrating a new way of thinking and taking pole position as a market leader.
Explore best practices for researching, developing, visualizing, and managing your brand, and learn about incorporating your brand throughout various customer touchpoints and keeping tabs on your brand as your company grows.
- Components of branding
- Creating a brand strategy
- Conducting a brand audit
- Crafting your vision statement and selling position
- Evaluating brand visuals, colors, and language
- Enhancing brand touchpoints
- Measuring brand loyalty and equity