Are You Using the Same Old Words To Describe Your Unique Value Proposition?

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On August 8, 2016

Are-You-Using-the-Same-Old-Words-To-Describe-Your-Unique-Value-Proposition?Most business experts will tell you that one of the essentials to having a high-growth company is to have a product or service that offers something nobody else offers. It’s what’s commonly referred to as a Unique Value Proposition (UVP).

If you don’t do that, you’re just delivering the same old stuff in a brand new container.

It’s a great concept. If you have something nobody else has, customers should beat a path to your door, right? There’s only one small hitch: What you have must truly be unique and it must deliver value.

And if you really want to make an impact and see explosive growth, what you’ve offering can’t be just a little different. It needs to be significantly different. It needs to be enough better that your market will be willing to give up what they’re currently using (even if they know it’s flawed) in order to try what you’re offering.

That’s why you need to be brutal when creating your business strategy. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own product or service and see minor improvements as something dramatic. You have to be ruthlessly honest in your evaluation of your products and services. Bring in outside experts who haven’t been drinking your in-house Kool-Aid. Get an unvarnished opinion from someone who really knows the market and your product.

Ah, but your challenge isn’t over, yet. If you are fortunate enough to have something that is truly unique, you still need to convince your market that it’s new, different, and will meet their needs. And that’s where some companies miss the boat. They have something that really is different and delivers value, but they talk about it using the same old tired industry buzzwords that everybody else uses.

That’s not going to get the job done. There’s a famous quote from Henry Ford that speaks well to the issue: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” While the Harvard Business Review is of the opinion that Mr. Ford never actually uttered those exact words, it’s still an important concept.

While Ford (allegedly) was talking about creating what people actually needed (as opposed to what they thought they wanted), imagine how things would have gone if Ford Motor Company (and others) had presented automobiles exclusively as “faster horses.”

Granted, the general population sometimes talked about “horseless carriages” and we still measure the size of car engines in terms of “Horsepower.” The auto industry however, talked about automobiles. It was something new and they discussed this new phenomenon in terms of what it did for the consumer. While we still talk about cars (carriages?) what the auto industry sold was hereto unheard of mobility.

That’s something they got right. It’s tempting to talk about innovations within your company in terms that the rest of the industry uses and understands. If you want to stand out, however, talk about the benefit (not features) your product or services bring to the people who will use it.

When you’re mapping out your business strategy, it’s important to focus on your Unique Value Proposition. But it’s also important to begin thinking about how you’re going to explain that UVP to your market. Using the same old words to describe something new won’t get you where you want to go.