What a Trip to the Zoo Can Teach Us About a Unique Selling Proposition


The Unique Selling Proposition, or USP –– it’s a notion that’s been around since the dawn of marketing. But what is the value of a good “USP”? Let’s have a little fun at the zoo as we think about this.

1) A good Unique Selling Proposition is unique.
A good unique selling proposition should be unique. As the name itself might suggest, a USP should focus on something singularly special about your brand. Think of the marketplace as a zoo. Each animal is unique. The leopard is nothing like the zebra. The alligator is nothing like the elephant. The giraffe is nothing like the rhino. Each animal is unique so there is no confusion. That’s what a USP should do for your brand.

2) A good Unique Selling Proposition is confining.
While a USP may be somewhat broad, it should never be open-ended. Think again of the zoo. Each animal inhabits a cage. Otherwise, the cheetah would have the penguin for dinner. Even if your brand has a wide array of disparate products, start by identifying what they have in common and let that be what drives your USP. Write a USP for your brand that’s confined. Otherwise, the competition may be having you for breakfast.

3) A good Unique Selling Proposition has sharp teeth.
Have you ever seen the inside of a lion’s mouth? A lot of very pointy teeth. A USP should be just as focused. Just as sharp. Avoid the mushy middle. Attempting to be all things to all people is a fool’s errand.

The Unique Selling Proposition — it’s a notion that’s been around since the dawn of marketing. But what is the value of a USP?
Scott Schindele, Account Director, Agency Creative

4) A good Unique Selling Proposition is imaginative.
Take a moment to imagine your ideal customer. Think peacock, not pigeon. Abercrombie & Fitch states that they are selling to the “cool, good-looking people.” A bit off-putting, to be sure. But it puts an incontrovertible stake in the ground.

5) A good USP is factual.
The lion can call himself the king of the jungle all day long. But the moment he’s captured and shipped to the Bronx Zoo, he is nobody’s king––just another inmate. Be sure your USP is factual. Don’t write checks your brand can’t cash. Or to extend the zoo metaphor, know what you are roaring about.

6) A good USP is measurable.
They say an elephant never forgets. Well, prove that claim in a court of law! Your USP should deal with the tangible. For example, elephants have very long trunks. You can even measure them. In this day and age, your brand must live by metrics. Your USP should focus on that which is measurable.

We hope our trip to the zoo has taught you a little something about USPs. If you need some help exploring what’s special about your brand, we are happy to lend a hand. Give us a ring at 972.488.1660.

We are a Dallas advertising agency with extensive expertise in branding.