Unique Value Proposition in communication with the users
What is the mythical Unique Value Proposition and how to get to know / work out your own? Why is the customer not just buying a service or a product? How to use your UVP in communications? In today’s article, you will find not just definitions, but also real examples of using the Unique Value Proposition.
Let’s start from the beginning. The Unique Value Proposition is a value you offer to the recipients of your product or service at various stages in the process of communication, developing the relationships or selling. To the surprise of many entrepreneurs, users/recipients don’t buy the product itself or even its functionality. Neither a low price nor the fact that you are (or you think you are) the only company offering a given service is your unique value proposition. The Unique Value Proposition is the value that your brand offers to the recipients, e.g. a sense of belonging to a specific social group (Apple products), a sense of femininity and higher self-esteem (the Risk Made in Warsaw brand), safety and stability (Volvo), style and luxury (S-class Mercedes) <of course these UVPs are simplified for the needs of this article>.
It is important not only that the UVP is valuable for the recipient, but also that it is unique. It means that the UVP should make you stand out from the competing and alternative solutions available on the market, as well as create a strong association with your brand. Why competing and alternative? Many people define the competition as a solution with exactly the same functionality and parameters as their solution. But the users, when choosing a product / service for themselves are guided by completely different parameters — first of all they select a solution for their problem/their needs. For example, a user whose phone broke can consider various solutions:
- a local phone repair service,
- replacing a specific part of the phone using auction websites or technology shops,
- concierge door-to-door services,
- new phone, etc.
All these solutions are alternatives or the competition for your service / product in that they solve the same problem. It’s worth taking that into account when developing your UVP.
Summing up, UVP very rarely refers to specific functionalities, but it usually refers to values, the benefits that the product provides the user with. It is worth ensuring that your UVP is unique not only within the narrowest competition, but generally within the market for services and products that solve the same problem as your solution. Let’s look at some examples.
Example: UVP in a product
Let’s see what UVP communication can look like for a banking product. Fintech — Revolut does it really well.
Product: alternative financial product — Revolut
Target group: As the company itself says: “We are here for people who do not intend to settle in one place and who look for better solutions and experiences in everything they do. “ The brand directs its product to people aged 25–35 from large cities who travel a lot, are dynamic, with an above average financial status, who are open to new products (e.g. invest in cryptocurrencies), who think about finances in a modern way.
Unique Value Proposition: Independence from large financial institutions, ease, speed and lack of restrictions on travelling, shopping and international transactions. Belonging to a group of innovators, modern nomads.
- “Account for your global lifestyle” (heading on the UK website)
- Revolut | Your Digital Banking Alternative (title in Google)
- “Our product is primarily aimed at young people with a global lifestyle, who travel a lot and thus need a product that will save them time on opening a bank account in every country where they study or work, as well as save them money on currency exchange rates or money transfers, giving them a full control over their expenses.”(interview at Antyweb)
When watching Revolut’s communication, you cannot not notice its consistency. Pretty much every piece of their communication refers to the UVP of their product. They also strongly emphasise the way they stand out from the competition. This consistency definitely pays off — after 2 years of operation, nearly million users worldwide use the solution, and some of the largest European investors have invested in the startup.
It’s also worth noticing that the company does not speak in the language of functionalities, technology or finances. They use the language of benefits, values and possibilities, which directly matches their users’ needs.
If we look closer at a similar service for teenagers — DOSH, the UVP here is completely different, and so is the communication (UVP: independence from parents, communication: using channels natural for teenagers, e.g. Messenger, youth language — phrases and words taken directly from teenage slang).
UVP of a service
Is the UVP concept different for restaurant services? No. Karakter, a restaurant in Kraków, shows that a well-defined UVP is a basis for creating a competitive advantage also when providing a service.
Service: restaurant services — Karakter restaurant
Target group: 30–40, with a mature palate, looking for something special and interesting on the Kraków restaurant map.
Unique Value Proposition: as the Karakter’s founder said in one of her interviews: ”We had had enough of places lacking character, of trying to suit every taste. That’s why we created Karakter”. Karakter’s UVP is made up of character, uniqueness, boldness and determination. The restaurant is also famous for its exceptionally meaty card, with no room for vegetarian dishes (e.g. ostrich stomachs, crow’s feet with harissa and cumin, or smoked lard cream).
- “Restaurant with character.” (Facebook description)
- “We wanted to create something different, new, unique — simply a place with character.” (interview in Lounge Magazyn)
- “We are looking for a bold, young person who wants to join our kitchen team as a young chef! To become one of the Karakter superheroes who bring joy to our guests, you don’t need loads of experience! It is important that you are creative, open to new challenges and can cope with a little bit of time pressure”(a fragment of a recruitment advertisement)
Karakter’s UVP communication immediately positions it as a more distinctive, bolder brand than its competitors. It focuses on one strong, distinctive feature (the bold meat-filled menu) which results in unquestionable popularity, constant for over a year (a big achievement in the very competitive Kraków restaurant market).
At the same time, if we look at the restaurant market in Kraków, we can notice that the brands there try to stand out only by the offered cuisine, decor, or an interesting location. Having such a strong distinguishing feature is rare — some highly specialized restaurants can boast one, e.g. “Rzeźnia — Ribs on Fire” (barbecue only, famous for ribs), ZaKładka Food&Wine (upmarket French cuisine) or Zazie Bistro (homely French cuisine). However, even in those cases, the communication of the UVP and its awareness is lower than for Karakter.
How to develop your UVP?
There are many tools that can help you to work out your Unique Value Proposition. One of them is the Business Model Canvas which, in combination with the Value Proposition Canvas allows you to consider and sort out the value you offer your customers. This work can be done with your team, but often we are attached to the established point of view (especially if we have been working on a given product / service for a long time), so it is sometimes helpful to find outside help or to take part in a workshop that deals with this topic.
The workshop choice on the market is quite broad, but unfortunately, quality doesn’t always follow quantity. That’s why it is worth choosing a brand that not only runs workshops, but also has a wealth of business and product experience.
It is also worth getting advice on your UVP using the mentoring sessions available under acceleration programs (e.g. Google Launchpad Start at Google Campus) or conferences (e.g. Product Development Days).
However, the most important “consultants” for your UVP will be your customers. Listen to their feedback, listening to what they say about your brand, why they choose your product and not the competition, why they work with you — and you will learn the most about your Unique Value Proposition.
Beata Mosór-Szyszka — CEO, Project: People, Google Marketing & Product Mentor. Lean marketer & strategist.
Project: People is the lean strategy agency. We don’t have an offer. We are working on problems and needs our customers have. We have an experience in variety of projects from different areas: product development, marketing, design & UX, HR, employer branding, management, etc.