Remaining one step ahead of your competitors is essential to the success of any business, regardless of size or niche, due to the fierce competition evident in today’s crowded marketplaces. Defining your USP or Unique Selling Proposition is a major part of this process, but for many small to medium enterprises simply identifying the essence of what makes their business stand above the crowd can be difficult, especially if you are just starting out.
We have compiled an essential guide to identifying your USP and explore how you can develop this to become a market leader in your particular industry and target your sales efforts more effectively.
Why is having a USP so Important?
As we’ve mentioned a USP puts your product or service ahead of the rest so you are able to attract the customers and clients your business deserves. In addition to this, demonstrating a targeted USP is an essential aspect in successful business branding and demonstrates to your customers what makes your company special and the right choice for them.
Your USP should display key messages about your brand and in turn, allow your core demographic to meticulously organise your products or services into categories and rank them from there. The clearer your USP is to the customer, the better your position will be within your target market.
Where to Begin When Defining Your USP
Your target audience plays a key role in interpreting and developing your USP. Whilst it is advisable to define your USP and stick with it, it is important to acknowledge that any USP needs freshening up to stay in tune with their audience and it is recommended that your USP evolves as your business does.
Whether you are a start-up or an established business, getting started with defining your USP begins with your customers. Understanding the people who buy your products, utilize your services or invest in your brand and their needs is essential if you are looking to build a memorable brand that is valuable to your audience. By highlighting why your target audience may choose your business in particular, you can decipher what makes your company better than your competitors and use it to your advantage in upcoming marketing and advertising campaigns. Don’t be afraid to talk to your audience direct and ask them why they use you in particular and what others or your business may be lacking in the process.
Compare Yourself with Competitors
The next step in identifying and strengthening your USP is to use these points and compare yourself to your competitors. Recognizing what needs your competitors cater for and giving yourself some constructive criticism can help you deliver a better product or service, even if you are in competition with market leaders that have bigger budgets than you. Just because a rival company ranks higher or achieves better sales than you, this doesn’t mean they are delivering an unbeatable service. Use your own business to build on your competitors’ weaknesses and learn from their strong points to gain competitive advantage, unlock new opportunities and emphasise your USP.
It’s not just your competitors that you can draw inspiration from, take a look at your wider market to highlight key trends and develop your USP further.
Positioning your Brand and its USP
By answering the following questions you be well on your way to defining your USP and the outcome with help you to convey key messages and position your brand in the wider marketplace.
- Why should your customers believe in your brand, product or service?
- What gives you the edge over your competitors?
- How does your business stand out in the wider market?
By answering these three questions you should be able to make a series of strong statements about your brand and how it is unique. If not, then it’s time to send your business model back to the drawing board! These statements will form part of your key message, which can be used to communicate your USP via your marketing, branding and advertising strategies. Every part of your business, from letterhead and brochures to your branded website and TV ad campaign, should clearly validate your USPs.
This article was written by Brittany Thorley from Think Big Comms. Outside her day job as a business consultant, Brittany blogs about business branding, marketing and management, sharing her expertise to help businesses of all sizes succeed.