Understanding of the terms core competency, competitive advantage, unique selling proposition (USP) and unique consumer perception (UCP) and the relationship between them is very vital for the marketer. Let us understand the terms and marketing cycle with reference to these core concepts
An area of specialized expertise that is the result of harmonizing complex streams of technology and work activity. e.g. Innovation, R&D, Mass production usage of technology, reliable process. The core competency of Reliance Group is building the record capacities in record time. Organizations need to understand what they are good at or the exceptional skills that they possess. That becomes core competency of the organization. It is not enough to be best in this area of specialization to consider that as core competency, one should be excellent at the same.
Competitive advantage is a position a firm occupies against its competitors. A firm possesses a sustainable competitive advantage when its value-creating processes and position have not been able to be duplicated or imitated by other firms. Basic Competitive Advantage is cost leadership, product differentiation and focus.
Core competency creates competitive advantage for organizations. As mentioned earlier core competency of Reliance group (Capacity building) gives then cost leadership advantage to them. Similarly reliable process has given competitive (Product/service Differentiation) edge to the Mumbai Dabbawala’s over its competitors
Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
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. e.g. Head and Shoulders – Dandruff remover, Volvo – safe drive, Armani’s – Status and design, Fedex – Overnight delivery of parcel. USP is elaborate form of competitive advantage to create distinct image in the minds of the consumer (positioning) which is easy for consumers to understand. Strong USP would ensure brand recognition and brand recall.
Unique Consumer Perception (UCP)
Our perception is an approximation of reality. It is based on stimuli to which we are exposed to. Marketers try to create a positive perception about the brand or company through USP. Unless the UCP is created brand awareness and brand recall is not possible to achieve. In case of Mumbai Dabbawala’s UCP is reliable service.
Consumer expectations are based on unique perception about the brand or the company. After availing the service or buying the goods consumer compares the expectation with performance and that decides whether consumer is satisfied with the same.
Hence any flaw in the process of understanding core competency, creating competitive advantage, communicating USP and in turn creating UCP may lead to failure of the marketing system.
Sushant Joshi, Dean (Administration), Jain College of MCA & MBA, Belagavi, Karnataka
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