Unique Selling Points (USP) - How To Differentiate
Every start-up business needs differentiation and product, service, price, presentation, design, efficiency, innovation, delivery, distribution are some ways of doing this. I looked at the increasingly related fields of health, food and skincare through the recent decades which led me to my key differentiators for MERUMAYA.
The 70's and 80's - Maggie comes to power and we become more aspirational, more competitive and over successive terms, that aspiration becomes somewhat decadent. It is a time of scientific innovations in all areas. In the HEALTH arena we saw the breakthroughs of several inoculations against disease, the first test tube baby and the search for a cure for AIDS was on. In FOOD, microwaves, ready meals, M&S ready roasted chickens come into play as speed and convenience become more important in our lives. In the world of SKINCARE we see AHA's, delivery systems, lab coats taking the forefront. Science rules OK!
Into the 90's and 00's, we discover that the abundant, bottle-of-Boli-drive-a-Porsche- Ab-Fab-years, have not made us any happier. Something's missing; it is connectedness. In HEALTH care we see 'alternative' medicine (why is it called that when it was here centuries ago?) is beginning to get wider recognition with the NHS offering some therapies and private health insurance covering the costs of some treatments. Homeopathy becomes a little more common and over the dinner table we hear stories about the successes of Chinese medicine in curing what the GP couldn't. In the FOOD sector, Organic takes centre stage helped by fewer maggots in the apples and mainstream supermarkets making it more widely available. That said, it is only about 3-5% of consumption but the debates on flavour and health continue. Natural SKINCARE brands like Dr Hauschka and Weleda were already available but not in mainstream distribution. Corporations see the opportunity and acquire or create 'natural' brands that bring the category into mainstream distribution, casting a halo effect on the category but also creating confusion for the consumer about authenticity vs. green-washing marketing. Nature rules OK!
As we move into 10's and 20's, the concept of Integrative HEALTH becomes the most positive way of preventing and curing disease and with high profile supporters like Dr Ali (Prince Charle's doctor) and Sarah Stacey (of YOU magazine), it's gaining momentum. The premise being that simultaneous prevention and cure results in greater mobility and quality of life for longer. Makes sense to me. Moving to FOOD we there is a huge buzz around super-foods, an incredible increase in the number of allotments, foodie programmes, provenance, food miles and the authorities controlling the use of salt, sugar and fats - even Jamie is involved. Food for Health is an Integrative concept that helps to prevent and cure disease. In SKINCARE I am presenting in that most positive path, by introducing the concept of Integrative (effective) skincare to prevent and cure (by which I mean undo) the signs of aging so that we look (and feel) younger/greater for longer. My hope is that this Integrative approach develops into an industry category (like natural, organic, scientific) and that others can position here to help brands/retailers communicate the 'hybrid' advantages and the consumer to navigate, compare and make their choice.
For MERUMAYA, Integrative is about recognising we (humans) are part of nature and taking advantage of what humankind has created as well as all that nature offers. Human innovation is as relevant as nature (why would we deny ourselves and our advances?) and as a result, my positioning means that I do not have to deny my consumers the latest innovation because it does not suit my marketing position. As long as ingredients are safe and effective, they will be sourced from Nature, nature identical and human-created. If you like the concept of natural brands but when it comes to anti-ageing, wonder whether that cucumber will deliver serious results, this is the brand for you because we will take the more effective option. Wisdom Rules OK!
Nature's resources...integrated with...Innovative scientific advance Anti-ageing.............integrated with...Preventative ageing (Integrative skincare) Outside-in (topical).integrated with...Inside-out (supplements) Anti-ageing.............integrated with...Anti-blemish formula’s (my anti-ageing ingredients will not exacerbate misbehaving skins) Look good..............integrated with...Feel good (Signature Essence Blend) Luxury formula’s....integrated with...Accessible pricing Mulitple Actives.....integrated with...Effective concentrations (results, not a labelling exercise) British brand...........integrated with...Global wisdom
Lesson - define what your brand differentiators are and who would respond to them Lesson - look at brands outside your own industry for inspiration on how to differentiate e.g. Hotel Chocolat, Mal Maison, Kooples are all in crowded spaces but had standout when they launched Recommend - that you 'map' your competitors to find your sweet spot