A unique selling proposition isn’t just about what your product does, it’s also about what sets it apart and how your potential consumer truly benefits. Without one, your customer will spend all their energy trying to figure out what exactly you can do for them, instead of how they can buy from you. It can be daunting to try to fit all of that into a simple statement that covers every base, but some specific strategies can help make it easier.
This article will guide you through the creation of a StoryBrand-style unique selling proposition that gives your customer the problem, solution, and positive result without making them burn too many brain calories to get it. It’s clear, consistent messaging for your brand that you can use over and over again, from your socials to your emails to your homepage.
What You’ll Learn:
- How to write your unique selling proposition (USP) in a StoryBrand-Style one-liner that will state the problem, solution, and the positive result all in one easy-to-remember paragraph.
- Once you’ve crafted your StoryBrand-Style USP, you’re going to put it everywhere that your audience would see it.
Understanding the Purpose of a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Understanding the Objective
Quick—in one sentence can you explain why people buy products in the first place?
It’s pretty easy to say, “they buy products because they want the result the product gives them.”
But, that’s actually not it. It’s close, but it’s not the real reason why people buy products. This article has nailed down the one sentence that explains it…
People buy products after reading or hearing words that make them want to buy products.
The problem is, what are those words? It’s a lot easier said than done to write words that sell products. Just ask anyone who tried to do it themselves over hiring a copywriter.
If you write the wrong words, your customer avatar won’t know you’re talking to them. If you write too many words, it’ll feel like a huge energy expenditure for your customer avatar to digest those words and figure out what you’re actually saying.
The key to writing the words that sell products is realizing they’re part of a formula. In marketing, we call this a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). It’s the way you present what you do so that your customer avatar sees you have a solution to their problem.
This article has its own version of a USP, which it calls a StoryBrand One-Liner. A USP and a StoryBrand One-Liner go hand-in-hand. In this article, we’re going to show you how to create a StoryBrand-Style USP.
Once you’ve crafted your StoryBrand-Style USP, you’re going to put it everywhere that your audience would see it. This means that:
- You have it memorized
- Your staff has it memorized
- It’s on your business card
- You can use it as your email signature
- It can go on the wall of your retail space
- You’ll put it in the first sentence of your explanatory paragraph
Using the One-Liner formula, we’re going to put together the one sentence that makes people buy your products. Yep, one sentence that does the selling for you.
Let’s get started.
Crafting Your StoryBrand-Style USP
Components of a StoryBrand-Style USP
Until you can get to the root of why your product is useful, people don’t care. This sounds harsh, but unfortunately, it’s true. We can’t expect every person in the world to want to hear our story without first knowing that it’s relevant to their lives.
That’s where the USP/one-liner comes in. It’s crafted with a specific formula that leads with the problem someone is having, tells them the solution, and then shares the results they could experience if they bought the product.
These are the 3 parts of a great one-liner:
- Positive Result
Let’s take a look at each of these parts so you can craft your USP confidently.
Step 1: State the Problem
The key to a great USP is starting with a great hook. Your hook is the problem that your product solves that sparks someone’s interest. Here’s the thing though: it can only be one problem.
In the case of your StoryBrand-Style USP, commas are not your friend. It’s tempting to write an entire list of problems your product solves, but that’s not how you craft a selling one-liner. The most impactful one-liner will focus on one problem, and it’s going to make sure that it’s the most meaningful problem.
You want people to feel something when you tell them the problem. If the problem doesn’t make them feel, you’ve chosen the wrong one or you’ve tried to be too clever in the way you said it.
For example, if an at-home chef is crafting her one-liner, she wouldn’t want to say, “Family bonding is paramount for human satisfaction.” That’s too fancy, and it doesn’t make someone feel like they need to make a better experience of their family dinner time.
Do you know what does?
A problem like, “Most families don’t eat together anymore, and when they do, they don’t eat healthy.”
For this article, we’re going to use a one-liner for Circuit E-Bike, an electric bike company based in Nashville, Tennessee.
Here’s the problem the Circuit E-Bike solves:
With 110 people moving to Nashville every day, people are wasting more and more time sitting in traffic.
With our problem in hand, we can then state the solution, or our product, that solves it. We’ll do that in the next section.
Action Item: Complete Step #1 on the StoryBrand One-Liner Resource and list out the problems or pain points that most of your clients face.
Step 2: State the Solution (or Product)
The next part of your one-liner is the solution. This is the solution or product that solves the problem you just stated. There’s only one big mistake you can make here, and that’s stating a solution or product that doesn’t directly solve that problem.
For example, if the problem in your one-liner is, “A lot of people have trouble with a work-life balance,” but, your solution is, “We sell computers that make your work more efficient,” you haven’t actually solved the problem of work-life balance. Sure, you’ve made they’re work-life more efficient but that doesn’t promise your customer avatar they can put that time toward their friends and family.
