Unique selling proposition
The Unique Selling Proposition (also Unique Selling Point or USP) is a marketing concept that was first proposed as a theory to explain a pattern among successful advertising campaigns of the early 1940s. It states that such campaigns made unique propositions to the customer and that this convinced them to switch brands. The term was invented by Rosser Reeves of Ted Bates & Company. Today the term is used in other fields or just casually to refer to any aspect of an object that differentiates it from similar objects.
A number of businesses currently use USPs as a basis for their marketing campaigns
In Reality in Advertising (Reeves 1961, pp. 46–48) Reeves laments that the U.S.P. is widely misunderstood and gives a precise definition in three parts:
- Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. Not just words, not just product puffery, not just show-window advertising. Each advertisement must say to each reader: “Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit.”
- The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique—either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising.
- The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions, i.e., pull over new customers to your product
Some good current examples of products with a clear USP are:
- Head & Shoulders: “You get rid of dandruff”
Some unique propositions that were pioneers when they were introduced:
- Domino’s Pizza: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less — or it’s free.”
- FedEx: “When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight”
- M&M’s: “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand”
- Wonder Bread: “Wonder Bread Helps Build Strong Bodies 12 Ways”