The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Honesty Is The USP …
June 5, 2012, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

For a long time, people have been saying the USP – or ‘unique selling proposition’ – is dead.

I’m one of those people.

Sure, there are the odd exceptions, but in the main, there’s such incredible parity between brands and products, that if any unique element is in existence, it’s either [1] unbelievably negligible [2] copied in an instant or [3] through the values of the brand rather than the features of the product.

OK, so that means that when done correctly, the value and benefit of a USP still exists – but with so many brands approaching things in terms of building down to a price, rather than up to a quality – it appears it’s rarer than hens teeth.

But does it have to be?

In my view, no … though the way to achieve it means letting go of your ego, which automatically means it’s an obstacle that few brands would be willing to do.

I’ve previously written about unplanned planning … where you embrace your audiences perception of the brand/product – good or bad – and use that as the foundation of your message.

As I said ages ago, the benefit of this approach is that you’re dealing with a perception that already exists in your audiences mind, so it’s easier to nudge them along or reframe their perspective than taking unbelievable amounts of time, effort and money to try and convince them to view things in a way they might never accept or believe.

Of course it’s not a new view – or a guarantee of success – however, in these days where planners are trying to push things into more and more ludicrous territories, maybe embracing the honesty of the situation is more of a pragmatic position than saying chewing gum is the stress ball for the mouth or something similar.

What the fuck am I going on about?

OK, you got me, all this is to simply justify using a picture a mate of mine sent me recently.

God I’m pathetic.

So to stop boring you any more, let’s get to it shall we?

A while back I wrote that Facebook’s demise might be inevitable.

While that situation looks far away, it hasn’t stopped companies from trying to launch similar platforms in a desperate bid to not get left behind.

While I do think that at some point in the future, younger generations will want a social platform that doesn’t have their brother/sister/father/mother/teacher/boss on it, maybe the way Google+ could start encouraging this transformation is by embracing their USP failure [depending on what data you use to justify that position] rather than trying to push a benefit few care about or want.

Maybe something like this:

Wow, all that post just so I could use that simple picture.

Wasn’t worth it, was it.



36 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Google+ is not the disaster you are making it out to be Robert. It’s no Facebook, there’s lots that need to be improved, but at least it’s not MySpace.

Comment by George

Actually I am unsure how well it is doing, I just felt compelled to stand up for it, for obvious reasons.

Comment by George

Is the reason to keep drawing your massive salary?

Comment by DH

the place of happy clappy has turned you into a corporate fucking toady.

Comment by andy@cynic

while i did the decent thing and took their large fucking cheque to keep my integrity intact. better, i bought a fucking rundown piece of shit in vanfuckingcouver so no one can try and blackmail my fucking silence. im no sell out. im fucking broke. but no sell out.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m proud of your integrity Andy.
I never ever thought I would write that.

Comment by Rob

MySpace added 4 million users in the last two months.

Comment by John

I still stand by my point John. I’m legally obliged to.

Comment by George

thats because a bunch of prepubescent musical twats think theyll meet timberlake on there. 4 million gullible twats isnt good for anyone. except advertisers.

fuck me, that screeching singer wanker is a fucking genius.

Comment by andy@cynic

That might explain why Rob is the only member of Queen’s social network,

Comment by DH

For the record, Queen are the biggest selling artists in the UK so if there was a Queen social network, I am sure I would not be the only person on it.


Comment by Rob

For everyone who said Rob wouldn’t be able to keep up the quality of yesterday’s post. You were right.

Comment by DH

But it’s not as bad as last Fridays post. That was disastrous.

Comment by DH

hardly took nostradamus to work that shit out.

Comment by andy@cynic

After 6 years – or however long I’ve been writing this rubbish – you should know that the chances of me maintaining a one-off standard are approximately nil.

You don’t need to be a planner to work that out.

Comment by Rob

On the contrary, I think your standard is remarkably consistent.

Comment by John

I like “stress ball of the mouth”.

Comment by DH

so did freddie fucking mercury.

Comment by andy@cynic

and i dont know why youre slagging off that term campbell because you told me it weeks ago and said how much you fucking loved it. of course you didnt come up with it, which explains everything. anyway its fucking good so dont use that to bitch out your point, theres a fuckload of examples you could use. just check mccants latest reel.

Comment by andy@cynic

OK … OK … you’re right. The ‘stress ball for the mouth’ came from Rodi and I did absolutely love it so I’ll go sit on the naughty step because I was a twat using that line because it’s about a trillion times better than a lot of the stuff many high-paid people come up with.

Comment by Rob


Comment by andy@cynic

I’m a massive advocate of unplanned planning, especially in an age where advertising is heading into either bland or meaningless areas. Accepting the (perceived) truth, good or bad, at least gives you a platform to work off that assures some level of recognition, the challenge is what you do with it.

I know you wrote this post to justify your Google+ “joke”, but the message you’re saying has real validity even if the example you’re using hasn’t. Despite being true.

Comment by Pete

i like this comment pete. why i dont fucking know, but i like it. time for a bottle of mr walkers best, i hate the feeling compliments give me.

Comment by andy@cynic

Review time Pete?

Comment by Rob

Who needs social media. I am social media.

Comment by Billy Whizz

what the fuck does that even mean? youre a social fucking nuisance, i know that and so do the boulder fucking police force.

Comment by andy@cynic

Unplanned planning. Only you could come up with that term Robert.

Comment by Lee Hill

I aim to please. Or at least make ridiculous terminology.

Comment by Rob

Google + Your parents aren’t here yet. No fucker is.

(sorry George)

Comment by Marcus

That’s uncensored, unplanning planning.

Comment by Rob

Just telling it how it is. Naked planning, etc.

Comment by Marcus

Put some clothes on planning.

Comment by DH

Actually, that is a little unfair. I should own up to the fact that I do quite like google+. It’s a shame google have made so many mistakes with it (the real name policy farce for example). I still use it from time to time too.

Comment by Marcus

Same with Google Wave. The idea was great – the way it ended being executed [and promoted] was terrible … as if the World hadn’t moved on from how they communicated gmail. Disappointing.

Comment by Rob

I just don’t think they really know what it is. If you meet someone from google they will tell you that “it is not facebook”. Sadly they can’t seem to tell us what it really is.

Comment by Marcus

George that was a perfect summation:
“Google+ is no Facebook, but at least it’s not MySpace.”

Great image, and I love the idea of unplanned planning. Particularly given the effort some brands go through to create detailed audience profile maps that are so narrow as to not possibly be accurate!

Comment by Rob Mortimer (Not a fake Andy)

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