Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Positioning Your Brand - Part 1

Why should a prospect choose you or your business over any and every other option that’s available to them, including doing nothing? See, the reality is, if you can’t answer that question, then it’s time to go back to the basics and start all over again. You have to be able to answer the question about why a prospect should choose you over any other option, over any other options that they have, including doing nothing. This is known as your unique selling proposition or USP. Some places call it the extra value proposition, or even the competitive advantage.

But, regardless of the name you call it, you must have an answer for that all important question – what’s your USP? I hear the absolutely worst and weakest USP’s when I talk with owners. They say “I’ve been in business X number of years,” or “I have the lowest price guarantee,” or “we sell everything,” or even (the best one yet) “satisfaction guaranteed.”

Get real. Those things don’t resonate with the market place. All the customers hear is ‘blah, blah, blah’ because every business can say the exact same thing. Those things do not connect with your specific type of customer.  

How Do Other Companies Do It?

One of the best unique selling propositions, or USP’s that really sells is Fed-Ex. “When it absolutely, positively has to be there the next day.” Think about that for a second. We knew that when we used Fed-Ex if it had to be there tomorrow, it would be. No other carrier could do that..at the time.  

“Delivery in 30 minutes or it’s free.” That was a very powerful USP from Domino’s. If you were hungry and there were three pizzerias in your neighborhood, you were going to order from the one that could deliver quickly.

And what about ReMax? They guarantee that “they’ll sell your house in 90 days or they’ll sell it for free.” So, if you’re a home owner and you need to move quickly due to a job change, let’s say, then you needed to sell your home quickly. ReMax guaranteed that they would sell your home in 90 days or you wouldn’t have to pay a commission. It’s worth it to use them if you can save a few bucks.

These are some examples of USP’s that really sell. See, that Unique Selling Proposition that connects with your market place can make a huge difference. Plus, after so many years, you still remember their tag lines!

So what do all those USP’s have in common? Well, they’re in industries and businesses that are high in competition. So don’t give me the excuse that “your industry is too competitive.” I’ve just given you examples of companies that are high competition industries and they took USP’s that speak to their target market. In fact, most target a niche within a niche. So, with the example of Domino’s, not everyone likes the taste of Domino’s pizza. But if you need a quick pizza and you need it right away, you know you have to choose Domino’s.

When choosing Fed-Ex as a customer, you may not agree with Fed- Ex’s pricing, but because you need your documents delivered to a destination the next day, you choose them.

Here’s a fact: these companies sell regular boring products or services. If they did it, so can you. But, you have to take the time to put it together. So, what I am going to reveal to you is five proven USP’s strategies that you can use in your business, without lowering your prices. The other thing that these example companies also have in common is that most of them charge a premium.

They are not the lowest price leaders in their niches. They charge a premium. So, while there may have been many pizza restaurants who charged less at that point in time that Domino’s, those other restaurants would not guarantee delivery in 30 minutes or less.

Getting Customers To Happily Pay Your Higher Prices

Here are USP’s strategies that you can use in your business to give you some ideas that you can implement without lowering your prices. After all, this marketing and business-building program is not about reducing your profits; it’s all about doubling and increasing your profits.

USP Strategy #1

The first USP strategy you could use is product packaging. You can have a unique product or package that your competition doesn’t have. An example of this would be the George Foreman Grill or products by Apple. The George Foreman Grill is just a little counter-top grill. There are others. But this one is unique because of its spokesperson. No other similar product has a spokesperson as well-known as George Foreman.

Today there are a lot of different brands of cell phones, PC’s and laptops available in the market place. But in comparison, Apple has done something extra special in the way they create their product. They’ve got the image, the marketing, and basically the whole package. 
This is usually the most difficult USP to create because you must have the ability to literally change the product or package. So, once again, this first USP strategy is about creating a unique product. So, if you don’t have the ability to create a product from the beginning, then this may not be the best USP option for you. However, you can put together several different products or get several different services.

Let’s say you’re a pharmacy. You could put together a ‘traveler’s kit’ which would be comprised of several different products from several different vendors. You could bundle it and sell it for a much higher price than the individual prices of each component.

USP Strategy #2

The second USP strategy can be based on something unique about the way the product is constructed or about the way it helps the customer. An example of this would be car repair shop, who walks every customer through a customized 32 point check-up.

This could easily be applied to various other industries such as real estate, mortgage brokers and loan officers. They could walk their clients through a 24 point check list of what they need to do before they buy a home. This can work for any service base business.

USP Strategy #3

The third strategy is based on the business owner’s personality, or persona, by putting a face on the advertising that connects with their target market. An example of this would be Flo with Progressive Insurance, the Affleck Duck, or the Geico Gecko. Or this could also incorporate local celebrities such as your local weatherman, local sport star, or local radio personality.

There have been many local business owners starring in their own television commercials. That’s a very powerful and effective strategy that has been proven to work.

In my opinion, every small business owner should be the face of their company. You want to make that person-to-person connection. It’s a much stronger bond, which is why Hollywood celebrities are paid so much more for providing entertainment. That should be the goal of each and every local business owner out there - you want your customers to feel as if they actually know you.  

USP Strategy #4

The fourth USP strategy is based on providing a very unique or high level of service. A good example of this is the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which offers a ‘whatever-whenever’ service that delivers exactly what it promises.

So, you have to come up with a way to offer a higher level of service and unique products that you can offer for premium pricing. Many business owners will argue with this, but think about it for a minute. If everyone was just concerned about buying the lowest price, then no one would ever buy a Mercedes, or a Lexus, or a Bentley. If customers are only concerned about the lowest price, then high-end retailers would go out of business.

But keep in mind that there is a market place for every price point. You just have to figure out how to create your high level, high premium product and high premium service for your premium price in your niche, in your industry, in your business.

For example, this could be a 24/7 or in-home level of service. For example, there are many people, who would never want to manage a rehab project. They would pay a premium in a higher level of pricing for the ability to have someone do it for them, and just send them a weekly report, or send them a daily update, etc. You have to begin to think along those lines. I believe every business owners should have a top, high level quality product or unique service that they offer for a higher price.

USP Strategy #5

The fifth USP strategy is based on a unique marketing strategy or technique. It’s doing a unique way of advertising. For example, Red Bull designed cars with a red can on top to drive around and give free samples to college students all across the world. It was a worldwide global campaign. That was a very unique way of marketing their company, and it worked very well.

There are dozens of ways to have unique messaging. Another example is zip cars, which are cars that you can rent for short trips, such as running errands for a couple of hours. However, their cars are traveling billboards for their business because every car has the zip car logo and website on it.

Using this strategy, it can separate you from the competitors in the mind of your market place. The goal is to find a unique marketing strategy or tactic that no one else is doing. So, for example, if everyone in your industry is only doing direct mail, maybe you can continue to do direct mail, but you may move into a new area where you’re doing video conferences or some creative type of online marketing.

You want to do something that going to be unique. If you’re doing what everyone else is doing, that’s not unique. So you want to look at your market and try to find an effective way that is different from what everyone else is doing.



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