Why Problem Based Positioning Is A Psychological Magnet

Are you struggling to create a memorable positioning statement or USP (Unique Selling Proposition) for your marketing?

Do you want to stand out from your competition, but the uniqueness of your business seems to elude you? Here’s a sneaky, vital secret that turns conventional marketing psychology on its head. By changing your positioning statement, find out how to transform your weakest link, into your strongest marketing strategy ever!

Avis Is Only Number 2. So Why Go With Them?

Years ago, in the rental car market, Hertz was chugging along merrily, with Avis a distant second. With one Problem-Based USP, Avis closed the gap. Their catch phrase, We’re No.2, We Try Harder, ignited the minds of the target audience like a rampaging bush fire. They turned a liability into an asset.

Southwest Airlines took to the skies with a similar message. We’re Smaller Than Everyone Else, they told us, while gently explaining why their service was dramatically better, as a direct consequence of their size. They also turned a liability into an asset.

In 2001, Harley Davidson proudly boasted how their CEO was 38th on the waiting list for the company's then, new V-Rod motorcycle. And they took pains to describe how each Harley was lovingly rolled off the plant. The waiting period, which normally would be perceived to be a negative, was turned into a publicity coup that burned a stamp of quality and a uniqueness into the brains of every prospective Harley owner.

All of these companies took a cold, hard-nosed look at reality. The superlatives in their business had been taken. Instead they unearthed their USP, in what most people would consider a disadvantage of sorts.

Are You Doing What Sally Did?

Sally is one heck of a real estate agent. Barely six months into real estate, and she’s already forging a red-hot path into the top ten salespeople in the country. While her talents and persuasive powers are formidable, there’s a little something that puts her head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd.

That Little Something Is A USP On Steroids!

If she chose to be unimaginative, Sally’s USP or tagline could have ended up as pretty run-of-the-mill. It could have ranged from a tacky, Residential Properties for every budget, to utterly boring, Getting Top Prices for Your Home. All of which would see her struggling to stand out, in a dog-eat-dog me-too marketplace.

A goody-gum-drop USP would get her nowhere in a hurry. She needed a USP with rocket fuel in its tanks. Something that would reach out and demand your attention without hesitation.

If You Sold Your Home In A Week or less, You Probably Got Too Little

That’s the USP that Sally created. Can you see what I mean? Doesn’t that USP go for your jugular? Sally’s target audience is sellers, not buyers. If you just sold a house, wouldn’t you feel a twinge of regret? What if you were about to sell a house?

Wouldn’t you be curious to find out just a little bit about what Sally does to lasso in a higher return? And wouldn’t you be just a little bit wary if the next real estate agent you met told you that she could sell your house in next to no time?

You’ve just witnessed the psychological power of the Problem-Based USP.

How To Create A Knockout USP For Your Business

Let’s assume you’re in the wine selling business. To own real estate in a customer’s brain, you’d have to do battle with about a zillion other wines. Yet decades ago, Paul Masson cut through the clutter with a simple statement. We sell no wines before their time. With charming simplicity, they turned a negative waiting period into an exploitable advantage.

You too can turn your liabilities into assets. Stop screaming about how magnificent you are, and look for the apparent glitches in your business. Let’s just consider a few scenarios.

Are You Perceived To Be Too Expensive, Slow, Or Maybe Just Too Busy?

When we started our website at PsychoTactics.com, we were faced with a similar dilemma. As human beings, we often disdain simplicity and common sense. The distillation process needed to simplify a concept into easy-to-munch bites is often just seen as common sense, and of no huge intrinsic value.

Taking that liability into consideration, PsychoTactics.com created a USP concept, that stressed the fact that everything was not just old, but at least 5000 years old. In fact, everything has already been tried and tested. That put us in a mould that is totally different from all the new-fangled marketing angles you hear about every day. The liability of common sense was turned into the asset of experience.

Best of all, it turned a problem into a winning USP concept.

The Biggest Reason Why You Should Search For The Hiccup In Your Business Strategy

Finding what makes you beneficially different is a notoriously difficult task. However, just about any client or potential buyer will very quickly identify your weaknesses and liabilities. If it’s a technical problem, you can fix it. If it’s a conceptual problem such as speed or price, it is much harder to fix.

This, however, is the key to your success. The more you try to keep your weaknesses and liabilities under wraps, the more customers will uncover them. On the other hand, take a liability and turn it into an asset. Expose a problem to the harsh glare of the spotlight and transform your frog into a prince.

This brave act will gain the instant admiration and support of your clients, while giving you a USP that others simply won’t have the guts to match.

Can You Make The Leap?

Creating a negative USP is a tricky, dangerous tactic, and one not to be taken lightly. "We're slow and proud of it!" is hardly a selling point, yet fulfills the requirements laid out in the article. However, if you’ve been struggling with your USP, as many companies do, this is a tactic that may work well for you—as it has with some of the companies above.

It’s time you tickled your customer’s brain with some sharply focused psychological marketing jujitsu. Find the weaknesses and liabilities in your business, carve them into a dynamic USP, and the attention your business has been craving for, will be yours forever more!

© 2001-2005 Psychotactics Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
If you would like to learn more about the way the human brain works, and how customers make buying decisions, go to http://www.5000bc.com Want to find a secret library of small business ideas? Where can you find simple, yet electrifying ideas, on copywriting, public speaking, sales conversion, psychological tactics and branding? Head down to http://www.5000bc.com today and judge for yourself.

SecurityMetrics for PCI Compliance, QSA, IDS, Penetration Testing, Forensics, and Vulnerability Assessment


Many of the 1000+ articles on Frugal Fun and Frugal Marketing have been gathered into magazines. If you'd like to read more great content on these topics, please click on the name of the magazine you'd like to visit.

Ethics Articles - Down to Business Magazine - Frugal & Fashionable Living Magazine
Global Travel Review - Global Arts Review - Peace & Politics Magazine
Frugal Marketing Tips - Frugal Fun Tips - Principled Profit
Why The Business Ethics Pledge Campaign
Clean and Green Marketing

Our Privacy Policy

Click here to order Shel's books on cost-effective and ethical marketing

This site is brought to you by Shel Horowitz,
Director of Accurate Writing & More--bringing you marketing,
writing, and career assistance since 1981.
(413) 586-2388

For information on reprinting articles from this site, click here.

You're also invited to visit our sister sites:
(ethical, cooperative, and profitable business success) http://www.frugalfun.com
(How to have more fun and spend a lot less money)
(marketing, writing, and career services)

Social networking icons by komodomedia.com.

Disclosures of Material Connections:

Site copyright © 2000-2011 by Shel Horowitz