The term USP (Unique Selling Point) can sometimes feel a little corporate, especially for us creatives who often lean towards instinct and creativity when running our businesses. But, having unique selling points really is at the core of your brand, and if you don’t know what they are, then your customers won’t either.
It is especially important in over-saturated markets and for any online-only businesses as it is so easy to get lost amongst all the ‘noise’ online. Knowing your USPs will also make it so much easier to build your marketing content as you can highlight these aspects of your brand and in turn, attract the right audience.
To really dig deep into this area, we ran an Creative Session last year with retail expert Joanne Griffin of Arnold and Bird. This is still available to watch, but to give you a taster, Joanne has shared 5 top tips to help you start identifying your USPs and how to use them…
TIP 1: identify your brand keywords
Start big by listing as many keywords as you can that represent your brand, this be edited down later. To help you come up with these words, ask yourself a few questions about your brand: How do you want people to feel when they come to your brand? What is unique about you, your skills, products or processes? What are you good at and enjoy? What words do you already use regularly about or in your business? What are your superpowers? What do you take for granted that you are amazing at?
Once you have brainstormed a large list, take the time to whittle this down to around 5-10 words that you feel really are key to what you offer. Consider if these represent how you want your business to be portrayed.
TIP 2: Reaffirm why you are unique
Mindset is key when it comes to business and goes hand in hand with strategy. So even when times feel hard, use your USP’s to remind yourself how great you are! You can even create affirmation cards about why you are unique. Put them in a prominent place and they will help to reaffirm your business beliefs every day. You can also use these cards to sense check decisions you are making in your business .
TIP 3: Make your brand USP’s visual
If you’re a creative person then making things visual will be key to keeping it front of mind. Therefore it is worthwhile representing your brand USP’s visually on a mood board. It could be on Pinterest or the old school way with magazine cuttings. Consider what colours and shapes come to mind when you think of your words? What visuals, patterns and illustrations are you drawn to? Can you reinterpret these into your keywords in a new way? Also, it is worth looking outside of your niche for inspiration to get a different perspective on how you can represent your brand.
TIP 4: Create a brand identity board
Alongside your more general mood board, you can then bring everything together in a more concise way on a brand identity board. There is a PowerPoint template in the Creative session workshop or you can look online for brand identity boards for inspiration. It should include your branding, USP’s, values, your ‘why’, ideal customer etc.
TIP 5: Use your brand USPs to stand out
Apply everything you’ve created to your marketing, tone of voice, graphics and copy. Don’t just leave it in a document – use it! Use the uniqueness you’ve identified to stand out. When creating your marketing content, don’t just highlight price, material, discounts, or the steps of working together, actually highlight how your product or service will make your customer or client’s life better.
It is SO important to be clear on your brand identity and what is unique about your business, so if you’d like to delve into this a bit more, then do have a look at the Creative Session Joanne hosted for us – HOW TO IDENTIFY YOUR BRAND USP’S AND USE THEM TO STAND OUT.
For more small business tips, check out these previous posts:
5 tips on getting press for your small business, with 91 editor Caroline Rowland
5 tips on Photography for small business with Jemma Watts
5 tips on using video content for your business with Hazel Gardiner
or you can watch the short videos on our IGTV.