We've all heard of USPs. For many of us folk of a certain age, the mere mention of USPs, conjures up memories of 1980's onboarding VHS videos, where a chap in a colourful suit, would explain to new starters what made their brand 'unique'.

I might have lost some of you with the VHS reference, but the principle is the same.

“We’re company ‘A’ and our USPs are 1,2,3 & 4. The same USPs as company X, Y & Z.”

Herein lies the problem, how are they a unique selling point, when every other company is doing them?!

Unique definition image

We’ve been desensitised to USPs and what the acronym means. In fact, it doesn’t mean anything anymore, other than, this is what we do, the bare minimum you’d expect, and the ‘givens’ for any reputable company in the space.

So why not sack off USPs altogether, declare a new way forward & to champion Louis Grenier (who also inspired this article) go for a unique point of view.

Challenge the conventional and why it should be consigned to the past, then sprint full steam ahead with your point of view. In Louis’ words, a unique POV looks something like this:

(1) Take a stand against “something” → (2) State why you think it’s wrong → (3) Position yourself as the alternative.

Louis Grenier

"A recovering Frenchman who helps marketers stand the f*ck out"

The 'something' works best if it’s standard/best practice in your industry, or a deep-rooted belief that can be used to make a stand against, that people will appreciate and understand where you’re coming from.

What is a unique point of view / point of view marketing?

Point of view marketing is a strategy. Well, actually, it’s more than that, it’s a process; it's a value - a perspective that aligns with how you do business.

Instead of regurgitating cliché USPs or rattling off an arm’s length list of product features, point of view marketing aims to forge a deeper connection with audiences. Whether you're selling a service, a holiday destination, or even an air fryer, standing out amidst a sea of options requires more than just flashy taglines or exaggerated claims.

We have all read the ‘spiel’ and there is nothing unique about a cliché USP. How many products have been marketed as 'market leading' or 'best in class' when we all know they are anything but.

A unique point of view or a ‘uniqueness’ to your brand goes beyond the ordinary, everyday, conventional approach. It’s something that challenges the usual tropes or ideals. It’s something to make you stand out by addressing needs in a way others simply couldn’t.

It’s not about being unique for the sake of it, it’s about living and breathing what might be a niche, but it’s a niche you believe in. It’s not just about having perspective; it's about having a unique one!

It’s not about fitting in; it’s about standing out!

Why does POV matter?

In today's marketplace, consumers are offered so many choices via so many channels. They crave something real, some candidness and connection amongst the noise and when everyone claims to offer the same thing in their ‘why choose us’ sales patter, it’s going to take something extra to tip the decision in your favour.

That's where a strong point of view comes into play. It's not about pleasing everyone; it's about really sparking that curiosity with those who align with your values. By articulating a clear perspective on relevant issues, brands can attract like-minded consumers who feel understood and valued.

Does it really work?

Absolutely. Point of view marketing, if done well, can tap into the human desire for connection and purpose. It can set you apart from the competition and can breed a community of loyal advocates, brand ambassadors who champion your brand.

Sure, you might alienate some audiences along the way, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. You're not here to please everyone; you're here to build meaningful connections with those who matter most. This is something we constantly strive to do at Adido, and I have touched on our values a number of times (you can find them here) in rpevious articles. We work with great clients who both appreciate and impose similar values.

Implementing point of view marketing isn't just about spouting off a catchy slogan, it's about living and breathing your brand's perspective. It requires a thoughtful approach that aligns with your identity and objectives. From defining your POV to communicating it consistently across all channels, every interaction with your audience should reflect and reinforce your brand's unique perspective. And remember, authenticity is key. Stay true to your values and beliefs, and your audience will respond in kind.

So, if you require a candid update about your marketing strategy, paid, social or your organic positioning from a curious team that will strive to make commercial decisions, you will certainly align with and appreciate our point of view.

