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Communicating your Unique Proposition; Ringing the Bell Curve.

This is a bell curve.

Bell

It’s used a lot in statistics, engineering and sociology. As it is, it’s pretty useless.

What makes it useful is what you put along the side and bottom axes. Along the bottom line, you might put the things that your business does on a daily basis.

Bell_Thing_Axis

You can assign an arbitrary scale to it as well, the scale might be from stuff we do really well to stuff that we’re not so good at or really bad at.

When I say really bad, I’m not trying to imply that we set out to do things less than brilliantly, but it is always the case that there are somethings that we excel at and others that, well, we’re a bit sucky at. We’ll come back to that.

Along the side, with a bit of work you can work out who else amongst your competition is doing the same things.

Bell_People_Axis

When I ask a lot of businesses what their USP is, amongst other things, I get told that it is excellent customer services. The trouble is that if everyone’s USP is excellent customer services then we need to put that as either ‘Thing 3’ or ‘Thing 4’, (because a higher percentage of people are doing it than the other things in your list). If this is so, it isn’t really a unique selling point.

That’s not to say that excellent customer services shouldn’t be a thing. It should, but it’s a hygiene factor; the absence of which will actively deter people from engaging in repeat business with you. So it should be a thing, it should be ‘Thing 3’ or ‘Thing 4’ on your graph. I just wouldn’t recommend that you lead your marketing message with it. Unless your competition is really bad at it, which, let’s face it, these days, they probably aren’t.

The real trick is to identify those things that you’re really good at, that no-one else is doing. Back to the graph.

Bell_Good_At

That worked out well, with a bit of research it turns out that the things that you’re really good at aren’t the things that your competition is doing a lot of. Happy days.

Except life just isn’t that easy, it’s likely to look a lot more like this.

Bell_real_life

The stuff that we do pretty well is the same stuff that everyone else is doing. So, when your customers are choosing a provider for their solution, the conversation is going to spiral into a price comparison pretty quickly.

So how do you get to that stage?

  • Measure – Identify the landscape in which you operate and benchmark your competition as well as your customer’s needs. Have a good hard look at what you are doing. The stuff you suck at, as well as the good stuff.
  • Understand – Identify where your gaps are and, being brutally honest from the top down, get to know every aspect of the operation.
  • Control – Everything stems from your internal ways of working, setting benchmarks and reporting against these is going to have a positive impact on the things that you do on a daily basis. Your internal processes dictate the customer experience at every turn.
  • Improve – If neither you nor the competition are providing the complete solutions or services that the customers are demanding, then you have the opportunity to develop that, starting with your own teams.

And finally, this needs to be communicated and sold in such a way that the customer understands the premium service or solution that they are getting. The customer is willing to pay for a premium service, something that few other people can provide as well as you do. The trick is to identify it, develop it and teach the customer the value of it. If no one else is doing it as well as you, why not lead your communications strategy with that?

Bell_Good_At