Image of flying saucer to illustrate If price is the only thing that differentiates your offering from that of your competition, you’re selling a commodity.

If you’re not a brand, you’re a commodity.

Part of your branding strategy is nailing down your Unique Selling Proposition (or USP). Leaving your USP up in the air can ground your brand.

Crucial to branding your business is to determine what makes your product or service standout — that specific benefit only you offer to your customer. That is your Unique Selling Proposition.

So how can you determine what about your business is special and different? What is it that you offer that makes working with you more beneficial to your customer? What is it that you can provide that will make prospective customers switch to you? What is the one thing that you want customers to remember about you?

How To create Your Unique Selling Proposition:

  • First, look at your Ideal Customer — your brand persona — and determine how you will tailor an offer that will appeal to that customer. What does that Ideal Customer want…and need?
  • Narrow the niche of your offering — simplifying what you offer makes it easier to ascribe a benefit to this niche offering.
  • What do you do or offer that is unique to your product or service?
  • Fill in the blank: “I/We am/are the expert(s) at _________.”
  • Look at your competition — what do they do that you could do better, faster, cleaner, with better design, more efficiently or less expensively?
  • Survey customers to ask about their perception of your business; get their objective view as to what you do best (or what you shouldn’t focus on).
  • Even if there are similar companies to yours, providing similar products or services, figure out what it is you offer that can make you stand out from the competition.
  • Focus on your customer’s pain point — what issue can your product or service resolve?
  • Lastly, be brutal in narrowing your USP — the more specific it is, the more effective your sales and marketing efforts will be.

Don’t base your USP on something other companies can provide (customer service, discount prices, free shipping). Instead, focus on that which sets you apart: your company story, materials you use, special processes, particular expertise, a distinct product or service feature.

The test: when someone hears or sees your name, she should be clear on EXACTLY what you do and why she should hire or buy from you. Plus, being clear on your USP makes marketing your product or services so much simpler – you know which audience and channels to address. Create a valid USP and your audience will focus on (and buy from!) you.

Examples Of Unique Selling Propositions (USPs):

Tesla: “Premium Electric Vehicles”

M&Ms: “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand”

Enterprise: “Pick Enterprise. We’ll Pick You Up”

Domino’s Pizza: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free”

Beats by Dr. Dre Wireless Headphones: “Feel The Music, Not The Wires” “The Best Dating Site for Farmers, Ranchers, and Country Folks like You”