Avoid this mistake by making sure your solution or product directly solves the problem you just stated. For example, Circuit E-Bike’s problem is that there’s tons of traffic in Nashville and it’s only increasing as more people move there. This means their solution and product need to help someone stop wasting time in traffic.
Here’s what the Circuit E-Bike Product/Solution looks like:
With a Circuit E-bike fitted just for you…
So far, our one-liner looks like this:
With 110 people moving to Nashville every day, people are wasting more and more time sitting in traffic. With a Circuit E-bike fitted just for you…
Action Item: Complete Step #2 on the StoryBrand One-Liner Resource and talk about the solution to your problems you just stated in Step #1.
Step 3: State the Positive Result
The last part of the one-liner is the result. This is the happily ever after that your customer’s experience when they buy your products.
Crafting the perfect result comes from understanding the story arc of your customer. A one-liner is just a short story. It’s the character, the conflict, and the solution. The goal of your one-liner is to turn your positive result into a happily ever after your customer avatar can’t forget.
To make it easier to remember, make your results visual (if possible). If your customer avatar can visualize a scene that describes how great their life would be if they could just solve this darn problem—you’ve nailed it.
Let’s go back to the Circuit E-Bike one-liner. Our problem is that people are wasting time in traffic and our solution is a Circuit E-Bike. So, what’s the positive result?
Here’s the positive result of having a Circuit E-Bike:
You’ll get hours back in your day and breeze through life.
Now that’s a pretty picture for just about anybody.
We’ve crafted our problem, solution, and result—let’s put that all together and take a look at the story our one-liner is telling.
Action Item: Complete Step #3 on the StoryBrand One-Liner Resource and complete the section on how your product/service will give a result to your prospect. Talk about the result someone will experience if they buy that product.
Step 4: Putting It All Together
Your USP/one-liner is going to state your:
- Positive Result
…in that order. Remember, the goal is to craft a story where your customer avatar is the character and your product gives them the happily ever after they’ve been looking for.
Here’s what the one-liner for the Circuit E-Bike company in Nashville looks like:
With 110 people moving to Nashville every day, people are wasting more and more time sitting in traffic. With a Circuit E-bike fitted just for you, you’ll get hours back in your day and breeze through life.
What’s our problem? Our customer avatar is living in Nashville, commuting to work, and spending more and more time in traffic every day.
What’s the solution? The Circuit E-Bike
What’s the positive result? Our customer avatar gets hours back in their day
As you put together your one-liner, make sure that your:
- Problem sparks an emotional reaction
- Product/Solution solves the problem you stated in an obvious way
- The positive result creates a visual of what life would be like without this problem
There you have it—you just crafted your very own StoryBrand-Style USP.
Action Item: Put your problem, solution/product, and positive result together, BUT don’t hit the PRINT button just yet! We have one more CRUCIAL step to do before we are done.
Step 5: Editing Your StoryBrand-Style USP
Now that you’ve put your one-liner together, we want you to cut it in half. Yep, you just read that right. That beautiful piece of text that you’ve just woven together—it’s time to trim it.
Let’s get rid of most of those words. Generally, the first draft of a one-liner is too long. It’s tempting to add commas, descriptions, or filler words like “very”. But, we don’t actually need those.
Like we talked about at the start of this article, you don’t want to make people expend more energy to figure out what you do. You want them to expend the least amount of energy possibly needed to understand what you do, who you do it for, and why you do it.
Action Item: Cut down your StoryBrand-Style USP as much as possible by removing commas, unnecessary descriptions, and filler words
Step 6: Use It Everywhere and Often
Without a StoryBrand-Style USP, your message can get watered down around the noise of your other copy and content.
Crafting this StoryBrand-Style USP and sticking to it across all of your platforms so you get known for solving this problem with your product, is the key to creating messaging your customer avatar remembers. Like we talked about before, your one-liner is going to be put to work.
You’re going to put it everywhere and anywhere that your customers would bump into it. Here are a few more places you can use your one-liner:
- The about page of your website
- In the articles, you publish to your blog
- In your Instagram bio
- As a pinned tweet on Twitter
- In the above-the-fold content of your website
Think of your one-liner as the equivalent of introducing yourself, but for your business. When someone asks what your company does, you want your one-liner to flow just as easily as your name or the position you hold at your company.
Action Item: Make a list of the places you want to use your StoryBrand-Style USP. Make sure the key stakeholders have it memorized and can recite it at any time!
StoryBrand-Style USPs Examples
StoryBrand-Style USP Critique
Let’s make sure you’re confident in your StoryBrand-Style USP by going over an example sent in. Here’s the one-liner submitted:
The cost of quality homes in great neighborhoods is rising beyond the obtainability of the middle-class. We offer a quick-start process to find and design your home at a price you can afford.
