Sometimes you can break all the rules and get away with it.
If you've read my blog or spoken to me you'll know that I'm always banging on about the need for a USP/UVP (Unique Selling/Value Proposition), a big idea and the need to address the WIIFM (What's in it for me?) question.
These issues are always at the top of any potential customer's mind:
"What is this place, what can I do here and what value can I get?"
When I saw this latest ad from the long running and very successful Incredible India campaign I was sharply reminded that we don't always have to be so obsessive about our USP's.
A unique value can often be implied, and left to the customer's imagination to fill in the rest.
And with something like India, the imagination can run rampant.
But what is it about this campaign that allows it to ignore the rules and yet still succeed?
When it's OK to break the rules
Normally a USP has to be very specific about what a customer is going to get and why this is the only place to get it. However, in a very few cases, a company or product's unique value can be implied by things such as its history or its very nature.
For example, customers of a company such as Apple know they are always going to get something really cool, cutting edge and "insanely great" from Apple.
The company doesn't have to spell it out. But then Apple didn't get that way overnight. It spent decades delivering great and really cool products.
Or take gold. You mention gold and no-one has to be told what the unique value proposition is. Everybody just "gets it".
To try and add anything to it would be superfluous. Sometimes you just need to let the product shine on its own.
Which brings us to India. Several millennia of history and an almost unfathomable cultural miasma mean you just have to say the word and people's imagination's start to fill in the rest.
With this particular ad you have an almost irresistibly cute tiger making like a soft cuddly toy almost saying come and play with me.
You know it would dangerously suicidal to go and cuddle the tiger but your imagination wants to anyway.
The picture is engaging and the simple two word headline says all that's needed. You want to find out more.
What's in it for me? Adventure and life threatening danger as you step into the unknown.
Not specific, but nevertheless incredibly exciting.
Should you abandon your USP quest?
Now, having said all that, I am not recommending that you abandon your quest to perfect your own USP.
Examples like India, Apple and gold are the exception not the norm.
Most of us don't have products or services in that league, so we still have lots of work to do.
If you have any other examples of companies that don't need a USP, please share them below.
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