5 Exceptional Examples of Unique Content and Selling Propositions
Learning is often best done by example, so below I’ve highlighted a small selection of brands that use their unique selling proposition to stand out (and succeed) in some tough marketplaces.
1. Man Crates – In a stellar example of machismo made fun again, Man Crates is an online store that ships “stuff guys like” in wooden crates that have to be opened with a crowbar. While the items themselves make for great gifts (e.g., customized beer mugs, grilling equipment and beef jerky), it’s the unique positioning that really sells this brand. Man Crates is oozing with personality at every turn, and as a customer myself I had a hearty laugh at the company’s help page, which boldly shows you this:
Few companies could get away with a help section that tells you to try harder, but when it’s guys buying gifts for other guys, not following directions (and not asking for help!) is simply a rite of passage.
The bravado here is welcomed and doesn’t cross over into areas where it doesn’t belong; when I contacted Man Crate’s customer service about a wrong delivery, the representative was quick, helpful and friendly, showing that exceptional service takes priority over their brand’s image.
2. Everlane Apparel – As previously mentioned, the way you build your product and the values you stand for can be important parts of your unique selling proposition. Everlane apparel stands out from the crowd in this respect.
The company culture wholeheartedly promotes what they call radical transparency; they pride themselves on a diligent, upstanding process for the manufacture of their goods, with the motto, “Know your factories. Know your costs. Always ask why.”
Since Everlane sells what they call “luxury basics,” product differentiation isn’t achieved through flashiness, but through a sincere interest in how the company makes their goods, conducts business, and gives special attention to their craft… down to the last v-neck.
3. Ellusionist – Can a company really make a playing card deck interesting? Ellusionist can. Their whole business is built on selling things that are different—a must given that what they sell are 52-card decks! How do they make these interesting and profitable? By appealing to a highly specific customer: magicians.
One of the cardinal sins of selling physical products online is offering something that consumers can find at any ol’ store. Ellusionist countered this by offering flashy, unique decks of cards that you really can’t find anywhere else.
And since they cater to those interested in showmanship via card tricks (and the occasional extravagant poker player), they’ve cornered a niche market instead of just being another producer of cheap decks of playing cards.
4. Saddleback Leather – Saddleback Leather’s company tagline is, “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead.” Combine this with an “Our Story” webpage that includes a picture of a machine gun, and no one can accuse Saddleback of being a company lacking personality.
5. ThinkGeek – Hobby stores for geeks are another example of an industry with a lingering reputation for personality defects; they are often characterized as weird and filled with snooty employees who look down on beginners.
ThinkGeek, in comparison, is all about community, with unique features like customer action shots and an emphasis on novel products that build on already existing communities. (As a guy who still owns a Super Nintendo, their retro gaming section is much appreciated.)