Let’s break this down by problem, product/solution, and result.
Problem: “The cost of quality homes in great neighborhoods is rising beyond the obtainability of the middle-class.”
This starts really well by saying, “The cost of quality homes in great neighborhoods is…”. But, once we hit “rising beyond the obtainability of the middle-class.” we’re starting to ask our customer avatar to expend a lot of energy to understand what we’re talking about. Remember, the goal is to make them expend the least amount of calories possible to know what our business is all about.
We can make this easier to understand (with less energy expended) by saying, “Most people these days can’t afford their dream home.” See the difference?
Solution: “We offer a quick-start process to find and design your home at a price you can afford.”
This is a great solution because it directly ties into the problem we just talked about (people not being able to afford their dream homes).
Positive Result: ???
Here’s where things get tricky. In this example, we don’t actually have a result. This is where companies forget an important part of their one-liner: the part where somebody gets their happily ever after.
The positive result of this problem and solution would be something like, “So that you can be one of the few people who go home every day and walk through the door of your dream home.” By putting, “walk through the door of your dream home” we’re also making this a visual story.
Let’s put that all together:
“The cost of quality homes in great neighborhoods is rising beyond the obtainability of the middle-class. We offer a quick-start process to find and design your home at a price you can afford, so that you can be one of the few people who go home every day and walk through the door of your dream home.”
Below we picked out a few examples said best exemplify a tremendous USP/one-liner.
Example #1: Jamie Buttigieg, Results & Co
PROBLEM: Most businesses are wasting money on marketing!
SOLUTION: We help businesses build a compelling brand story, build websites that work, and develop campaigns that deliver leads.
POSITIVE RESULT: Clients who work with us improve their marketing results and build strong brands.
Jaime, a certified StoryBrand consultant, wrote this USP/one-liner for his consulting agency, Results & Co. He starts by stating the problem, that your business is wasting money on marketing (which a lot of business owners can relate to). Next comes his solution. This sentence shows all the things that his agency offers while not getting too granular. Finally, he states the positive result by explaining they can improve their marketing and build a stronger brand.
He applies his USP/one-liner in all aspects of his business, but it’s right front and center on his website.
We’ll obsess over your marketing so you can obsess over your Customer!
Marketing is what you tell people. Branding is what people say about you.
Most businesses are wasting money on marketing! We help businesses build a compelling brand story, build websites that work, and develop campaigns that deliver leads. Clients who work with us improve their marketing results and build strong brands.
Example #2: Knapsack Creative (for Parkland Direct)
PROBLEM: In today’s competitive direct mail game, we’ve met organizations who have spent millions of dollars on overpriced, boring envelopes that get low response rates.
SOLUTION: With our unique hyper-efficient production process and leading-edge equipment.
POSITIVE RESULT: we can save you money and deliver beautiful envelopes that earn the attention of your customers.
Knapsack Creative, a certified StoryBrand consultant, created this one-liner for their client, Parkland Direct. In the first sentence, a prospective client knows immediately that Parkland Direct deals with the direct mail game and understands the pain points when it comes to direct mailing. This USP/one-liner states both the solution and the positive result in the same sentence, which is okay! There is no stipulation that each step has to be its own sentence. Their solution leads to curiosity but simply stated where the prospect is not having to “burn a bunch of calories” to figure out what they do. The positive result shows how a direct mail business can get a quick and easy win.
If you go to Parkland Direct’s website, they have their USP/one-liner for their prospects to see at the top of the page.
ABOUT PARKLAND DIRECT
In today’s competitive direct mail game, we’ve met organizations who have spent millions of dollars on overpriced, boring envelopes that get low response rates. With our unique hyper-efficient production process and leading-edge equipment, we can save you money and deliver beautiful envelopes that earn the attention of your customers.
Example #3: For StoryBrand
PROBLEM: Most business leaders have trouble explaining what they offer. They’re too close to it and they fumble their words.
SOLUTION: So we have a seven-part framework that helps business leaders clarify their message.
POSITIVE RESULT: When they do, customers engage. It’s the fastest way to grow your business.
Lastly, we have USP/one-line from StoryBrand business. Again, the problem, solution, and positive result do not have to be confined to just a single sentence. Make sure you’re able to state your problem/solution/positive result in a way that best clarifies the message with “as few calories burned.” The problem is straightforward: a most business can’t explain their offer. So, the solution is simple… there is a 7-part framework. This lets the prospect know two things. One, it’s only seven steps. Two, it’s a framework so it will work for anybody that uses it. The positive result lets the prospect know immediately that it’s the fastest way to get their customers to engage and grow their business.
Action Item: Check out other websites in your space. How many of them have StoryBrand-Style USP? Are the problem, solution, and positive results clear and concise? How would you change it to make it more like a StoryBrand-Style USP? This practice can help you hone your ability to write your own!