How many times have you heard this term? What does it mean?
Basically, it means how your product or service differentiates from the competition. But what if we apply it to people and preliminary work.
I am opposed to any service, as free. Specifically, interns' contributions and what we call advertising "spec" work. Everything has value or, as the axiom states, "you get what you pay for."
A warm energetic body is not your whipping person for drudgery work. They provide a function you probably don't care to do yourself. They deserve to be paid.
A campaign strategy or conceptual presentation has value. It should not be a requirement to obtaining a project. Remuneration should be expected.
This poor business model has existed for decades and is permeating other industries, such as architecture and broadcasting. I have also witness "spec" business or marketing plans, for various industries.
Stop this practice!
Anything of value deserves compensation or it has no value.