Have you ever wondered why people are drawn to certain celebrities, songs, television commercials, or other interests? The French refer to it as je ne sais quoi, or the indefinable quality that makes someone special. It’s the “it factor.”
Sales, marketing, and advertising executives call this USP, or Unique Selling Proposition. It’s a term that refers to the unique features of a brand, product, or service that differentiates them in the marketplace. Being able to set yourself apart from competitors is one of the most important elements in branding and marketing. Once you figure out what the it factor is, you find a way to communicate it that resonates with your customers (and sponsorship prospects).
Discover your it factor by answering these questions:
- What are you most well-known for?
- What do you do that no else does?
- Who is your target audience?
- In other words, how can you describe yourself in one sentence in a way that explains what is truly unique about you/your product/your organization?
Sometimes your it factor isn’t what you think it is. Sometimes it isn’t even related to what you consider your product. For example, Jennifer Lopez is known for her rear end rather than her musical abilities.
Here are some popular ways to frame a Unique Selling Proposition:
- The Crossroads USP: Combining two seemingly unrelated idea and bringing them together in an interesting way., “Dolly Parton playing heavy metal” would be a unique music style.
- The Metaphor USP: Using an overarching metaphor to describe the brand, product, service, idea, or approach. For instance, Neiman Marcus sells luxury while Wal-Mart sells bargains.
- The Persona-Driven USP: Having a persona be the voice and symbol of the brand. The particular person is what sets the organization or products apart. Martha Stewart is great example of this.
- The Exclusive USP: Being the only source for a certain service, information, or product.
…and that’s how begin branding your business.