If you are from the branding , marketing or related industries, surely you remember being fed up to the brim with the concept of USP, the idea that every brand must single-mindedly push a single unique position, for it to rise above the clutter of ideas and media, and capture that elusive space in the customer’s mind. Well. That space still remains tough to reach, but media space is no longer as scarce. Infact, now media is everywhere, including blogs that reach dedicated audiences, building-specific touchscreens that cater perhaps to a particular industry type working there, and ofcourse, the most customised of all, the personalised advertising targeted to individuals based on their search preferences and so on.
With this fundamental change in the medium, can advertising itself remain unchanged? Read this excellent paper by Mohammed Iqbal, a planner at O&M Advertising. It argues convincingly for the death of the USP, and the proliferation of multiple messages that can be “chosen” by audiences. Its lucidly written, and most relevant, considering how consumers are more and more becoming involved in the messages that they choose to receive and pay attention to, moving away from the linear sender – receiver theories. The paper is based on the “long-tail” theory that has received attention for some time now. The difference is that long tail usually stressed on the availability of multiple products thanks to easing out of bottlenecks in distribution channels (think online purchases of little known albums/other niche products which a store would never stock). Here the theory is applied to the concept of messages that a brand can own/send. Go read….its 20 pages of time well spent!