A discovery was made about the pine caterpillar. When several of them are arranged in a circle on a plate, they have the habit of fooling themselves endlessly. In a particular instance, a food was placed at the centre of the plate, but the caterpillars continued to follow themselves until they all died. Likewise, in business, we must understand that imitation may be our limitation. We must be willing to do things in a different way. Every product and service must have an area of excellence that makes it stand out from its competition. This gives it a competitive advantage.
In business, this quality is called a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). It is useful to be able to identify the one thing that your business does differently from others. To succeed in business, pursue your difference and not your similarities with other products and services. If you’re doing exactly what everybody else has been doing, you are not necessary. To be noticed you have to stand out. When you want to launch an advertising campaign, the main questions advertising experts will ask you are: “What do you want to be known for?” and “What do you do exceptionally well?” When you can identify the Unique Selling Proposition, it becomes easy to advertise.
The general public categorises people. People tend to think in general terms and it is your responsibility to separate yourself. The general thinking is that all men, women, or businesses are the same. For example, people believe that all insurance companies at the same. They are quick to collect your money but slow in settling claims. Therefore, if you are an insurance company have to separate yourself.
Also, in every category or line of business, people tend to remember clearly the first or second brand in their field of business. The companies that perform best are either those who claim to be the first or to be the leader, not necessarily the best. For example, Coca-Cola is the first in the cola market. Eventually, it became the brand that is associated with that line of business. The same goes for Rank Xerox, the company that invented the photocopier. Rank Xerox has maintained a leading name in that market to the extent that some people who want to photocopy their document sometimes say that they want to say “Xerox” it.
This does not, however, mean that you cannot provide products or services that are already in the market. It means that you should find a unique and new way of doing the same old business. Let your name be identified with the unique quality of the product or service you render. Although there are many car manufacturers, each manufacturer has a unique feature. For Mercedes, the slogan is “engineering at its best.” Volvo’s is “safety.” It does not really mean that Volvo cars are the safest but they hang onto that word and safety is known to be Volvo’s watchword. It is its Unique Selling Proposition. Therefore, anything Volvo does emphasises the safety aspect. Other cars have duplicated many of the safety measures put in the Volvo vehicles. For example, Volvo designed the steering rod in such a way that when the cars collide with something forceful, the steering will break in the middle and sink in so that it does not cause any injury to the driver. Other car manufacturers have adopted that technology too. But they do not use safety as a Unique Selling Proposition.
A more local example is Guaranty Trust Bank. The USP is “service guaranteed.” They took advantage of an area in which the old generation banks defaulted. They could not have made it by just saying that they’re the best bank especially when there had been other banks like the First Bank that has the lion’s share of the market in the banking industry.
There is a man by name Tom Monaghan in the United States of America worth mentioning. He built a shed very close to the campus and decided to sell pizza. It is useful to mention that some other restaurants already in the pizza business as well. He, however, started a home delivery service for the pizza he made. His slogan was, “You order a pizza and I delivered to your hostel in thirty minutes.” That is how Domino’s Pizza started and Monaghan became a millionaire in the process. The phrase he captured was “speedy delivery.”
What do you want to be known for? What is your USP? What is that quality that gives you a competitive advantage? Then minor things will change your customer tastes and preferences may change. Therefore, your Unique Selling Proposition may change along the line. However, ensure to find out what is that makes you different from everyone else and pursue it.
You will succeed!