Unique Selling Proposition, not gimmick

Image Credit: darrenmonroe.com

I have come across many ads and campaigns that are catchy: catchy headlines, catchy layout, catchy images, etc. Yet, how many of these ads really SELL?

Luke Sullivan, probably the most renowned copywriter in his profession, said it takes more than a gimmick to sell your products. Indeed.

What differentiate a brilliant idea from a nonsense (really, doesn’t make SENSE at all) is the benefit that is communicated through the ads. Sullivan also wrote in Hey Whipple, Squeeze This that an effective brand is always paired with an adjective.

Yes, an adjective – something that you use to describe a product or service.

What comes to mind when we mention 7Eleven? Convenience. Wal-Mart? Low prices everyday. Ferrari? Fast. Volvo?

Yes, if you just said Safety, you’ve got it. This is known as USP (Unique Selling Proposition) – a strategy required by all brands in order to really sell their products. What your customers are buying isn’t really the product, they are buying a benefit, a promise. Volvo’s customers buy safety. Who cares if it is an American, European, or German car (tho you can’t deny that they have the smartest brains for engineering).

Understand what your targeted consumers need the most, then develop a strategic plan to push your products towards that direction. Colle+McVoy in Minneapolis introduced Caribou Coffee’s new hot breakfast sandwiches by making bus shelters looks like ovens—with actual heat coming from the coils. (Minnesotans are known to crave warmth more than most in wintertime.) – AdFreak.com featured ad campaign of the month.

Image credit: AdFreak.com

Now, think benefit. Stop making gimmicks that will only last for 30 seconds max. A gimmick will turn to be everyone’s laughter; a good strategy withstand the test of time.


About Jason Tham

Jason Tham is a PhD student at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. His research interests are digital pedagogy, connectivism and connected learning, computers and writing, and visual rhetoric.
This entry was posted in Advertising, Branding, Marketing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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