UVP REPLACES USP
No, it’s not a typo. It’s V for Value, and this is the common denominator, the core promise of a brand. UVP – the Unique Value Proposition. And no, it’s not the same. The term UVP should, must and will replace the still familiar USP (Unique Selling Proposition). The words that you use reveal the way that you think. And if you use USP, it reveals that you simply treat the customer as someone to whom you sell something. Your relationship with the customer is just about money. You shouldn’t like it that way – and the customers will like it even less. Using the term UVP makes it perfectly clear that business is more than just money. Or at least: that your business is about more than just money. That you have a relationship with your customer, not just with his wallet.
Finding, following and building upon the UVP becomes the brand promise and the company’s basis for survival.
On how to find the UVP, we played a little mind game with Mercedes. Every form of innovation must rely to this core promise. A brand without an UVP is just a product. And as product, it is doomed to become a commodity.
MATCHING OUTSIDE-IN AND INSIDE-OUT
In business as usual, the vision for a company and its general mission are defined inside-out: We, the company people, decide who we are and what we’re doing here. But the UVP is an outside-in job. It must above all be relevant for the customer. Of course, the UVP should also differentiate the company from the competition, and it should also be comprehensible internally. But that’s not a first; it’s just a second. It’s an important second, no doubt: Your people are not the slaves of the customer, and they should not be forced to behave altruistically, so a match between outside value and inside needs is highly desirable. But the value for the customer is the basis for everything. If besides that there is still a need for a mission of the company – so let it be!
YOU MAY HAVE AN IDEA WHAT COULD GENERATE VALUE – BUT YOU DON’T DECIDE
The term UVP means that your brand, your product, creates value for their customers. We all have learned what that means for us: Values are based on customer needs, we have to bring benefits, and for this it is important to operationalise the added value in comprehensible rational and emotional benefits, which in turn are translated into concrete product and service characteristics and can be made measurable. Phew. After that long phrase, we should pause for a moment, take a breath and – start to relearn. Putting yourself in your customers shoes during a brand training is always a good idea, since the most important aspect shouldn’t be forgotten: The customer defines the added value. Maybe he doesn’t like the way we think; maybe he senses that we design our products and services catering less for his needs and more for ours. The customer decides. Not you.
MANY ROADS LEAD TO THE UVP
How do you find out what kind of values and/or benefits to offer? There’s not the one recommended technique for that kind of search. Successful companies often make a strong reference to the core customer experience when developing the basic benefits. Others are focusing more on functional utility: What existing pain could be relieved? What job should be done? It’s not too important which way you choose to find your UVP; that may depend on the management background or the company’s point of view. Important is, however, the contemporary customer view and that of a concrete customer benefit. Of course, in addition to deep customer insights, broad market knowledge and technology assessment are important. Everything else is a waste of time.