Here are some steps to consider when looking to implement your point of view:

  • Define your POV (undoubtedly the hardest part!): Start by defining your brand's unique point of view. What values, beliefs, or perspectives differentiate you from competitors? How does your POV align with your target audience's interests and aspirations? What are you willing to take a stand against and what’s your alternative?
  • Communicate consistently: Once you've established your POV, ensure consistency in how it is communicated across all marketing channels. From website copy to social media posts, every interaction with your audience should reflect and reinforce your brand's perspective.
  • Create compelling content: Develop content that articulates your POV in a compelling and engaging way. Whether it's blog posts, ad copy, videos, or social media campaigns, use storytelling to bring your perspective to life and make it relatable to your audience.
  • Engage your audience: Encourage dialogue and engagement with your audience around your POV. Invite them to share their thoughts and experiences, and actively listen to their feedback. This not only strengthens the bond between the brand and its audience but also provides valuable insights for refining your POV over time.
  • Stay authentic: Authenticity is key to effective point of view marketing. Stay true to your brand's values, every project we work on is grounded in our values, you can see this in our case studies. Avoid jumping on trends or adopting viewpoints that feel inauthentic or forced. Consistency and sincerity will resonate more with your audience than gimmicks or shortcuts.

Examples of some unique points of view

Modern slavery -Tony’s Chocolonely

Tony’s Chocolonely, make and sell delicious chocolate. They also take a stand against the chocolate industry. They took a stand against something.

They state fairness is hard to find in the chocolate making industry. Farmers pour their passion into cocoa production, but in between farmers to end product lies a troubling reality: a small group of chocolate giants reign supreme, prioritising their profits over the well-being of the farmers, driving down cocoa prices, leaving farmers struggling to make a living (the Tony's chocolate bar is distributed unevenly, to represent the inequality in the industry). They stated why they thought it was wrong.

Tony’s aim for everybody in its supply chain is to be happy with its chocolate, from the farmer to the end consumer. Tony’s have persevered to become a commercially successful company to show the world, chocolate can be made differently and without the use of modern slavery or exploitation. They positioned themselves as the alternative.


Don’t buy this jacket – Patagonia

On Black Friday, of all days, for an ecommerce business, Patagonia told us not to buy their products! Well specifically the R2 jacket. Though already made from 60% recycled polyester, Patagonia doubled down on their approach to be as environmentally friendly as they can, but actively trying to get their audience to think more ethically about their purchasing habits.

Patagonia clearly believes there is an issue with ‘fast fashion’ and consumerism of fashion garments in general. They took a stand against something.

They felt the culture of consumption put the economy of natural systems in danger. We are now using the resources of one-and-a-half planets on our one and only planet. They stated why they thought it was wrong.

Because Patagonia wants to be in business for a long time – and ensure the best practices – Patagonia actively took a stand compared to most ecommerce businesses on Black Friday. Asking consumers to buy less and to think before you spend money on theirs or anybody’s products. They positioned themselves as the alternative.

Ethical trading – LUSH

LUSH believes all businesses should be ‘ethical’ and trade should be fair. Companies shouldn’t be proud of not being damaging & that no business should be trading from an unethical position. They took a stand against something.

LUSH state that they find the term ‘ethical’ a difficult one to process, because it seems that it is used to describe companies who try not to harm people or the planet with their trade practices. Surely this should not be regarded as ‘ethical’ but as normal business. They stated why they thought it was wrong.

So LUSH aim to go further than just claiming they are ethical, all while stating they are not perfect, not the finished article, they know they have flaws, but aim to work on them by sticking to their positions and policies. Lush believe in using fresh organic fruit in their products, purchasing only from suppliers that do not test on animals. They positioned themselves as the alternative.

Women belong in the kitchen – Burger King

One more to finish and this one sits firmly in the point of view bracket – though whether it was a success or not, I will leave up to you to decide.

Remember when Burger King said this…..

A unique approach I am sure you will agree. I am also sure you can see (if you look hard enough) this was a left field approach to highlight that only 20% of professional chefs in the UK are women.

Burger King were trying to increase this percentage by offering scholarships. They didn’t stick with this tone of voice and apologised for the original tweet (maybe don’t post it on International Women’s Day?!).

Perhaps this could have worked if approached more strategically or if this was the brand’s unique POV all along, but this came out of nowhere, and was deleted just as quickly.


Conclusion

In a world where everyone is overwhelmed with choice, where so many organisations use the same USPs to attract and convert, point of view marketing offers those organisations the chance to create authenticity amidst the white noise. As highlighted in some of the examples above, it can mean going against what you would expect from an ecommerce business. But, its more than just swimming against the tide for shock value. It will only work if you truly believe what your point of view is.

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Meet the author ...

Kyle Bones

Account Manager

Kyle is at the heart of client delivery being the central point of contact for ongoing marketing retainers and project-based contracts. If you ring the office, he'll probably be ...