USP: Using Your Unique Selling Proposition for Recruiting

Sep 12, 2023
ApplicantStack, Blog, HR and Recruiting Industry Information, Recruiting Best Practices

Finding and bringing on top talent can feel like a full-time job, especially in a competitive labor market. But one thing that can help your organization stand out from others in your industry is establishing a unique selling proposition. Explore the meaning of a unique selling proposition and its purpose, especially in the recruiting process.

What is a USP? Unique Selling Proposition Definition and Purpose

A unique selling proposition (USP) is a concept that communicates and identifies the compelling benefits of a specific organization or brand. Its purpose is to set the company apart from competitors, particularly in the minds of consumers. But beyond the selling advantage that a strong USP can provide, crafting one can also play a role in recruiting efforts.

An organization’s USP should include the following components:

  • The unique benefit offered by the brand, including what makes its products or services different from others.
  • Relevant messaging that speaks to the target audience members, addressing their specific wants and needs and explaining why the brand matters.
  • Differentiation that helps the brand stand out from competitors, emphasizing why consumers should choose its products or services.
  • Language that makes it memorable, easy to remember, and simple to understand.
  • Support for any claims made, such as social proof or evidence, to strengthen brand trust and credibility among those who read it.

Incorporating your USP in a consistent manner can reinforce the unique positioning and get the word out about what you’re trying to achieve.

USP vs. EVP: Differences and Why You Need Both in Recruiting

We recently covered the importance of an employer value proposition (EVP) on our blog, going into detail about its importance in the recruiting process. But you may be wondering, how do the two differ?

Ultimately, an EVP outlines what you offer as an employer, while the USP defines what the company provides to its customers. But the two go hand-in-hand in modern recruiting efforts, as over 80 percent of employees are looking for jobs that align with their personal values. Jobseekers may look at what you claim to offer as the employer, as well as your statement around what the organization offers to its target audience.

The Benefits of a Solid USP for Business and Recruiting

Review some of the benefits of a solid USP in your business and recruiting efforts.

A clear USP supports your brand mission and values

Part of establishing your company culture is creating the brand mission and values. Your unique selling proposition should support these aspects of the brand and its efforts to make a difference in the industry in which it operates. Your USP can also serve as a vital aspect of the brand identity and foster long-term loyalty when paired with strong values and a mission that appeals to the target audience.

A defined USP makes it easy for employees to talk about your solutions

Your employees should feel confident when facing questions about what sets your organization and its products or services apart from others in the industry. But without a clearly defined USP, existing team members and potential new hires may not know the answers to even the most frequently asked questions. When crafting a USP, consider how it can clearly define what sets your brand apart for someone who may not be familiar with the industry.

A meaningful USP can resonate with prospects who support your cause

Emphasizing the reason behind what your organization does can resonate with those who support the cause. This is also true of those who may be seeking employment with a business that aligns with their personal views.

The Parts of a Selling Proposition

As you consider how to craft a unique selling proposition that captures what sets your business apart, think about how the following four parts fit.

What it is

First up: What is your unique selling proposition? What makes your brand different from others in the space, and how do your products or services differ or add value? You need to clearly state what the proposition is when defining it.

Who it’s for

The next aspect to consider is who you’re speaking to when repeating or sharing your USP. Figuring this part out might require some research on the target audience, or who your products/services are geared toward in the market. As you identify members of the target audience, you can determine how to speak to them in a way that resonates while clearly defining what to expect.

What it solves

A USP should also identify the problems solved by the business and its offerings. For example, if your company offers housecleaning services, the USP might describe the struggles with maintaining a clean home and how your team members can make it easier to achieve that goal.

The unique point: How is it different from others?

Of course, any business can describe what it does and the problems it solves, but that doesn’t necessarily help it to stand out. The key aspect of your USP is the unique aspect, or what sets it apart from others offering similar products or services. Consider what makes your offering different and craft a statement that clearly defines the value proposition.

How to Develop (and Improve) Your Unique Selling Proposition

With a better grasp on what a USP looks like and how it fits with your employee value proposition, you can follow these steps to ensure a well-crafted statement.

  • Define target market: As mentioned, the first step is defining who fits into your target market. You might consider creating personas to assign characteristics to different members of the ideal audience, as well as look at what these individuals are usually searching for to solve their concerns.
  • Identify what makes your product/service unique: You need to be able to clearly define what is unique about what your brand offers, whether that’s lower pricing, more personalized service, or something else. Without this aspect, your USP is simply a proposition around what you sell.
  • Position your USP to highlight benefits: When positioning your USP, consider how you can highlight the benefits of what you offer and how they serve the best interests of both the target consumer and those who work for the brand.
  • Make your USP clear and concise: Eliminate any unnecessary language to keep your USP as concise and easy to understand as possible.
  • Test and revise your USP: It’s always worthwhile to test any marketing strategies on members of your target audience, so try launching the USP in your ad campaigns, social profiles and other efforts to see how it resonates with those who see it.
  • Promote your USP: It’s also worth spending some time and money to promote the USP and make sure all members of the target audience are aware of and familiar with it. Additionally, you can promote it internally with existing employees and in recruiting efforts to ensure a consistent message.

How to Communicate Your USP

Utilizing multiple channels to communicate your USP will help generate more brand awareness and loyalty.

Advertising

No matter what advertising efforts your company uses, make sure the USP comes through consistently. Traditional media and brand marketing campaigns can always benefit from the addition of points that communicate the value and uniqueness of what the business offers. After all, the average person receives 121 emails per day, and a significant chunk of those are promotional in nature. You need to determine how to stand out if you want your efforts to get noticed.

Social media

As you engage with users through social media platforms, consider how your outreach efforts can incorporate and communicate your USP. By doing so, you can ensure that even passersby are familiar with what the brand stands for and why a consumer should choose you over others in the industry.

Content marketing

Content marketing is a valuable tool for communicating a brand’s USP because it allows marketers to go into more detail. You might create blog posts around specific pain points, tying in the selling proposition when identifying how your products or services solve those issues.

Digital marketing

Your company’s digital marketing efforts should also reflect the USP, including website taglines, ad copy and headlines, and even the design elements when possible.

Recruitment marketing

When recruiting, your company needs to clearly define what sets it apart in the market to encourage jobseekers to choose to work there. Incorporating both the employer value proposition and the USP can help you achieve this goal while helping potential applicants determine whether the company aims align with their desires for a workplace.

Examples of Effective USPs

Need some inspiration? Check out these effective unique selling propositions from well-known companies.

  • Coca-Cola: Refresh the world. Make a difference.
  • FedEx: When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.
  • Nike: Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. If you have a body, you are an athlete.
  • The North Face: Shaping the future of human/nature.
  • Shopify: The platform commerce is built on.
  • Stripe: Payments infrastructure for the internet.

By making the effort to create and refine your brand’s USP, you can improve your positioning in the market while boosting recruitment efforts. Attracting top talent is a shared goal of recruiters and hiring managers, regardless of industry or company size, so any competitive advantage you can gain is certainly worth pursuing to build strong, successful teams.

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