My Library and Courses
Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Create A Truly Unique Selling Proposition

Creating a unique product, especially if you are working in an ancient category, takes work and inspiration.

Key Question:


Create your unique selling proposition.

Rosser Reeves went to work in 1940 for the New York City-based advertising agency, Ted Bates and Company. Twenty-one years later he published his thoughts about advertising in a book called, Reality in Advertising. Mr. Reeves is considered to be the inventor of the concept, USP, or unique selling proposition.

In Reality in Advertising, he attempts to clarify his definition of unique selling proposition. He says:  "Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. Not just words, not just product puffery, not just show-window advertising. Each advertisement must say to each reader: ‘Buy this product and you will get this specific benefit.' The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique -- either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising. The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions, i.e., pull over new customers to your product."

  Why and how did Anne create her unique selling proposition?

A: I want to suggest that Anne was smarter than Mr. Reeves. While he was in the business of selling anything and had to write ads that would cause a consumer to let go of cold hard cash in exchange for the item Mr. Reeves was writing about, Anne took his idea a step further.

Anne created a unique product that customers sell for her. Anne's unique selling proposition is a flavor sensation. It is a satisfying bread product that has to be experienced to be believed. It is wholesome because it is low fat and made from wheat. Historically, bread is considered to be, "the staff of life."

Anne is full of common sense which is the reason she and Jonus knew their pretzel had to stand out against the competition. In the Pennsylvania Dutch region of this country, there are soft, hand-rolled pretzels everywhere. Anne had never read Mr. Reeves book. She just knew she had to come up with an over-the-top flavorful product or she would have to go back and work for someone else.

Working at night in their own kitchen, Jonus convinced Anne to let him add a secret ingredient to the dough. The result is what we taste today. It is a secret and just like Coca Cola, the recipe is under lock and key.

Create a truly unique selling proposition and you don't have to hire an ad agency to crank out copy that may or may not deliver the sales.

Q:  "Can I franchise my business?"  Anne and Jonas had seven stores and they were exhausted. They began to allow others to sell their product with a licensing agreement, then they realized that they would be better off developing a franchise business.  How does a business owner determine if a particular business will succeed in a franchise format?

A: First, you need to succeed yourself. Establish one profitable location then hire an expert in franchising to look at your business. This consultant can guide you through the process which does involve federal regulations. Carl makes it clear that an idea is not good enough, you must have tested the idea and be able to prove that it is a viable business.

We learned this same lesson from Gary Solomon, the founder of FastSigns. He ran his own location profitably before he brought new owners into the organization. Believe it or not, there are franchise concepts out there that have not been through the reality testing Anne and Gary applied.

Don't even think of taking money from a person and making them a franchise owner of an operation that you yourself have not made successful.Do you have more customers than you can serve? Do you have more locations than you can manage? Do you believe customers in markets where you do not now have a presence would buy your product/service if it were offered there?

Think about it

What is ordinary about your product/service? What is unique? What do customers say about your product/service? What would make your product/service more unique?
Do you have more customers than you can serve? Do you have more locations than you can manage? Do you believe customers in markets where you do not now have a presence would buy your product/service if it were offered there?


Clip from: Auntie Annes Pretzels

Anne Beiler says that everyone is teachable and lovable.

Gap, Pennsylvania:   An angel investor stood by her while bank after bank turned her down because the purpose of this business was to make money then give it away.

Meet Anne Beiler, founder f Auntie Anne's Pretzels.  Anne's generous spirit is infused throughout this company and it is their secret ingredient.  Anne has proven that her franchisees want to run a business built on love. While most franchise companies have to market to find new owners, Anne has to turn away hundreds who want to buy into her concept. Products topped with her love of people make Anne Beiler a leadership example to follow.

In 1988 Anne Beiler turned a mistake into a new product. Today, Auntie Anne's Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels are baked fresh in over 800 locations and are the perfect high carbohydrate, low-fat, back-to-the-basics snack so many people crave. Customers will part with over $500 million a year to enjoy this hot treat.

So now, we travel out to Gap in Pennsylvania's Amish Country; it is a simpler place. And though it may be an unlikely place to be running a fast-growing business, maybe there are lessons here for all of us in these hostile times.  This business is based on love and on giving. This is the American Dream. It has come alive for all the right reasons.

Go to all the videos and key ideas...
Go to the homepage of this episode...

Auntie Anne's Inc.

Anne Beiler, Founder

160-A Route 41
Gap, PA 17527

Visit our web site:

Office: 717-435-1610

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1988

Create A Truly Unique Selling Proposition

 ANNE: This is my wonderful husband.

JONAS BEILER: I'm Mr. Auntie Anne.
 HATTIE: Jonas, Anne's husband, also grew up in the kitchen where his duties included baking bread, pies, cakes and hand-rolled soft pretzels. And you're the one who found the secret--


HATTIE: --to make the pretzels special.

JONAS: Yeah. I brought the secret ingredient. She didn't want to let me put it in at first. She didn't want me to add that, and then I did anyhow after about three weeks.

HATTIE: Why were you so pushy? Why did you just keep insisting?

JONAS: Well, because I knew it would work.

From my experience as a kid, I was the baker in our house.

Not a member yet? Learn!  Be empowered! Join us!