Understanding Simple Promotion – a USP for business

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NOT too long ago, a new client asked us: “How can you be experts in PR and social media?” At the time, we thought it was an odd question, in hindsight, it makes perfect sense.

The problem is that too many people are trying to create a niche that just isn’t there to be carved out. We shouldn’t be too hard on them; it’s a tough market out there and everyone’s trying to find their own Unique Selling Point, right?

Here’s where we run into difficulties.

Pretty much every start-up business has the USP message drummed into them – it’s vital to be unique in your marketplace… you need to offer something new and different… your product offering must address a real need that’s not already being filled… yada, yada, yada. We reckon they’re missing the point. A USP doesn’t need to be a brand new product or service, it can simply be a different way of operating or a fresh outlook. For instance, us Tigers have always prided ourselves on cutting out the crap jargon and explaining things in plain English; the way things are going, it’s fast becoming our USP!

C’mon people, get real! Unless you’re the next Einstein, Dyson or (arguably) Steve Jobs, there aren’t that many service gaps left to be plugged. The result? Desperate to tick the USP box, people take an existing business service and distort it to within an inch of its life. Sure, it might work for some but, in many cases, the outcome is confusion and, sometimes, a lot of fear and frustration for the potential end-users.

So (with apologies for the dropped intro), this brings us nicely back to the point. When it comes to business use, social media is part of the PR package. It’s a no brainer. It’s really, painfully obvious. Trouble is, there have been too many ‘social media experts’ distorting the message, or trying to turn social media into science only they can understand, in order to create their USP (and, if it’s too complex for your humble business brain to comprehend, you’ll have to give them the contract, right? *Cough*… computer says ‘no’).

Shall we cut the hogwash and tell it like it is? Here goes:

PR is a way of distributing your message to the mass market and, hopefully, securing interest from people who, perhaps, had never heard of your products/services, and/or had a level of awareness but weren’t quite ready to engage. PR also helps to keep your offering front and central in the minds of your customer base and potential customer base. Regardless of how targeted you’re being with your campaign, PR exists to get your messages to lots of people in the hope that they engage with you / continue to engage with you / re-engage with you / tell all their friends and create lots of word-of-mouth interest. That’s it. Really. It’s that simple.

Social media is a way of distributing your message to the mass market and, hopefully, securing interest from people who, perhaps, had never heard of your products/services, and/or had a level of awareness but weren’t quite ready to engage. Social media also helps to keep your offering front and central in the minds of your customer base and potential customer base. Regardless of how targeted you’re being with your campaign, Social media exists to get your messages to lots of people in the hope that they engage with you / continue to engage with you / re-engage with you / tell all their friends and create lots of word-of-mouth interest. That’s it. Really. It’s that simple.

Got it?

Next time you hear a ‘social media expert’ waxing lyrical about the complexities of using Twitter for business, the technological nuances of Facebook, or the [insert made-up pomp and jargon-based nonsense here] of LinkedIn, YouTube, WordPress et al, your best move might be to vote with your feet. Or, at the very least, listen with sympathy to someone who’s probably spent some time trying to mould a tried and tested product to fit an all-new USP. Can’t be easy trying to reinvent the wheel…

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