Tips for Creating a Unique Value Proposition for your Business
In the early stages of launching a small business, there are many logistical tasks to complete, such as developing a website or creating business cards. Creating a unique value proposition (UVP) may not seem like a top priority item when your to-do list is a mile long, but its importance cannot be overstated.
A strong UVP (sometimes also referred to as a unique selling proposition) communicates exactly how your business differentiates itself from the competition. It describes how your solution solves a specific problem or pain point for your target audience, and highlights the key features of your brand that make it unique.
In short, your UVP will be a concise statement that summarizes exactly what your product or service is, how it works, why it’s important, and how it is better than the rest.
Once you’ve nailed your UVP, it will guide and shape so many aspects of your brand. From marketing plans to onboarding new staff, a UVP is the North Star by which all the moving parts of your business align. It’s what makes your brand stand out in a crowd. Read on for simple tips on how to create your own unique value proposition.
For your UVP to be meaningful and impactful, it needs to reflect the reality of what you know to be true about your product and who is or will be buying it. Start by determining exactly who your target audience is and identify their specific needs.
Do your research and discover everything you can about your audience. Ideally this should be reflective of your current customer demographics, but if you don’t have customers yet, study the characteristics of populations you think will be a good fit for your product.
Creating a user persona is an excellent way to put a name and a face (albeit fictitious) to your target customer based on real data. There are plenty of online resources that explain what is a user persona in more detail and even user persona templates you can use, but you’ll want to start by asking some key questions:
- How old is your target customer?
- What income bracket do they fit into?
- What are some of their goals and motivations?
- Where do they live?
- What do they do for work?
- What are some of their preferred brands or influencers?
- What social media channels do they use?
Give your persona a name and even a photo (stock images work well) to help bring them to life. Once complete, a comprehensive user persona will help inform many important decisions about your business. From price point to social media campaigns and, of course, your UVP, your choices need to make sense for your target customer.
For your value proposition to be truly unique, you need to be able to explain how your business is different from the rest. Once again, this comes down to research. Conducting a thorough market scan or a competitive matrix analysis will help you discover what else is out there and how you stand out.
Analyze your competitors by checking out their website, reviewing marketing materials, and scanning their activity on social media. Can you discern their UVP? What are they doing well? What are they missing? Taking stock of your competition will help you flesh out exactly what makes your business unique.
A lot of businesses claim to have the best product or customer service in their respective industry, so steer clear of non-specific or popular claims. To come up with a UVP that stands out, start listing the things your product or service has or does that others might not. Is your product faster or cheaper than the competition? What about your product makes it a must-have for your customers?
Once you have your list, cross off any pain-point solutions your product shares with the competition. Now you’ll have a few features that you plug into a UVP statement that show how your business differentiates itself from the competition.
The goal is to articulate why customers should choose your business over the competition in 10 words or less. Write down a few examples and get feedback from friends, family, and even a few of your best customers. Keep refining it until you have something that tells people exactly what your business stands for, how it stands out from the competition, and what your customer stands to gain by choosing your business. According to Julie Cottineau, former vice president of Virgin, the key to creating a successful UVP is making an impactful connection between your audience and your brand.
“It’s not about shouting louder. It’s about marketing smarter. Creating compelling messages that connect with customers, engage their hearts (not just their minds), and turn them into loyal brand ambassadors who will help you get the word out and build your brand,” explains Cottineau.
Once you’ve perfected your unique value proposition, display it prominently on your website and promotional materials. The process will take time and real work on your part, but it’s an immensely beneficial exercise that will give you so much more than a clever tagline. There’s real value in being able to articulate exactly what your brand is and why it matters.