Defining your unique selling proposition for PR.

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16th September 2014

Defining your unique selling proposition for PR.

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In any modern-day business and especially in PR, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd. With the hundreds, if not thousands of other companies out there selling or offering similar products or services, these days companies have to answer the question of why people should buy from them, as opposed to someone else. In public relations, this can be especially important, as there are a multitude of other PR agencies jostling for the press and other influencers’ attention, leaving journalists asking why ‘you’ over any number of ‘them’. In PR, this challenge can be met in a number of ways, from great PR press releases to long-lasting media relations, however if you speak to any PR professional, they will tell you that the one thing that makes their job easier is working with a company or individual who not only has an interesting story to tell, but also offers a service or product that is different, unique and original. This is where a unique selling proposition or USP can really make a difference to your business.

In public relations, it would be amazing to work only with absolutely original and unique companies, however as much as this is every PR agency’s dream, it will always be just that; in today’s age there is very little that is completely unique. Instead, as PR professionals, what we need to do is find a way to make companies that operate in competitive markets stand out from their competitors. A USP is what can make these companies stand out and identifying and describing these things should be one of the first points of call for any PR agency.  A USP is not about competing over who is the best, it is about discovering what makes you different from the rest and opening an entirely new area in which to excel, basically stepping away from your competitors and selling or doing something that appears original and cutting edge, even though it is still the same product.

There is, however, unfortunately no set formula for determining a USP, it requires an analytical mind-set, a thorough knowledge of a business and its markets and a large degree of personality. Here are a few pointers:

  • Look to your company’s personality, if you have a quirky, honest or somewhat engaging side to your business, make it known. At the end of the day, people do business with people and if you can show that you and your business is nicer, more genuine or otherwise different to your competitors, people will rather do business with you. Find the personality in your business, whether it’s your CEO or your company as a whole, and profile this; just make sure that you can live up to your personality claims.
  • Don’t try to please everyone; tastes differ and if you spend your time trying to tailor your USP to the entire world, you will end up pleasing nobody. Accurately define your target market, their needs and their purchasing patterns and tailor your message to the most influential of these.
  • Explore the intersection of ideas; it may be that a large aspect of your business is completely unoriginal. Although this may be disheartening, there is still a large scope to differentiate your offering. Explore the areas in which your products or services overlap with others that may seem unrelated, find a connection and combine them into something different.
  • Specialise; if you are in a competitive environment where everyone is offering the same service, there is always room to offer specialised services. Tailor your service or products to a narrower target market within the whole and make sure that you are better than anyone else at servicing this niche.

As mentioned before, there is no set formula to creating the perfect USP. We hope that this article has shown you the value in creating one and offered you a few pointers on how to begin doing so. On a last note, we would like to add that it does not help to be original for originality’s sake, so ensure that your USP actually highlights something that is genuinely unique and lastly, make sure that it is defined clearly, because being confusing is not a unique quality.

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