Every entity, be it a nation, State, a body corporate of either a philanthropic or commercial orientation and even an individual, needs a simple essence for success: a Unique Selling Proposition, technically known in marketing and sales as USP.
A USP is a DNA that distinguishes, for example, Wilkins Mijiga’s value to the entire web of relationships, acquaintances, affiliations and contacts that he has, comes into interface with or belongs to, and how they experience him.
Does he leave smiles and happiness when he is gone or heartache, disillusionment and heartbreak; making the contacts either looking forward to another encounter in the future or abhorring the prospect of such.
The USP is of critical importance in any existence because it is what manifests into the worth and wealth of every entity, nation, State, body corporate, community and a person. This is so because all entities above exist in a space where there are a multitude of entities like them and all are in competition for the same given and often limited space and resources. Therefore, for each entity to be viable in that space they must demonstrate value.
The ethos of value is derived from a concept that whatever an entity is bringing onto the table will solve other entities’ problems, offer solutions, enrich the wellbeing of some or alleviate deficiencies or pain of others.
For value to be tenable, the value delivering entity must do so better than any other entity in the given space. When the foregoing conditions have been met, then the entity can claim possession of a USP.
There are and will always be a myriad of cases where the concept of USP fails to hold. Such cases have a plausible explanation in the phenomenon of information asymmetry whose theory is a treasure trove requiring its own fully fledged discourse and thus, suffice to say, that for today we stay content to only use the concept of information asymmetry as a major explanation as to why the USP and value proposition (VP) phenomena does not always hold.
Allow me now to make a real life connection of the USP concept and the failure by Malawi as a society and an economy to harness its potent value and profit from its wisdom and achieve greatness as a nation.
Malawi, in my humble and self-deprecating admission of possible bias, is a monumental example of the failure to understand the USP concept and in turn the failure, therefrom, to use the USP as a tool in enabling Malawi become a vibrant economy and consequently a great nation and State.
The validity of my assertion is that Malawi is in every true sense of the words, generally a land of unique peace and tranquility. Its people abhor and detests violence and possess a unique heightened fear of injury and pain, except of course that arising from poverty, hunger and starvation as demonstrated by the fact that notwithstanding the abundant gift of water given to them, most Malawians still starve because of poor rainfall.
So most Malawians would rather die from starvation, poverty and destitution than from strife and fighting and as a result Malawians are mostly warm hearted, permissible and in some cases easily docile folks.
Much as Malawi boasts of being the warm heart of Africa, the painful irony is that it has failed to combine that with the spellbinding beauty of its lakes, rivers, hills, mountain peaks, parks and wildlife, forests and valleys to market itself as the number one destination in the world for tourism that is like none other. I distil my argument by putting all this failure down to the lack of a USP.
As we look to 2016 and beyond, I have taken it upon myself to ignite the discourse for a USP for Malawi in the hope, albeit naïve as it might sound, that it will provoke some real debate that will result in immediate tangible action.
Kindly watch this space as next week we will examine and dwell on Malawi’s USP in terms of the richness and unique tastefulness of the produce of its land and agro-industry. n