Unique selling propositions are the great differentiator in marketing. No doubt, that they’re make or break. A solid USP in a green economy ensures that you set yourself apart from competitors.

Furthermore, your unique selling proposition is the asset that empowers you to communicate clearly and authentically with your target market.

The thing is, there has been a dramatic shift in how companies engineer their unique selling proposition. As technology, economics, and general public need changes, so must the way you frame your products and services.

What’s Changed in the Marketplace?

As USPs remain in a state of evolution, businesses are going green. And it’s a very smart move.

You may have noticed a drastic shift in the way many companies conduct business. As our planet faces the crisis of climate change, industry leaders realize that they have an important role to play.

On one hand, looming environmental catastrophe presents human peril. As a result, socially conscious entrepreneurs such as Maria Mayanja of Angaza LTD and Elon Musk of Tesla Motors created socially conscious/eco-friendly companies.

These business owners embody personal responsibility and concern for humankind. So is this to say that corporate CEOs and entrepreneurial trailblazers will join a hippie commune?

Not exactly.

On the other hand, there is also an immediately practical reason that companies transition to “the Green Business Model.”

Eco-friendliness is good for business. Green energy is cheaper. Recycled products and renewable resources end up saving on overhead.

Plus, expressing social responsibility in marketing campaigns taps into a new constituency. No matter if we’re talking about ethical fashion or electric vehicles, the green economy requires an update to your unique selling proposition.

While entrepreneurs have more freedom to position themselves, the need for eco-marketing has prompted million- and billion-dollar industries to adapt their USP. For example:

Starbucks highlights their use of recycling in stores and explains how they only employ ethical sourcing of agricultural products. When you go to get your caffeine fix, you buy a product produced by wind, hydro, and solar sources.

Keurig Green Mountain makes their commitment visible within their website content. The company strives to “preserve human health and the environment from potential impacts of our activities, products, and services.”

Burt’s Bees produces a sustainability report plainly visible for their prospects and customers. They even employ a little storytelling to explain their commitment:

“When honeybees want to communicate—to show the location of food, say, or a great new place to live—they perform a waggle dance.

At Burt’s Bees, we have a waggle dance of our own—it just takes a slightly different form. In the past, we released our own formal reports detailing our commitments and goals; the 2012 Sustainability Report was the final report of this kind.”

Arcadia Wind Power built an entire business off the need and desire for clean energy. Their USP is based on user experience and accountability. In allowing homeowners to track their energy usage, Arcadia Wind Power makes it possible for their audience to improve the environment in just 3 minutes time.

How to Adapt Your USP for the Green Economy

You know your USP will set you apart. For over a century, major players use their USP to rise above competing companies. For example:

  • Geico—the company that promises that 15 minutes of time will result in massive savings and more coverage on a necessary product.
  • FedEx—the first parcel delivery service that offered overnight shipping, which attracted a ton of businesses to their B2B platform.
  • NyQuil—the product that allowed people to sleep so they can feel better. (In other words, provided the means to an end.)

But now that the green economy is taking front and center for the next generation, small and mid-sized businesses can take on a leadership role. As entrepreneurs, we can transition to the eco-friendly business model faster and more efficiently than the corporate bigwigs.

Factoring green initiatives into the USP is the most advantageous starting point. The following criteria will help you re-engineer your position in the marketplace:

  1. List all benefits of working within your sustainable business model—both the practical elements (lower costs) and the emotional portions (it feels good to go green.)
  2. Describe the differentiators. If you work in a crowded market, what better way to stand out than to create eco-conscious service offerings?
  3. Focus on the audience. Unless you work with a group of people who enjoy dumping toxic runoff into the town water supply, many prospects will be interested in green initiatives.
  4. Condense everything into a couple of sentences. If you can’t deliver the info during an elevator ride, then the USP is not properly fleshed out. Even though details are important, you’re also looking for “a spirit of the promise.”