Good Morning, David Elliott here again. I’d like to talk for a few moments about something that cropped up recently when I was with a very good business contact in an “alien” situation – alien in the sense that he was facing potential overseas customers. One of them asked him quite simply “What is your USP?”. Unfortunately this completely flummoxed my business contact and it made me think that it’s something worth considering in any business. What do we mean – what is meant by “USP”? In simple terms it is Unique Selling Point. Now, I like to assess this in the way that .. if you take a photograph, and haven’t quite got everything set up, the image you will get is quite fuzzy. If, however, everything is set correctly you will have a very sharp image which reflects exactly what you are trying to do. So, a USP for a brand, for a company, can allow that company to set a very clear image of what it is and what it is trying to do. If you think of some famous advertising campaigns.. Heiniken for example talks about “refreshes the parts”, Dettol talks about “Dettol Protects” and from the car world, Volvo successfully created an image of safety. All of these aspects were able to allow the brand to differentiate itself from the crowd – to give a sharp focus and to allow a single-minded approach to marketing and sales, so the fuzziness has gone.

Now you might think this is only applicable to large companies, to major brands, that have got huge advertising budgets. Now that’s not really the case, because a company that does not try to differentiate itself, who does not try to create a USP, is allowing itself to be placed in the category of a commodity trader. So you do that at your peril. However, how can you do it if you’re a small company? Well, lets take an example of creating a USP around something as straight forward as a plumber. Well, plumbing is plumbing is plumbing! But, how can you differentiate yourself? Well, there are several ways – first of all, if the boss of the company is seen to be involved with all processes then service is enhanced. If responses are timely both in terms of enquiries and pricing, then, again, people start to think “well this business is a little different!”. So you can build up a cluster of small things – e.g. car parks for customers. You can change the approach, you can have an excellent receptionist. You can do many, many little things to make yourself stand out from the crowd, so don’t waste the opportunity. Ideally, this USP can be stated in a few words. In some cases, if you’re internet based, it can be a one word USP. This needs to be worked out very carefully. If, however, you succeed, then I’m sure you will be able to build yourself a unique position within your own marketplace.

Thank you very much.