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Your USP/value proposition


"We turn writers into authors"

An example of a beneficial and emotionally-led proposition from a small publisher


Your USP/value proposition is the single most saleable element of your product or service at that particular time, within that particular medium, when talking to a particular segment of your target audience (or niche) under the current circumstances. It's a statement that explains what benefits you provide to your market; the problems you solve, the needs you address, and why what your offer is distinctly better than the alternatives. It isn’t your slogan/tagline but often conveys the same message. Think of it as being like a consumer chat-up line; short, truthful and easy to back up.

It typically develops out of your competitive advantage.  It's often what differentiates you from the competition.  It's a key element of your message (typically developed into an impactful and engaging headline).

The best propositions are single-minded, benefit-led, surprising, thought-provoking, relevant and motivating.

For your prospective customers your proposition answers these questions:

  1. Why should I be interested?  Why should I choose you?  What value does it give me?  How do I benefit?
  2. Can you do something for me that nobody else can do?
  3. Or can you do something better than anyone else?


Here are a few examples of propositions:

  • Pinterest: A few (million) of your favourite things
  • Skype: Keeps the world talking for free. Share, message and call.
  • Spotify: Soundtrack for your life.
  • A small but successful publisher: ‘We turn writers into authors’
  • A restoration service for homes that have been flooded: ‘Like it never happened’
  • Guinness: ‘The ultimate experiences are worth waiting for’ 

Why the creative proposition is so important.

See the email value proposition.

Your proposition


Use answers to these questions to work out what your message/proposition is to this particular audience.

  1. What do you stand for?  What (ideally emotionally-led) benefits can you offer this audience?  Why should they take any notice of what you are saying?

  2. How can you fulfil their needs and/or solve their problems?

  3. What does this audience think about your product/brand? What do you want them to think?

  4. What is the key benefit to each specific target audience?  What is their primary need?

  5. What is your brand positioning and how does it impinge upon your proposition?

  6. What is the product offer?  The customer value?

  7. What is the message appeal? 

So what do you stand for?

If you don't stand for anything in the mind of your customers then you stand for nothing, and there is no particular reason to buy from you.

  1. What is your competitive advantage?

  2. What is your 'offer' to the customer?
    What is your product offer?

  3. What value can you deliver?

More guidance on creating your proposition

  1. Creating your USP - a simple approach

  2. Creating your USP - more detailed approach

  3. Where to look for propositions

  4. Tips on producing good propositions

  5. Quick questions to help you construct your USP/proposition

  6. The qualities of a good USP

  7. What is your value proposition?

  8. Is yours an emotional selling proposition (an ESP in preference to a USP)?

  9. Or do you have an irresistible offer?

What is the brand experience?

If you are using a USP then it must, in the shortest number of words, tell your target audience how you can solve their problem or fulfil their need.

And don't forget...

Your prospective customer is desperate not to make a mistake when buying from you. So an important part of your job is to educate, inform, nurture, guarantee and advise (without attempting to sell to them).

And by doing so you will establish your expertise...and everyone likes to buy from an expert.

Things are slightly different below-the-line.


Understand the importance of product and brand differentiation