What is USP?
Ever wondered why you choose some brands over others? What’s the real difference between Starbucks and Second Cup? As you embark into the world of business, one of your key goals is to create something that isn’t already being offered. You aim to provide something unique and original, and to tell a story that hasn’t been told before. This is your unique selling proposition (USP). USP is what sets brands and products apart even if they’re in the same sector and similar in nature. It’s the reason someone might choose Starbucks over Second Cup, or vice versa.
According to Moya K. Mason, there are “472 million entrepreneurs worldwide attempting to start 305 million companies, approximately 100 million new businesses (or one third) will open each year around the world.” Trying to compete with that number means creating something consumers want and will pay money for. It’s essential to find your competitive edge and create a rock-solid USP and stand out.
Why you need a USP
Your USP is also your competitive edge and is something you can directly market to your customers. Finding your USP is not easy, but it’s paramount for succeeding in a busy market. Here are some tips to help you find your USP.
1. Define Your Target Audience
This is not the first time you’ve heard this nor that last, but developing your target audience in order to strategically assess its psychographic and demographic information is the first step to finding your USP. Demographics include things like age, gender, race, location, while psychographics are emotional, like personal preferences and interests. Researching and targeting the audience you know will be interested in your product will enable you to define the appropriate messaging and design. It will also allow you to get inside your customer’s head to figure out what they’re looking for. Some people are brand loyal, some just want the best quality for their money. Find out what your customer wants and be it. Be transparent and exude your brand’s values. If you’re targeting a niche market, look to those unique customers and get inspired by their interests. Don’t look at a similar products customer base, but instead look where they’re failing and exploit their weaknesses. Learn from where they’ve gone wrong.
Another essential aspect worth looking at when defining your target audience is knowing how to tell your audience how your product is different. Why should they buy your product over someone else’s? What are the key differences that make your product better? If you’re able to clearly and intelligently portray this message, you’re one step closer to creating your products USP.
2. Branding, Messaging, and Design
To properly and efficiently sell something, it needs to be sellable. There needs to be an audience with their wallets open, ready to use the product you’ve researched, developed, and entered into the market. While your product might be amazing, it’s nothing without the right branding, messaging, and design. Putting a face to your product that will let you tell its story without you being there. The right colours, shapes, fonts, sizes, smells, words, and messages will attract certain people over others. That’s why finding our target audience is so important. You want to cater to the type you’re selling to. By finding out who your target audience is and what they like, you’re even closer to finding your USP.
3. Ads and Marketing
It isn’t just the way your product looks, smells, or feels, but how you market, advertise, and publicize. For instance, Toms Shoes market themselves by using social responsibility as a backbone to their company. If Toms wasn’t donating a pair of shoes to a child in need, they would be any other slip-on fabric shoe, as that style existed before the Toms logo appeared. Toms are unique, however, as no other shoe company is using this USP for their brand. You don’t need to donate one of your products every time someone makes a purchase, but look at market precedents and learn how they mastered their USP.
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