How a Four-Year-Old Leveraged His Unique Value Proposition and Crushed the Candy Competition

You’ve probably heard the term unique value proposition (UVP), which is how your company or product can uniquely solve a problem that a customer has. The UVP tells customers why they should pick you over other companies and services.

And if you get your UVP nailed down, it can make a dramatic difference in your sales and brand recognition. I thought about this concept after I had a 4th of July parade with my family and had seen this in action — with our four-year-old son.

This parade is a big deal in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Over 30,000 people line the streets to watch the two-hour parade. People actually set up their chairs the night before to ensure they’ll have a good spot. The crowd is two rows deep from the curb and lined up, shoulder-to-shoulder.

We attended the parade with my wife’s family, including her cousins and their children. We had about 25 people in our group, including nine children.

As you can imagine, for the kids, the parade is all about the candy. And you know the drill: companies and organizations march with the parade, passing out flyers to the adults and throwing the children handfuls of candy.

Our four-year-old is one of the youngest of the kids in our group. So he’s one of the smallest, and in my opinion, the cutest of the bunch.

As the parade rolled by, I noticed a common theme.

As the candy tossers approached the groups of children, the kids would mob together and compete for the small handful of candy that was thrown at their feet. Our little guy was having a hard time getting his fair share amongst all the other bigger, faster kids.

But the kid is cute. Really cute. And friendly. And those two qualities were a part of his UVP.

However, in the crowd of eight other children swarming the candy throwers, he wasn’t able to leverage his UVP and kept coming up empty-handed. No one can tell how cute and friendly you are when you are bum-rushing the candy thrown to the ground with eight other kids.

His marketplace was a little too crowded. So how could his UVP of being cute and friendly really help him to shine and stand out?


When I saw he couldn’t compete with the crowd, I decided to change his marketing strategy to leverage his UVP, to get him out of how competitive marketplace.

Instead of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with his cousins, I moved him five feet down the road from the group. I suggested that he just stand there and when the candy people came along, he would just stand still, smile, and wave, with his candy bucket in hand.

The results were amazing. As the people with the buckets of candy approached our crowd, they would throw a handful of candy to the eight kids.

But after walking a few miles of the parade and throwing handfuls of candy to crowds of swarming kids in the afternoon heat, the candy throwers finally saw something unique:

A sweet, cute boy, smiling and waving.

You could see their faces light up and they happily rewarded his UVP with handfuls of candy — which they placed it directly in his bucket.

By the time the parade had finished, he had a grocery bag full of candy — and he got it with nothing more than a smile and a wave.

At the end of the day, with that real-life marketing case study of our four-year old’s successful candy acquisition strategy, I couldn’t help but think about the companies I’ve worked with over the years. The companies that identified, leveraged and marketed their UVP were like our cute little four-year-old.

While their competition was fighting over the scraps from a small group of the same customers, these winning companies focused on what they did best and were overwhelmed with new and repeat business from customers who loved their UVP!

A competitive marketplace doesn’t have to be intimidating! It can actually be inspiring. You just have to have the right tools and the right mindset to connect with the right customers.

But if you haven’t gotten your unique value proposition for your business and your products or services sewn up yet, then you’ll be like those eight other kids, fighting for handfuls of candy.


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