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Is the USP dead?

Differentiation, USP, think different, storytelling

I’ve talked before about the USP, and in some environments it’s still very powerful.

But in the consumer savvy world we now live in, and yes, that applies just as much to the B2B world, as B2C, have we become just a bit too cynical?

After all, when you line up a load of law firms side by side, exactly how do you tell one from another?

Don’t they all do what it says on the tin?

And don’t they all trot out the same cliched messages about putting clients first, great service, blah, blah, blah?

And, for the record, this isn’t a pop at lawyers – it could apply to any number of companies in a variety of sectors, although professional services is an area that really struggles with this.

So, if the USP doesn’t apply – because there isn’t one, just how do you differentiate your business from your competitors?

Sure, you could focus on the outcomes you provide…

You keep your clients out of jail, you save them money in fines, you protect their business (yes, we’re keeping with the law firm example for now!).

But actually, after a while, doesn’t that also become a bit cliched, because all the law firms start saying that too?

So, what’s the alternative?

I think the alternative is to start to think differently so you really can differentiate.

Explore the world of storytelling, starting with the company. And before you laugh that idea off as not worthy of a serious law firm, think again.

Some of the biggest tech companies in the world have achieved great success with stories – they’ve stepped away from telling you what the widgets under the bonnet do, and started sharing the stories behind the brand. And the customer stories too.

Suddenly the world loves a company who cares. We champion those businesses who have a heart and soul, and a great story to tell.

But we also love it when a business does something different. And yes, senior partner in your law firm, that does mean your company too.

Looking for an example?

Berlin Leighton Paisner have just won a Marketing New Thinking Award for Outstanding Team for their innovative take on delivering legal advice. One of their ideas was to turn legal cases into infographics – simplifying complex legal issues with visuals. They added red traffic lights as warnings for things to avoid, and produced clear and helpful timelines for their clients.

Don’t get me wrong – their website looks pretty dry, so they still have a way to go, in my opinion. But they dared to think differently. And that’s the key.

Think about what your clients struggle with. In fact, what you struggle with getting across to your clients so they buy into what you are saying.

Think differently. Dare to try something new. Be different.

Is the USP dead? It just might be…

Nicky

Nicky

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Nicky

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