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Whats your one thing - Three tips for creating your USP


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Have you ever thought about what sets your service or product apart from your competitors? What's the "one thing" you can say your small business has that no one else can claim?

In other words, what is your Unique Selling Proposition - also known as a USP?

Your USP is basically how you distinguish yourself from your competition. It helps you go from being just one of the crowd, to a head-and-shoulders standout. The USP is the core around which you build your company. It's the promise you make to your customers, to your employees, and to yourself.

Given the importance of a USP, you would think that all small businesses would have one. Unfortunately, most don't. Instead, they adopt a "just buy it...because" mentality for no particular reason. Many think that if they throw enough money into advertising, the customers will come. That may work in the short-term, but if you're in it for the long haul, and you want to grow your business to its maximum potential, you need to develop your USP.

Ready to get started? Before you begin, keep the following three points in mind:

Simplicity Don't load up your USP with all the things you think your product/service has going for it. Pick the one thing you can own. Are you more experienced than your competition? Maybe that's your USP. Are you faster, cheaper, more expensive (but worth it)? Keep it conceptually simple and you will have a USP that sells. I may be showing my age here, but remember Wendy's "Where's the beef?" campaign? There were a lot of claims Wendy's could have made, but they chose to focus on a bigger-meat burger. Genius simplified...and the rest is history.

Specialness Your USP needs to reflect a quality that your competition can't (or don't) claim. Other competitors might have or do what you have or do, but if you claim it, you own it. If you are the only one who claims the USP, then in your customers' minds, you're the only one. Think about Heinz ketchup. They became the number-one selling ketchup by being the slowest. Obviously, other ketchups are thick and rich, but Heinz claimed it in a very unique and creative way.

Sales Appeal Ultimately, you want to position your product / service as the best choice for your customer. But it will be difficult for you to do this if your USP doesn't reflect a real customer need. Before you decide what your USP is, make sure you're in touch with your customers' needs and desires and your competitors' positionings.

Realize that your USP is different than an advertising slogan. It's the basis for your advertising slogan, but it's not the same. Typically, a USP stays fairly consistent year after year, while an advertising slogan sometimes changes every couple of years.

Creating a dead-on USP and using it as the basis for all your marketing and advertising materials can transform your business. Think about just how powerful that can be to your bottom line.


(c) Copyright 2008, Donna Williams, All rights reserved.

About the Author

Donna Williams is the founder and creator of - a website dedicated to helping small businesses grow to their maximum potential. She is also a 25-year advertising / marketing executive, creative director, writer, and producer. Together, Donna and her husband currently own and co-own five small businesses. You can read more of Donna's articles at her website

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-09-24 19:38:56 in Marketing Articles

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