Stand Out in the Crowd: How to Identify a USP and Own Your Brand


A USP (Unique Selling Point or Unique Selling Proposition) is essentially what you do better and/or differently than everyone else. While this can be interchangeable with a slogan, generally a company or personal slogan is an offshoot of your full USP.

When the company that is now known as FedEx came out, they knew they’d have to do something quite spectacular to compete with the Post Office. They focused on guaranteed overnight and express delivery. The USP, “we’re going to make overnight deliveries and guarantee your package,” is translated into the phrase of “when it absolutely positively has to be there overnight.” I’ll dissect coming to a USP like that in a minute, but let me ask you:

What’s yours? What do you do differently than anyone else?

If you’re like most of my clients and friends, your immediate response will likely be, “I provide a higher level of service.” Or, if it’s a business, “Our uniqueness is really our customer service. We care where other companies don’t.”

Ironically, I bet if you called and asking your competitors if they cared about their customers, they’d probably mention that “Actually, WE really care about our customers. All those other guys care about is money.”

As such, customer service is a terrible point for a USP. You need good and fair customer service to survive—otherwise you’re a con artist, not a professional.

So, what is a good USP? Let’s discuss the original FedEx USP:

“When it absolutely positively has to be there overnight.”

Notice that this USP does not: include any of the following:

  1. Mention their service/customer service
  2. Talk about pricing
  3. Is really a tacky slogan

Instead, this USP solves the customer problem. You (the consumer) need a package delivered overnight. Or, you need a package delivered quicker than the Post Office can deliver it.

Their USP is really about solving your needs. It’s not about how much better they are, it’s about what they do for their consumers.

So, we now know that a good USP is about solving your client’s needs, but how do you make that unique?

It’s much simpler than people think it is, so here’s what I want you to do:

  1. Write down why you do what you do. What got you in this industry in the first place?
    1. If you got into your niche/industry just to make a lot of money, or are having trouble with this, simply ask yourself, “why do I love what I do?”
  2. What does your target audience want?
  3. How do you solve this problem?

My answers would be:

  1. What does my target audience want?

Real world solutions to use the internet to grow their brand, increase their revenue, and better serve their clients with new technology.

  1. Why did I get into this industry in the first place?

I had learned a lot about marketing, sales, and branding by performing and leading bands, working in recording studios, and helping clubs promote themselves. In 2009, when business went “social,” business owners started asking for my advice, and I quickly realized I could help a lot of people achieve their dreams in the sea of “hype.”

  1. How do I solve the problem?

By applying my “Brand First” Advertising concept. Meaning, I get to the core of who the business is, help them shape that up, and then use the proper online marketing tools to grow their business and brand.

With that, you now have your brand and USP:

“I want to help business owners use the internet to grow their brand, annual revenue, and to better serve their clients with new technology. I spent years using online marketing before others even gave it a chance, and I learned a lot of lessons you can’t read in a book. As such, I have developed a ‘Brand First’ marketing concept—and use the proper online marketing tools to grow my client’s brand or business.

You see, I don’t regularly share the paragraph above, unless I’m teaching people this concept. I use it as an internal message to help me with:

  1. An elevator pitch (this is a short summary to quickly and simply tell people who you are and what you do professionally).
  2. A slogan
  3. Blog posts, articles, and content
  4. Your unique voice.

In later articles I’ll show you how to develop a good elevator pitch and the other two items, but I wanted to focus on how this became your “unique voice” in a matter of minutes. This is a private statement you can keep to yourself, to use to wrap your “public” statements. However, when you write this down—I bet you’ll find yourself reflecting to it the next time you’re “on the spot.”

Since this exercise has helped you become so hyper focused (why do you do this, how do you do this, and to whom do you do this for) it would be almost impossible for this voice to be copied exactly. While this process may seem overly simplified, your personal brand should be simple. The issue my firm runs into (in consulting, branding, marketing, and so on) is when we’re trying to coach someone who only does what they do for the money. I can promise you, if you’re doing what you do professionally only for the money—you will never be able to build a unique personal brand.

What’s your personal brand using these steps? Leave me a comment below and let me know.

Image: Credit Steven Depolo