The branding process is filled with popular concepts such as: unique selling propositions, mission statements, vision statements, value propositions, yada, yada and yada. These things are obviously of significance but its become frustrating, hell, even annoying, to think that company can genuinely be unique. There are thousands or millions – there has to be at least a million creative agencies, right? – of options available to buyers. How can one company claim they are unique, different from the other 999,999, and create an argument great enough that the buyer buys?
You’ll find concepts such as the unique selling proposition (USP) being sold to participants in brokerage based industries – realtors and financial advisors. Conventions will have 40,000 brokers in attendance and some guy on stage yelling, “You have to find your USP. It’s an idea that’s going to set you apart from all the other jokers in this room. What is your USP? Say YES!” The reality is, there just isn’t a lot of ways to differentiate yourself in a business like that. You’re either good at what you do or you’re not. You may get a novel idea that gives you an edge for a bit, but unless you’re so unique that none of the other jokers want to copy you, you’re not going to create a sustainable competitive advantage from that standpoint. Kind of depressing, huh?
But then we started thinking…
How many billions of people are there in this world? There might be some people that are bland or boring, but it is quite possible that everyone single one of these billions of people on the planet are in fact, unique in some fashion. Sure, we all eat and sleep and use the bathroom, but there are infinite ways we can express ourselves as humans and the same can be true for a company. Take a step back and think about it for a moment. – Seriously. Pause and think.
There are results you want to see from a product or service that are pretty much mandatory. We can call these “primary results.” If these primary results don’t occur then the experience is deficient and you are not going to choose to purchase again. Then there are results that simple enhance the experience, added bonuses if you will. They make the experience more enjoyable or more valuable, but they are not mandatory for success. It’s in this realm that people usually locate their USP. It’s in this realm that people find new ideas that set them apart. It is in this realm of secondary expression that a brand is born.