What is a UVP?

A unique value proposition (UVP) is a statement – a brand promise – to your customers.   It conveys the value you bring to them and why they should choose you over your competitors.  It’s also a peek into your corporate personality, who you are and your passion.  It shows your company’s unique strengths, behavior and consumer interactions.  So, really… it’s how prospects decide if they can trust you and buy from you.

In the FedEx ad shown above, the UVP is “Whatever it Takes.”  That’s a promise to their customers.  It’s also a commitment from their leadership and employees.  It answers the “why” and builds trust in the brand.

Why Define a UVP?

Because it’s essential to your marketing, your operations and your profits.  If you don’t know who you are, it’s very hard to attract the clients you serve best and earn their trust.  Defining your UVP is central to developing an authentic, trustworthy brand and standing out from competition.

So, sip your coffee and invest a a little time into exploring what makes you and your brand unique.  If you can nail this one, it removes a lot of “what-ifs” from the rest of your journey.

Where Do I Start?

If you’re the entrepreneur, start with YOU.  Your core values and motivations are important. There are reasons you’re on this entrepreneurial journey.  Ask yourself a few questions and write down your answers.

  • Why am I doing this?
  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • Am I motivated by freedom?  finance? helping others?
  • What legacy do I want to leave?
  • What keeps me going, even on the worst day?
  • What makes me feel like I’m winning and shout for joy?
  • What makes me really angry? So angry I have to do something about it?
  • What leaders (present or historical) and influencers am I drawn to?  Why do they resonate with me?

Your responses to these types of questions help identify your core values.  Look at your answers, see which ones are the strongest for you or most important.  Circle or highlight them.  Your core values shape your company values… and that ultimately extends into your UVP for customers.

My Values & UVP Story

When I was first asked to think about people, qualities, and motivations – including what made me mad… my answers painted a picture of the values I admire as well as where my passion is fueled.  When I dug out my notebook, my answers looked like this:

notebook page on core values

My strong sense of justice was confirmed in the figures I admire and causes I champion.  I admire historical figures like Abraham Lincoln, Dr. M L King and William Wilberforce.  I am drawn to current leaders who make a difference for social justice in the world like @ChristineCaine and @LisaBevere.  I care about people.  I’m provoked to action by injustice & abuse… especially of people who are powerless to defend themselves.

I feel happiest when I help someone find value and purpose in what they are doing.   I like a good fight for a good cause.  I’m thrilled when hard work produces meaningful change.

How does this translate to our company’s UVP and personality?
As a company, we value people, relationships and trust.  This means we invest in our team, our clients, & our community.  We work to make a difference for our clients and help them create growth, jobs and build their own legacy.  It means we put a high-price tag on authenticity, and embrace the risk of realness in our relationships.

This means we’re a great fit for many companies, and a not-so-great-fit for a few others.  That’s ok.  As a matter of fact, it’s awesome.  It’s better to never start working with the wrong client than to try to resolve differences later.

From “Me” to “Us” – Core Values to UVP

Once you have a clear picture of what motivates you as a person, you can begin to share that with others.  Start telling your story.  Think about it and share it until it gets clearer and clearer.  Start shining a light for your team to see where you’re headed.  Chart the course that aligns with your passions, your motivations, and core values.  You’ll be most fulfilled and most successful when you follow that path.  Others who see it and value it will be drawn to your team, and those who don’t fit will find another team on another road.

What makes you different makes you beautiful.
True.  Get your A-Team to help you put these values in the context of your company’s offerings, client base, market and goals.  How do they make you different?  Stand out from the crowd by what you stand for and what you say.  Your ability to be unique in the market is priceless.

For our company, the heart of our UVP is transparency and trust.  We don’t just “do”  marketing… we offer expertise you can trust.  We are intentionally transparent so our clients are making smart, informed decisions from the data available.   Building a relationship with our clients that brings them long-term growth and value is more important than a quick sale.

Our role as a marketing agency is to help our clients increase business revenue.  So we took it from UVP to mission by pointing our passion to our operation like this:  Investing in People, Growing Commerce & Building Community.”

Benefits of a Clear UVP

There are many benefits of a clear UVP.  Here are 7 big ones which I’ve detailed in this article:  Benefits (& Samples) of Clear UVPs.

  1. Your UVP differentiates you from competitors
  2. Your UVP attracts the RIGHT clients/customers
  3. Your UVP provides a compass for all your decisions.
  4. Your UVP promotes genuine passion and authenticity
  5. Your UVP unifies teams and creates synergy
  6. Your UVP attracts star team members & reduces turn over
  7. Your UVP increases conversions and grows sales

Wrap Up.

Take the time to look closely at what motivates and inspires you.  Look at what your passionate about and WHY you do what you do.  Define your core values personally.  Then explore how that defines you in the context of your team, your market and your industry. Look for opportunities to be different and stand out from your competitors.  Share these thoughts with your team, your clients, and peers.  Work on it until you can say it in a few words that are clear and compelling.  Don’t worry about being perfect, be authentic and incredibly good.

“The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there.  People will follow.” ― Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us



Cindy is the founding President at 17blue Digital Marketing. She's passionate about helping businesses reach their goals and impact their communities.