What is a Unique Value Proposition? I’m glad you asked. Having recently spent about thirty hours online researching them, I feel I’m probably as qualified as anyone to answer this question for you.
Before I give you my answer, I will tell you that my research showed two things:
- Asked fifty different experts about a UVP, and you’ll get fifty different answers. Mine’s no different or better, I suppose, so you should take that with a grain of salt… except to say that mine is well-researched and deeply rooted in common sense.
- And this may surprise, but do you know what the difference is between the following:
- a unique value proposition
- a unique selling proposition
- a statement of values
- a statement of principles
- a credo
- a mission statement
Nothing. Really. Go spend thirty hours researching them and see for yourself.
And there’s nothing so much problematic about the first five, but the sixth causes lots of good, smart people to roll their eyes.
We’ve grown to hate mission statements… at least that’s what modern conventional wisdom seems to indicate.
But I disagree slightly.
I want to amend that to say we don’t hate mission statements, but rather we hate bad mission statements.
We hate cliche-filled, rainbow-unicorny mission statements. We hate mission statements for software companies that could be swapped with missions statements for cancer centers because they’re both filled with such ambiguous language that they mean nothing that matters to anyone.
There’s a formula, too, to building one of these.
Who. How. Why.
- Who’s our customer?
- How do we serve them?
- Why should they choose us?
Really – go google your favorite company – or your competitor and find their mission statement on their website. I promise you if you do this with more than ten companies, you can create your own Mission Statement MadLibs because they’re all virtually following that same template.
You know why they’re all the same? It’s one of two reasons.
- They hired a marketing firm to invent a mission statement for them, when a mission statement or unique value proposition can’t be invented. It already exists based upon the values and actions of the company and how it treats its employees and customers.
- The executive team (possibly with help from the marketing department) looked up mission statements on the internet and picked one they liked and then tried to edit it to fit who they thought they wanted to be in the eyes of customers.
You know what’s missing?
- The real “why” – that passion behind what makes the employees of a company get out of bed to do what they do.
- The employees didn’t create it. Mission statements, UVPs, USPs have to be owned by a company’s employees… but too often, they have it told to them like some other company policy or procedure.
To matter, a statement like this has to be uncovered by your entire team, and it has to come from a place of sincere, specific truth. It has to reflect who you really are… not who you think you should be.
So what is a UVP? And why does it matter?
Imagine flying a flag on a big honkin’ flag pole around which the tribe of people who think you’re awesome can gather, hold hands, and sing or pray or dance or celebrate you. What’s on that flag? What unique in your DNA that you’re already doing that’s causing people do business with you or watch your videos or read your books? It’s already inside the actions and words you’re using. It’s embedded in the awesome that is you.
And in this Age of Rapid Distraction, we’re drawn to singular truth like moths to a flame. We’re a culture in search of connection, and if you correctly decode the strands of your unique value proposition, you’ll raise your flag high and shine a light upon it so bright that your tribe will come from near and far to join you.
Our team has come up with a series of exercises to help your team do just that.
I wrote it up for my next book, and I turned it into a presentation that I’ve delivered a few times with delightful results.