How To Create A Powerful Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

  • By Andy Fox

Say you’re at a ‘networking dinner’, or you could be enjoying a Sunday picnic with your family and friends, when someone walks up to you and poses the inevitable question, “So, what business are you in?”

Now, do you start stumbling with your answer and begin to ramble on and on, in an attempt to highlight the benefits of your product/services?

Or do you have a quick and powerful, well thought out line, that immediately conveys what your business stands for and how it enables you to ‘stand apart’ from your competitors? In other words, Do you know your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?

The Entrepreneur Encyclopedia defines Unique Selling Proposition (USP) as: The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition. 

These days, it's pretty much a given, that if you want to be ‘visible’, jump out amidst your competitors and make a powerful ‘first impression’ that immediately spikes the interests of your customers or investors, you need to be armed (at all times) with a powerful USP! 

You’re lucky if you’ve found the right prospects at a casual family picnic, as you could tout about your business with all the time in the world. But realistically, whether it’s a fast-paced networking event, a conference meet, an advertising or a marketing campaign, if you’re not able to deliver your business idea/concept and ‘wow’ your prospects within the first 30 seconds, then you could very well be losing your grip with the prospects.

The best USPs don’t beat around the bush. They take a unique quality of the product/services or the company and explain how that ‘quality’ will benefit the customers, all in a few, yet powerful and memorable words!

The following are a few things you may want to consider, if you’re looking to create a powerful USP for your business:

Get Inside Your Customer’s Head 

First thing’s first. How well do you know your customers?

It's important to identify your target audience or your ‘User Personas’. What do they like or dislike? Where can you actually find them online, or offline for that matter?

What are the pain points your products/services solve for them? You need to be able to explicitly list the factors that motivate their buying decisions. And most importantly of all, why would your customers choose your business, over your competitors? 

If you’re able to answer these questions correctly, then you can identify your ideal customers ‘inside-out', which will form a foundation for you to develop your USP.

It’s always good practice go back to the basics and revisit your mission statement, business plans and overall business goals to form a clearer picture of the consumers your business caters to.

How’s Your Product Unique In The Market? 

So what’s the magic in your business, product/services that is better, faster, different or cheaper than your competitors?

Does it taste better? Is it a ‘hassle free-one click’ solution, rather than a complex process? Does it address the ‘emotional’ need, ‘makes your customers confident, or proud’ when associated with it? Taking time to list these unique characteristics of your business, will help you discover ways in which your business stacks up against your competitors, and how the customers can truly benefit from it.

For instance, take M&Ms, their USP is as simple as: The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

Though a bit quirky, the USP immediately attracts customers’ interest, because it adds value to them. There are thousands of chocolate brands in the market, and with much greater quality than M&M, but none of them has ever claimed the candy shell will prevent the chocolate from oozing out dirtying your hands. An awesome attention grabber which makes a lot of sense to the customers!

Make An Irresistible Statement or A Promise! 

People are always wired to notice anything that appears to be out of the ordinary. Any idea that speaks of a promise or a statement which is beyond the norms or the status quo, immediately catches our fancy, and demands our attention.

Take the statement/promise delivered by FedEx, “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight”. Though there have been other brands providing similar services, this USP and branding of FedEx led it to become the most sought after brand for courier service, with its name being a household generic name for delivery services, including; Kleenex, BandAid or Coke.

How about Domino’s Pizza? Though their slogan is a bit lengthy to find its place in the heads of the customers, it sure does provide an excellent USP to remember it by.

The slogan: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it's free!” – is indeed a bold promise and a guarantee that's simply irresistible.

The slogan has cleverly conveyed its USP which subtly nudges the customers to place the order, by offering a window for ‘free delivery’ and also laying out terms to hold the company accountable if the product is not delivered in stipulated time. However, the brand doesn’t offer this USP anymore because they had to face many car accidents when delivery drivers drove in hurry to beat the 30 minute time limit.

An important aspect of having a Unique Selling Point that beats the competition, is to not vie for too many features/benefits. For instance take StarBucks. They started as a small coffee shop in Washington, to become the most popular brand selling premium coffee to the world.

If StarBucks compromised on their quality and competed with existing petrol stations selling coffee at 99 cents, then they wouldn’t have found the success they’re looking at now. Instead they went for premium coffee at higher prices and serving various high-quality coffee beverages.

The interesting take here is, they also don’t stand for gourmet breakfast sandwiches or amazing smoothies, but if you want one along with your delicious coffee, they’ve got quite a selection to choose from.


So, what business are you in?

I hope you’ve got enough ideas to start creating your own irresistible Unique Selling Propositions.

If you'd like further assistance or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.

Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email

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Andy Fox - Author

I have a firm belief there is only one great challenge in life… And that is… To be the best version of you possible. I have lived my whole life to this tune. I love that I am not perfect and I love that every day I get up and make at least one change in my life that makes it better, one change that takes me closer to my life’s goals.

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