Often the jargon of a vocation can be so confusing it seems somehow enigmatic.
But sometimes the terms used end up making the subject seem a total mystery to those not ‘in the club.’
Take as an example the language of computer technology. What is a MOBO? Or a CPU? And RAM? They all sound way more complex that they are – BTW: Mother Board, Central Processing Unit and Random Access Memory….
Differentiation is an important strategic move for companies to make. For this reason it has bred three variations on the same theme – standing out from the crowd.
In all honesty the three terms are pretty interchangeable, with USP being the favoured usage or term. The finer points of difference between them are based more on the specifics of the exact way the product is differentiated in the market.
A quick recap on USP:
The thing that makes you different from the rest. A business can hang or build its Unique Selling Proposition (USP) on product characteristics, price structure, placement strategy (location and distribution) or promotional strategy. Used correctly, it will ensure that customers buy from you and not your competitors.
Point of Difference or POD:
Because of the competitive marketplace of today, and the overwhelming variety of products and services, those that stand out are better noticed by consumers.
There are various (positive and negative) ways of being different from the market. Differentiation is the term given to the positive way in which a company’s product differs from its competitors. Points of Difference (PODs) describe the individual factors that contribute to that differentiation.
The key points of difference must be attributes or benefits that consumers strongly, uniquely, and positively associate with the company’s brand; and not with any competing brand. These must be clearly communicated to consumers, to set it apart from its completion. Brand loyalty depends on the ability of the company to establish and maintain clear communication with the consumer regarding their brand; and to restate (and expand if possible) the points of difference that define the brand.
Unique Perceived Benefit or UPB:
Is essentially a customer-oriented product offer. The concept was originated by The Marketing Guild. A USP is largely formulated from the seller’s perspective and stems from product features. Instead of looking at the product from the seller’s viewpoint, Unique Perceived Benefit (UPB) looks at the need from the customer’s viewpoint – that’s being the benefit of the product.
It’s very hard to see the exact difference isn’t it?
Frankly, from my viewpoint if the USP is created and founded correctly it should encompass both the POD and UPB.
Photo via stock.xchng user 7rains