• Category:
  • Document type:
  • Level:
  • Page:
  • Words:

Unique Selling Proposition

Unique Selling Proposition

Significance of a Brand’s Unique Selling Proposition

In a crowded market place, with increased customer awareness and constant competition, a business needs to have a feature that is worth remembering – a distinct, unique benefit. A trait that will help the customer decide on a company’s product or service and not that of the competition. The concept of unique selling proposition (USP) rides on selling a benefit to the target customer, whether emotional or practical benefit. Situating a brand in a particular ‘place’ gives the customer the justification of buying a particular product because it belongs to a particular place (Dhamija, Agrawal & Kumar, 2011).

USP specifies to the customer the benefit they receive from buying a product, distinguishes a brand from its competitors and compels new customers to act. Every advertising, according advertising guru Reeves (1961), should tell the consumer which specific benefit they buy a product for. The proposition should be something that the competition does not or cannot offer (Shriner, 2016). It should also have the potential to attract new customers. For sales people having a proposition motivates them to sell more. Knowing that what your product or service is better than what competition offers gives you enthusiasm when introducing it to prospects (Shiner, 2016).

USP helps to appeal to the ideal customer, not all people. It is important to understand that a business can’t be everything to everyone. This has been challenged in that, it ostracizes new customers for brand loyalty. However, a brand thinking it could be the best in the industry could be too ambitious a presumption. Coming up with a proposition, a brand is able to find its unique personalities in a given industry. Companies confuse between being the best and being different, a brand stands out by doing something uniquely (Sims, 2004). Basically, USP will show a brand’s outstanding service, differentiation and competitive advantage.

Starbucks’ Proposition

Starbucks Coffee has been considered as one of the best examples of brand experience and customer loyalty. This has been attributed to its brand proposition “Our Barista Promise: love your beverage and let us know. We’ll always make it right” (Starbucks Corporation, 2015, p. 2). Passikoff (2014) calls it a great USP mostly because it is one that competition could do but it has not done. It uses the emotional benefit of loving your coffee, in an engaging way. Patel, (2015) says that Starbucks is one of the world’s most notable brand for brewing high quality beverages loved by the customers. Practically the customer feels responsible for the kind of coffee he is served. This positioning ensures that “no matter which Starbucks you go to, the experience and the brand are consistent all the way down to the trash can in the rest room.” (Morgan & Chavez, 2015, p. 54). Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ CEO, says that central to the company’s brand is the customer experience. The USP concept shows that a company sells more than a product. Schultz admits that the company sells more than coffee, he says that they sell a “feeling, an experience, a sense of community” (Villanueva, 2012, p. 47). Schultz adds that they sell the relationship of their customers with their cafeterias. The practical benefit of belonging to a community keeps their customers loyal.


Dhamija, S., Agrawal, A., & Kumar, A. (2011). Place Marketing — Creating a Unique Proposition. BVIMR Management Edge4(2), 95-99.

Morgan, D., & Chavez, A. (2015). How to Get a Handle on Your USP. SDM: Security Distributing & Marketing45(6), 54

Passikoff, R. (2014, April 16). Starbucks revives the unique selling proposition. Forbes, Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertpassikoff/2014/04/16/starbucks-revives-the-unique-selling-proposition/#13d8fd97b8b6

Patel, N. (2015, November 13). The ultimate method to creating a powerful unique selling proposition. Huffington Post. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/neil-patel/the-ultimate-method-to-creating-a-powerful-unique-selling-proposition_b_8236420.html

Reeves Rosser (1961) Reality in advertising, New York: Macgibbon and Kee.

Sims, M. (2004). Agency account handling. England: Cengage John.

Starbucks Corporation. (2015). Starbucks Corporation MarketLine Company Profile, 1-40

Shriner, M. (2016). The inside game and your unique selling proposition. Multilingual27(1), 58

Villanueva, J. (2012). The equity brand is defined by of the experience. IESE Insight, (12), 45-49