A unique selling proposition is a method by which companies are trying to stand out in the market to win the largest number of customers. Due to the unique offers, the company can win and retain a certain segment of consumers. In this paper, I will consider two original companies and a competitive company for each of them. It shows what unique characteristics can be used to attract buyers, how to position the product, and select the sales segment.
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The unique selling proposition should normally meet certain conditions. Advertising must contain a specific proposal for a buyer to describe the specific benefits of a particular type of goods. The proposal must be unique so that a competitor cannot do anything similar or copy the original version. The proposal must also be convincing enough to draw new consumers to purchase goods. According to CIM (2009), USP may be true if it emphasizes real differences of a product from the competitors, and false if it is not based on the real product uniqueness.
As a true USP, let us consider a company-car manufacturer and its rival, and, for example, a false USP, let us consider positioning companies producing shoes. Volvo Group is a Swedish concern producing world famous cars. Cars of the company are included in the lists of not only the most reliable but also the safest cars in the world. The company was founded in 1925, when the first passenger car was released, which was much inferior to the modern models.
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The company is positioning its cars as the most secure, thereby attracting new customers in the face of people who have family and children. In addition, the manufacturer says that these are very reliable cars and owners will not face various breakdowns too often. The main products of this segment are middle-aged people, mostly aged from 35 to 60 years. Volvo brand is not included in the top ten most expensive car brands in 2015, which means that people of moderate means can afford the car.
Since Volvo cars are designed mainly for couples, the manufacturer does not try too hard to award the car with lots of horsepowers, engine capacity, or excessive artsy design. Volvo cars are the most practical and economical. Other advantages of these machines are reasonable fuel consumption, classic design and versatile color that allow customers to use the machine for all the occasions and for each family member.
Car buyers are preferably male because the manufacturer, like many others in the advertising and positioning, try hard to impress men and awaken the desire to buy their goods. Obviously, the potential buyer is a family; man 35-55 years old, with children, middle or higher income, possibly living in the suburbs.
The second company with similar products, but a completely different positioning and unique selling proposition are Ferrari S.p.A. Since its establishment in 1929 and until 1947, the company produced only racing cars. In 1949, it started producing road vehicles, but the character and style of the company will retain the same. The company produces sports cars, which are very different from a modest family Volvo even at a first glance.
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Ferrari cars are very bright and attract customers not with their practicality, but rather with power and prestige. They are equipped with powerful engines that allow some models to reach a speed of 350 km/h. Typically, these machines have a daring sporty design and a bright red color. Such a machine is a likely indicator of status than a means of transportation.
A buyer of such a vehicle is a young, wealthy, bold and confident man, usually at the age of 25-40 years. Cars of this brand are often acquired for sporting fun or for the prestigious and expensive image. These vehicles are very expensive, to a greater extent because of the brand’s high cost. These cars are not very convenient for daily business trips. They are not very economical and are not suitable for a large number of passengers.
If vehicles of these brands actually have different characteristics, based on which producers make their unique selling proposition, sometimes products have exactly the same features and differ only in design and construction of manufacturer’s selling proposition.
For example, Converse and Vans are producing shoes for youth. A Converse company has a long history since 1907 when it was founded, and it has a huge experience in the production of various kinds of shoes. Since 1915, the company manufactures sports shoes, popular for tennis. Since 1917 and until now, the company produces shoes for basketball. During the Second World War, the company began producing shoes and clothing for the army; especially for American aircraft A-6 Flying Shoes were designed (Converse, n.d.). At the beginning of the 1950th, Converse sneakers have become a symbol for young rebels, which is still their symbol nowadays.
Of course, the target segment is the athletes who play tennis or basketball, as well as young people who are already using the legendary Converse All Star sneakers supplement their stylish and unusual way. The first group includes women and young people aged from 10 to 35 years who choose the shoes for quality and convenience. The second is teenagers 12-18 years, who prefer sports or freestyle of dress and want to look brighter, dynamic, and unusual and, above all, to attract attention. The converse is a brand that is not so much the specific characteristics. It is a symbol of a certain youth, bright style that pays off for many generations.
Vans is the manufacturer of footwear and apparel for the sport since the mid-60s of the twentieth century. The company is named after its founder Paul Van Doren. Van Doren started with the release of canvas shoes Slip-On and selling them at local stores, belonging to the company. A striking feature of the Vans shoes was that developer combined lightweight canvas upper with thick soles in the classical models. Later, it turned into a distinctive style element of Vans.
Slip-On was created in 1977 as lightweight sports shoes for surfing (Fiorentine, 2014). Slip-On became the most popular in 1982, after the release of the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High, in which the protagonist, surfer Spicoli (played by actor Sean Penn) used slip-On as the only shoe.
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Like Converse sneakers, Vans Slip-Ons became extremely popular among teenagers, particularly among representatives of different youth subcultures. Again, the main buyer is a teenager of 12-18 years old, bright and extraordinary personality, with a limited budget, but quite brisk. Therefore, footwear is inexpensive, convenient for long walks and, most importantly, with an interesting and daring design.
In conclusion, in order to create a true USP, it is necessary to highlight the distinctive feature of the product, to subordinate the entire advertising message, elaborate on this feature and possibly result in arguments in its favor. In the course of this work, a research was carried out, the purpose of which was to analyze the impact of a unique selling proposition of Volvo and Ferrari, as well as Converse and Vans shoes. The result of the study was the confirmation of the fact that all four brands really have a unique selling proposition, and positioning with USP encourages buying of each of the four brands.