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Unique Selling Proposition Formulas by Jalanda James

The full title of this book by Jalanda James is

Unique Selling Proposition Formulas For Positioning Your Small Business

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave it Three Stars.

Here is my review.

Interesting review of approaches to create USPs

I’m fascinated by how businesses differentiate themselves from competitors and how they communicate their differences to their potential customers.

I welcome this short, low cost book which sets out four formulas for creating a USP although it’s fairer to say that these are approaches rather than an X + Y style “fill in the blanks” formulas.

There is some discussion about the difference between unique selling propositions, positioning, value propositions, marketing tag lines and branding although it’s a bit of a muddle, partly because these concepts can cross over and run into each other. I know because I’ve tried to do a similar exercise myself.

I find myself both agreeing and disagreeing with the author in different places.

My main criticism is that, strangely, she doesn’t encourage you to systematically look at what your competitors are doing and what USPs, if any, they use. This is important because you don’t want to get excited about an idea and claim ownership of it in your mind, only to find that someone else is using it or something very similar.

Second, I worry that it can lead to superficial USPs that sound good but aren’t deeply reflected in your business. This is what I call shallow differentiation based on a marketing promise that may not be kept. Unfortunately if you get particularly inspired, it may mean that a competitor with a bigger budget will step into your place.

I first read this book as part of my kindle unlimited subscription and whilst I think it has flaws, I decided to add it to my library of USP / positioning / differentiation resources in case I find myself talking to a client who has read it.

If you’re a business owner who wants to create or to improve a USP and you are interested in standing out in your market place, I think it is worth the small cost and the hour of your time to read. Just be aware that it’s not the entire solution.

I was also slightly irritated by the fact that the author is asking you to pay for her lead generation method. Immediately after the index is an offer of a free report about three ways to tell if you need a new brand or unique selling proposition that’s available if you give her your email address. I would have thought that such information should be part of the introduction to the book.


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