What Is a Unique Selling Proposition and What Does It Matter? (Plus 5 Creative Examples)

A unique selling proposition (USP) is a positioning statement that explains why customers should buy from your business over the competition. It’s a clear and precise reason why your business is different and better.

The reason a unique selling proposition is so valuable is that it shows up across all of your marketing: from campaigns, to social, to web copy, a crisply defined USP ensures that your business’s unique value is communicated everywhere—consistently.

Customers are the foundation of a compelling unique value proposition, as you can’t call your USP “good” by any means if it doesn’t speak to customers.

  • Bold, precise, and provable. “The best project management software” is not a compelling unique value proposition—even if it’s true. The best USPs do make bold claims about the value they unlock, but they’re precise and clear about how their painkiller is the perfect solution for your specific kind of headache. And they’ve got the testimonials and customer stories to back it up.
  • Rooted in the product’s core value. I own two Saddleback Leather bags, and their unique selling proposition expressed through “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead,” is clever and catchy but also gets at why I genuinely like the product: it’s rugged and looks good even after lots of wear and tear. The most clever copy isn’t what wins; it’s the copy that most clearly and creatively uncovers the product’s distinct value.

What a unique selling proposition isn’t

Your unique selling proposition isn’t a tagline, a slogan, a single offer, or the headline on your homepage. Those elements are an extension of your unique selling proposition and may contain similar language, but they are built on top of your business’s overall positioning.

5 creative unique selling proposition examples

1. EightSleep

EightSleep positions itself as a tech-enabled mattress and sleep system that’s designed for optimum health. There are a lot of mattress companies out there, but very few that successfully position sleep as a performance enhancer—even though that’s exactly what it is.

EightSleep’s unique selling proposition can be seen across its website, from the copy (“elevate your sleep fitness”) to the customers used for testimonials (athletes, entrepreneurs, and scientists). Every mattress company is essentially selling the same outcome—better sleep—but EightSleep has unique technology built into its products and a performance-based positioning that appeals to high-achieving people willing to spend on sleep. Genius.

2. Magic Spoon

The homepage of Magic Spoon muses, “Why did we grow up, but our cereal didn’t?” Cereal is a nostalgic meal for many people since it’s often rooted in childhood memories. But as we got older, most of us realized that cereal is processed grains and sugar masked with cool-looking animal characters. What a shame.

Magic Spoon’s unique selling proposition is to bring back the magic of eating your favorite childhood breakfast without the guilt and health risks. High-protein, low-carb cereal that’s healthy for adults but has the same magic that cereal did when you were a kid—that’s the promise of Magic Spoon. Compare this positioning to something like Special K or Kashi cereal, and you’ll see clearly how Magic Spoon is carving out its own space in the market.

3. Bushbalm

Bushbalm’s slogan of “Skincare for everywhere” provides a helpful sense of their overall unique selling proposition: skincare for intimate areas is important, not taboo, and should be comfortable and considerately produced like all modern skincare.

Bushbalm’s flagship product in soothing oil for intimate areas has since expanded into a full range of products that include exfoliators, creams, and trimmers. Bushbalm is unapologetic in its marketing and never tries to position its products in a generic way—but it’s also never crass or makes too much of a joke about the fact that its products are for intimate areas. It’s an inviting brand that knows what specific problems its skincare products are solving and never shies away from that fact.

About the author: Gregory Ciotti is the executive editor on Shopify’s communications team, working on projects like Shopify Magazine. Before that, he led content marketing on Shopify’s growth team. Greg is a fan of simple websites, spicy food, and writing that’s clear as a country creek.

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