The unique selling proposition, or USP, is a concept every startup should be familiar with. But those three initials can spell difficulties for many businesses.
“You are competing with other businesses for customers. They need help deciding who deserves their time, their money and, critically, their trust. Finding that thing to differentiate you will help them make this decision.”
Finding Your USP
A USP is the thing that makes a business and its products or services different. It is not restricted to any one thing, and may be a combination of different things. Finding it, however, can be challenging.
“Many people go into business because they care about something enough to do it, or because they see an opportunity to make money. What they choose to do, however, may not be different enough from what many others are doing”
In other words, the product or service may not be unique on its own terms.
This then becomes a strategic task: discovering an angle, or a quality, to your business that will work as a USP.
“It may be how you treat your customers, or the prices you charge. It could involve the way you communicate, or the personality your business expresses. The important thing is that it resonates with your target audience and that it becomes a clear, marketable asset.”
Your Target Audience
“Why do people buy in the market in which you’re operating? What are they looking for, and can you supply it? You must list the reasons why they should buy from you.”
Next, look at your competitive advantage. What specific things is your business good at, in a way that can make it stand out from the rest?
“Don’t neglect your competitors. Look at what they are doing and how they serve the same market. Then determine what you can do differently”
“It can be helpful to create a profile of your ideal customer, based on who you want to sell to, and what qualities you think will make them want to buy from you.”
Once you understand all about this ideal customer, they can become the basis for your marketing activity.
“The perfect person to sell to should form the basis of the audience that you target your marketing at.”
Broaden Your Viewpoint
“It can be too easy to become locked-in to your own world-view, especially if starting your business is consuming all your time and energy. Therefore, it is important to gain some perspective.”
“Look at the trends in your industry. See what needs no one is currently meeting. Project ahead, and try and get an idea of what trends and developments will matter most in five years’ time.”
If you can do this, can you extend the advantage your USP gives you to cover these trends and meet these emerging needs?
Test and Refine
Business is not a fixed position. It requires agility and adaptability. Things change and so do the approaches of competitors. What once seemed new can become commonplace.
“You must test your USP and keep looking at the different ways you can position your brand. Be prepared to refine it, but don’t seek to change it too often,” Hywel concludes. “Think in terms of keeping it fresh without altering its core meaning.”
Discover more about APD Resolutions and how they can help you to to develop your USP and position your brand, by:
For an accompanying read, please visit:
- Strategic Planning: Are You Destined to Fail?
- Competitor Analysis: Do You Really Know Your Competition?