Is the premise the same as the USP?

You probably already know about the USP, or unique selling proposition. It’s an advertising concept that dates back many decades, but if you’re not familiar with it, here’s a quick explanation.

An advertising guy named Rosser Reeves published a book called Reality in Advertising back in 1961. It was in that book that he introduced his concept of the unique selling proposition.usp

Reeves said a USP has three components:

  • Each advertisement must make a proposition to the prospect. Each must say, “Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit.”
  • The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer.
  •  The proposition must be so strong that it can pull over new customers to your offer.

Another way to think of the USP is as a “remarkable benefit.” This is the modern spin Seth Godin put on the bedrock USP concept in his book Purple Cow. Another must-read book on modern positioning (even though they never use that term or mention the USP) is Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.

In this day and age of hyper-competition, it’s difficult to offer features that no other competitor can. So now the modern practice of positioning is all about the space your messages occupy in the mind of your prospective customer and how well you match up with their worldviews.

This is what finding a strong premise is all about. Often, it simply comes down to telling a different story.