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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Grysban

Be Different Or Die (Defining Your Business' Unique Value)

Small business strategy session defining usp unique selling proposition or uvp unique value proposition
Credit: Wix Media

We all know that infamous interview question.

"So why should we hire you?"

You take a deep breath and begin pointing out your skills, experience, and qualities that you think give you an advantage over the other candidates. Meanwhile, you hope none of their skills, experience, or qualities trump yours.

In a competitive environment, advantage is key. If you want to be noticed, you have to possess something worth noticing.

Now, if you're reading this, you're probably not a job seeker but rather a business owner or entrepreneur. The question then becomes: when you're competing with other businesses for the attention and loyalty of the public, how do you differentiate yourself and make your brand the obvious choice?

Benefits of Defining Your Unique Value Proposition

Creating a unique value proposition (UVP) for your business is crucial for standing out in the marketplace. Defining your business' unique value helps differentiate you from your competitors. Once you identify what makes your business unique, you also need to meaningfully communicate that value to potential customers. By doing so, you can create a competitive advantage that will help you attract loyal, happy customers.

How to Differentiate Yourself From Your Competitors

To define your unique value, you'll need to identify who your ideal customers are and what benefits your company provides for them. Once you have an understanding of your target audience and their needs, you can create a unique value proposition that emphasizes why they should choose your business. This could include highlighting your company's innovative features or services, a superior customer service model, or simply your steal-of-a-deal prices.

Ultimately, your unique value proposition should show customers why your business is better than your competitors and why they should choose you.

How to Identify Your Unique Value Proposition

So how do you define your unique value proposition? Let's dig into the steps that will help you create a memorable UVP.

Identify your target audience

The ultimate purpose of your unique value proposition is to attract the right people to do business with you. But who are the "right people?" Great question. Simply put, your ideal customers are those who stand to benefit the most from your product or service. Doing some serious research into who your target audience is will help you understand what is important to them.

Answer this question: What need are you meeting or problem are you solving?

Keep this in mind: benefits over features. Potential customers ultimately want to know how you will make their life better. Does your product or service help them connect with their kids? Plan for a financially sound future? Improve energy and vitality? Make adult friends easier?

Remember: prospects won't be floored by a list of fancy features or feel-good messaging unless it directly helps them meet a need or solve a problem.

Google your competitors

Observe what messaging they use, then make sure yours is different. The last thing you want is for your website, ads, or social media posts to look and sound like everyone else in your industry.

Note: you don't have to swing the pendulum to the opposite side in order to stand out. Stay true to what your company stands for and consistent with your brand voice. As long as it's clear what makes your company different, you don't need to completely reinvent the wheel.

Avoid the "quality, service, people" maxim

You know what I'm talking about. It seems like every service company website says something along the lines of, "Quality service provided by great people." Everybody uses it and it's old.

"But it's true!" you say.

Great! That might mean something to you, but it doesn't mean much to your customers. Because every other company is telling them the same thing. They don't need to know that you provide the same kind of service or guarantee as everyone else. They need to know how you are different.

David Avrin, in his essential book Visibility Marketing, doesn't beat around the bush. "It's a lot easier to describe something that is genuinely different in your business than to find a different way to describe things that are essentially the same."

Ask yourself, "What is the one thing our company does better than anyone else?" or "What is the one thing I offer that no one else does?" If you have a strong answer to one or both of those questions, you're on the right path.

Crafting Your Elevator Pitch

Once you've nailed down all the components of your UVP (target audience, problem/need, core benefits), the last part is summarizing all that information into a snazzy soundbite.

Note: this doesn't mean you're forever bound to use the exact soundbite you come up with. In fact, you shouldn't. What this "elevator pitch" does is distill your unique value proposition down to its essence, and provides an easy-to-remember rallying point for you and your employees. (And for those awkward networking events where you're asked, "So, what do you do?")

So let’s tackle this.

Keep your UVP soundbite at 1-2 sentences, and include the “who” (target audience), “what” (product or service), and “why” (core benefit/solution). This could take a variety of forms.

"We provide (what) so that (who) is able to (why)."

Or, "We help (who) to (why) by providing (what)."

Don't worry about getting it just right on the 1st, 2nd, or 12th try. Ask peers and colleagues for feedback on how it sounds and if it feels like an accurate representation of your brand. The beautiful thing is that as your company grows and shifts, your unique value proposition can and will grow with it.

Ready to stand out in your market?

You've got this. Identifying your unique value proposition takes a little thought and research, but it's a crucial part of positioning your brand to succeed in a competitive marketplace.


Avrin, D. (2016). Visibility Marketing. Weiser.

Krawczyk, Nicki. Comprehensive Copywriting Academy Foundations Course [Online course].

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