I won’t beat around the bush: your unique value proposition is by far one of the most important aspects of your brand building efforts. It sets the tone for brand equity, loyalty and positioning. More than what you sell, it’s the reason you are in business.
When working with clients I always define the UVP first, before we get into the nuts and bolts of brand building. Without the UVP, you’re essentially driving a car with no final destination in mind. You can put miles on the odometer, wear down the tires and watch the GPS track your turns but without a final destination, your efforts to go anywhere are meaningless.
This week I’m sharing how we develop a unique value proposition (or BrandMantra as we call it here at BrandPsyche Strategies) and how you can build your own for brand success.
Beliefs Over Benefits
Ask any entrepreneur, CEO or start-up founder what their unique selling proposition (or USP) is and I’ll bet they can easily rattle it off faster than their thirty second elevator pitch. But ask them about their unique value proposition (or UVP) and I bet more than half will stare at you with a look of utter dumbfoundedness. Funny thing is, while a USP is the traditional ‘must-have’ of any business, I’ve found that leading with a UVP builds brands faster and with greater return on investment.
SO WHAT IS A UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION?
A UVP can be seen as a short, concise and alluring sentence defining the beliefs of the brand. It expresses not only the human values you, as a brand, uphold (such as love, independence or freedom) but also the human values your customers hold dear. It’s provocative at best, too vague at its worst.
In a nutshell, the UVP is what you stand for. It’s your unique calling card in a world of competitors. It’s what gets you out of bed in the morning and what sustains you when sales are slow.
“A unique value proposition is the cause, mission or foundation from which your brand is built.”
— STEPHANIE JIROCH
A UVP can be a tagline but often it’s not. A tagline usually refers to something to an action, while a UVP stands for something unseen.
For example, my brand tagline is “Building brands with soul.” It’s what I do for my clients. My UVP, on the other hand, is “The best brands make you believe.” My UVP expresses my deep love for brands that are built from something more than the bottom line. It reminds me that brands are truly magical, amazing things that can greatly transform a person’s existence. Most importantly, it’s how I want my clients feeling when they work with me: that their brand is something to believe in.
The beauty of a UVP is that it gives your brand a foundation to stand on. With so many small businesses and startups failing, creating a UVP positions your brand one step ahead of your competitors.
Building Your UVP With The BrandMantra Method
The UVP is one of the first aspects of a brand that I distinguish when working with clients. At BrandPsyche we call it the BrandMantra and for good reason: it is the statement you repeat to yourself when the times get tough or the going gets good. It’s the statement you ink on your office wall for inspiration. And it’s what builds a strong brand from the start.
“Customers must recognize that you stand for something.”
— HOWARD SCHULTZ, STARBUCKS
1 | START WITH BELIEF, NOT BENEFITS
Your unique selling proposition is all about your brand’s benefits. Your unique value proposition is all about your brand’s beliefs. What do you believe in? What do you stand for? What does your brand or company stand up against?
My favorite exercise is to take out a blank sheet of paper and write at the top, “I believe…” and start free writing whatever comes to mind. No thinking, just write whatever pops up. Later you can edit the list to highlight the three or four statements that resonate most with your brand or company.
2 | WRITE WITH EMOTION
The best brands are built on stories charged with emotion. When honing in on your brand’s core beliefs, you should feel deeply moved and inspired! If you don’t, dig deeper.
Consider this: your brand is the car, your UVP the engine. The fuel to get it going? Emotion. Fill the tank, start the engine and watch your brand move!
3 | CONNECT THE BELIEF WITH THE CUSTOMER
You’re emotionally fired up and your beliefs are on paper, now what? The next step is to connect them with your customer! If your ideal customers don’t resonate with what you stand for then sales will be slow, if at all. By incorporating your UVP into your brand story and strategy, you naturally attract like-minded individuals who have the potential to become paying customers.
4 | BE WILLING TO STAND-OUT
Beliefs are rooted. They reach deep within to draw out the most loyal, engaged and energized aspects of our human experience. But beliefs aren’t shy and they often help you stand-out, not blend in. When building a brand from the UVP, it’s important to remember that each day you will be living that belief into existence through each action your brand takes. Whether it’s on social media, a podcast, an interview or a video, what you do and why you do it will take center stage.
My best advice? Don’t back down! Stand in your beliefs and what your brand soar!
Need help building your BrandMantra? Send me a quick note with your greatest struggle and I’ll get back to you with how best to proceed.