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It’s Pepsi, is that alright?

Raising Giants #004:

Reading time, 2 minutes

Which do you choose – Coca-Cola or Pepsi?

Ultimately, it comes down to the taste you prefer.

But underneath, they’re basically the same type of drink. Their customers both have the same “problem” that they’re trying to solve: They’re thirsty for something sweet and fizzy.

So what makes them different, aside from taste, from a brand perspective?

Both of them have been around for over 125 years and are almost ubiquitous in their availability.

One one hand, Coca-Cola wants you to think of them as “Happiness in a bottle”. Recent straplines include “Taste The Feeling” and “Real Magic”, as well as the famous “It’s The Real Thing” which has been around since the ‘60s.

Pepsi is second best to Coke’s dominance, so they embrace that challenger status and position themselves as the alternative. Recent straplines include “Every Pepsi Refreshes The World” and “Live For Now”.

They also famously run the “Pepsi Challenge” blind taste test as a direct comparison.

At a brand level, they’re both so huge that their USPs (unique selling propositions) & differentiation are boiled down to these emotional hooks.

And both companies spend billions on marketing them each year, to ensure mental availability among consumers, in the never-ending war for market share.

Now, you may not have their billions…

But, as a new business, you still need to stand out from current or future competition (including customers just sticking with what they’re already doing).

So having your own USP is essential to differentiate yourself from others, and become the clear choice for your customers.

And it’s really important to have users or customers falling over themselves to use your product or service, if you’re trying to create the traction investors want to see.

If you’re out there selling, marketing or even just validating your idea, it’s worth working on your USP as soon as possible.

​ has a simple step-by-step guide you can use to get started on creating your own USP right now.

  • Make a list of what you know about your target audience.
  • Make a list of all the needs that your product or service could meet – these attributes are all potential selling points for your business.
  • Screen these against trends and competitors. Now remove the selling points that are already being well met by competitors. Don’t forget that your USP is a unique selling proposition so you are looking for a gap in the market.
  • Match each potential USP against what you and your business are especially good at, and how you want to be seen.
  • Conduct short interviews with about ten people in your target market to choose the strongest USP for your business.
  • Double-check that you have the right USP. Does it convey one strong benefit? Is it memorable? Is it clear who the brand is targeting from the USP? Can you deliver what it promises? Is it really unique – or could a competitor claim the same thing?
  • Use this positioning to develop your business and your marketing strategy. Evaluate your activities using your USP as a benchmark.
  • Keep monitoring trends and new competitors that could affect how customers see your USP.That’s all for this week, keep building!