Your unique value proposition or “UVP” is the new marketing MVP and calling card of your business. Think of it is as your three-second elevator pitch. This one-sentence mission statement should clearly set the tone for your brand positioning and prime prospective customers to learn more. We might even go so far as to say that it’s the single most important piece of content on your website.
Your unique value proposition answers at least one critical question for your customers, such as: what are you solving for them? How is your brand different from others? Or why should they be interested? Although every product marketing manager and production specialist on your team should be able to clearly explain your unique value proposition, brand positioning is first and foremost for your customers, so get painfully narrow on what makes your product different in their eyes.
To craft a unique value proposition that really shines, pick one of these four angles to build from.
EXPLAIN YOUR UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION:
If you’ve never thought about your UVP before, this is the perfect place to start. Find an elegant, clear way to state exactly what your product is about and get it in front of your prospects. For example, new pet-sitting startup DogVacay gets directly to the point. Their tag line, “Find a loving dog sitter. Search thousands of trusted, insured pet sitters near you,” explains what their product offers in under 12 words. This framing is especially useful if you have a complicated product because it forces you to get to the heart of why your product is valuable. Consider a more complex product such as Givling, a crowdfunded game site that gives players the chance to win money while paying off other peoples’ student loan debts. Recipients and donors don’t necessarily need to be players, so their brand positioning has the potential to become convoluted if the UVP isn’t crystal clear. Givling answers the fundamental “what” by leading with, “Play Trivia. End student debt. Win cash.” There is no question about what you can do on their site no matter who you are or why you’re visiting. In other words, a perfect UVP.
USE THE K.I.S.S. MODEL:
K.I.S.S.: Keep it simple, silly. Your unique value proposition doesn’t need to be elaborate to be effective. Some of the most poignant brand positioning statements are just a few words long. CrowdTunes, a digital jukebox, has an amazingly simple, yet powerful value proposition. They invite users to “roll in and rock out.” The pithy, straightforward call to action captures both the tone and appeal of the brand. HubSpot, similarly, doesn’t get into the nitty gritty. They promise to “grow your business,” and trust that this hook is enough to entice visitors to delve deeper into their world of inbound marketing support. As marketers, we sometimes get so excited about our products that we feel the need to explain every feature and benefit in our unique value proposition. Resist the temptation and boil your UVP down to the single most important thing your customers care about and lead with that. Short, sweet, and to the point.
THE EMOTIONAL APPEAL:
For brands that offer more elective – rather than utilitarian – products, consider making an emotional appeal. Think: luxury, lifestyle, and hospitality brands. Norwegian Cruise Line is an amazing testament to how this type of brand positioning can work. Each of their cruise offerings leads with a reminder of what it means to be a “Norwegian:” Norwegians know their Saints (for their island itineraries), Norwegians chase the sun (in Mexico), Norwegians shop like mavens (referencing their onboard promenades). Their unique value proposition allows customers to project themselves into the brand’s lifestyle and imagine themselves as an insider. Resort clothing line Lou & Gray takes a similar approach. They remind customers to “get out there, our clothes are just along for the ride.” In each of these instances, the customer’s emotional journey is at the center of the UVP rather than the product itself. This can be a powerful persuasive tool to boost the perceived value of more expensive products.
LEVERAGE SOCIAL PROOF:
On the flip side, pragmatic products such as insurance, security, or business tools, can benefit tremendously from social proof. Framing your unique value proposition around statistics adds credibility to your brand and helps position your product against the competition. Web conferencing software GoToMeeting’s UVP lets customers know that “millions of businesses rely on GoToMeeting.” While Nationwide Insurance boasts that “95% of members recommend Nationwide car insurance.” While neither of these statements necessarily explains what the product does (because prospects probably already know), they do answer critical customer questions about their brand differentiators and why the product is valuable. Social proof can augment UVP’s in mature markets or for products where customers are extremely price sensitive.
No matter how you choose to frame your UVP, the important thing is that your customers get something from your positioning statement. A good UVP can mean the difference between an engaged audience and blending in with the clutter, so take time to craft yours with care.
Contact us for more ideas on how to tease out your brand’s UVP.