How to Identify Your USP
Updated: Aug 18
Having a USP is essential to creating proper marketing and business plans. It may seem small and trivial, but, as you go through this process, you will understand why having a USP for your brand is necessary. Take your small business and brand marketing to the next level by following these steps.
What is a USP?
USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition. Your USP is what you tell customers and potential investors. It’s a summary or slogan that is a guarantee of the quality or service that you can provide.
Describe Your Target Audience
Knowing your target audience is essential to creating your USP. It helps to create a story or a lifestyle about who your client is. The more specific you make your target audience the better. Establishing your audience in the USP process will help you in other processes too, like sales and marketing. It’s not easy to narrow your specific audience down, but start off with the easy things like gender, age, profession, etc.
Define What Problem Your Product Solves
What problem are you solving for your client? Is it an obvious problem or are you solving a problem your client doesn’t know they have yet? For example, before the pencil eraser was invented I bet people didn’t even know that this was a problem that could be solved by something so simple and small. The unique selling point of erasers could have been “save your paper, correct mistakes with a flick of the wrist.” The bottom line is, you need to convince people they need you, and that your product will make their life more convenient.
List the Special Features or Benefits of Your Product
You should let clients know what sets you apart from your competitors. If you are selling soap, what makes your soap better? Is your soap cruelty-free, organic, or paraben-free? You need to pinpoint what sets your brand and your product apart from the standard that is being sold already.
Define Your Promise
What can you promise to do for your clients? It can be as simple as quality customer service with a smile like Chick-fil-A. The Chick-fil-A brand has become synonymous with service with a smile no matter what location you go to. You need to create your promise to your audience with those same thoughts in mind. What will you always guarantee when they shop or support your business?
Compress and Summarize
Go through the previous four steps and pick out some recurring statements and ideas. From there, you should be able to form a paragraph, as a summary, about your business. Think of it as an elevator pitch. If you were in an elevator with someone, and you only had one to two minutes to tell someone about your business, but you want them to be intrigued, what would you say? That’s exactly what this step is, trimming the fat and getting straight to what you represent and what makes you different from everyone else in your market.
The End Goal
You should be able to answer clearly and concisely the customer’s main question, “What’s in it for me?” It can be as simple as a slogan. For example, Jimmy Johns says that their sandwich making and delivery is so fast that it is “freaky fast.” As a consumer, that lets me know all I need to know about the company. It tells me I won’t be waiting an hour to get my sandwich delivered to my house, which is a great USP. The end goal is to know exactly what you are about as soon as they hear your slogan, catchphrase, or entire USP summary.
Take what you learned from this new knowledge and apply it directly to your current marketing plan and watch how your outlooks on marketing completely change. Having a USP will not only change how you market but will also change your day-to-day interactions with your customers. Using your newfound USP will let you know how to appeal to your customers in all the right ways. All you have to do is trust the process and get creative.