Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

So in life, I have got some of the best insights by observing other people and their mistakes. One of the reasons might be that I am too self-absorbed to admit I can commit any mistakes let alone learn from them. I was at Starbucks with earphones in my ears without any music playing observing people. There was this guy sitting next to me with a girl on what seemed to me like a date. I decided to eavesdrop, actually, he was talking so loudly that anyway half of the cafe could hear him. Within the next five minutes, I got the whole career summary of the guy. IIT, Standford, Mckinsey London, VC firm Mumbai and apparently was very well networked with a huge social circle.  The next 55 minutes of the date was a detailed self-imposed coaching advice session by the guy for the girl on how to get into the best B school in the country. At the end of the monologue, the girl had just one question for the guy, “If you have such a big social network, why do you need an arranged marriage date to get married?”

Anyway, coming to the MBA concept of the  ‘Unique Selling Proposition (USP)’. First proposed as a theory to explain a pattern in successful advertising campaigns of the early 1940s, the USP states that the campaigns made unique propositions to customers that convinced them to switch brands. The USP could be anything from a brand image of safety (Volvo) to a thirty-minute delivery guarantee (Dominos).

During on-campus placements, one needs to sharpen one’s USP for the interview. For example, I learned during my placements at IIM that when 75% of the batch has done engineering from IIT, that can’t be my USP. ‘Out of the box thinking’ can be, sitting in an interview with one of the biggest FMCG firms in the country (Cadbury), I said my favorite advertisement is the web series, ‘Permanent Roommates’. I was the first guy on the whole campus to which the firm extended the internship offer.


BATNA of your potential date. The pedigree of your education, salary, etc. cannot be the USP as your date would have similar options.

In the case of the online dating world, the foot in the door comes by making your profile stand apart in a good way.  If you are on some dating app, then there is a high probability that your dorm mate with similar degrees or your co-worker with a similar salary is also on the app. These can’t be your USPs to get the right swipe. Let’s talk about pictures first. The first picture should be a solo (not a selfie). There should be one picture with an animal, preferably a dog. One picture in some outdoor or physical excursion activity. One in a social setting with friends with a proportionate ratio of both genders. And a couple of others on similar lines. The About Me section should never be vacant and generally have something witty and witty can’t be like ‘I am enigma waiting to be explored (go for a self-exploration trip)’ or this space is too less to describe me (because you are the god?). You should neither seem too clingy nor too ‘chill’.   To exemplify, I saw a profile of a college senior of mine where the bio started with the line ‘My IQ is probably higher than yours’. Now, there’s a difference between being a tease and being pompous. And this happened in Delhi, where the biggest part of a man’s body is the male ego. I immediately knew what I had to do when I saw her profile. I super liked it (she is cute :/).

Once you get a match, you need to remember the elevator pitch. The opening line should not a normal ‘hi’. It should be something personalized on the lines of the other person’s profile like ‘Cool hand tattoo! what does it mean?’ or ‘is that your pet, quite cute!’. You need to cut through the crowd but don’t ooze out with interest, or indifference. And prove that you are a sane person, not psycho. A great way to do it would be to share your social profile details which would prove that you are a legitimate person. Once this is done you need to move to exchange numbers. Once you are in their phonebook, you move from ‘that person I am talking to on a dating app’ to an actual person. Even on the phone, the conversations need to be short and witty. Don’t make it like hours-long pouring sessions for conversations from first pet to what dress that slutty co-worker was wearing at work today. You need to schedule an in-person interaction at the earliest. The date should be in a social setting in the late evening over drinks or just dinner.

The process of getting a date in the offline setting (eg. coworker) is quite similar except you expedite the process and are already in the phonebook.

The first date is very similar to a job interview. The most important thing to remember right at the outset, she/he is already on a date with you over numerous others who are of the same archetype so you don’t need to sell yourself. You need to show a fun, compassionate side which they haven’t seen before. Discuss their lives and hobbies, instead of yours. You need to act as a tease, pulling their leg constantly and also complimenting them from time to time.

Now at the end of the first date, there are different pointers for both genders. Girls should offer to split, not just because you are an independent adult but also because it’s to show that you’ll stand up for your personal opinions as a woman and won’t do anything which feels wrong to you. Also if the date went decent and you might like to see the person again, don’t be uncomfortable in ending it with a hug. Our bodies can tell us a lot more than our cognition.

That brings me to the Starbucks date, it was dark in the evening when their date ended. The guy had come by a chauffeur-driven car, but he didn’t even offer to drop the girl back. With the Uber world, it doesn’t quite matter and she would have any way refused but the chivalry and showing concern for a date is what makes you a man, not the fanciest of degrees or bucketloads of money. So that’s the pointer for guys, always offer to drop back, and even if she refuses, ask her to drop you a text once she reaches home safely. Such small acts are what make a man who everyone wants in life.



2 thoughts on “Unique Selling Proposition (USP)”

  1. Pingback: Gig Economy – MBAInDating

  2. Pingback: Marketing Funnel - MBAInDating

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *