Remember in school when it was all about fitting in? Well in business – it’s all about standing out. Your unique selling point (USP) is what differentiates you from your competitors – in other words, what do you have that no one else does?Having a clear USP is an essential ingredient to any successful brand, but it’s especially important if you’re looking to advertise and promote your business. If you don’t have a clear point of difference and a reason for customers to pay attention to you, you may as well through your hard earned advertising dollars down the drain!Think of some big global examples – do you often find yourself curbing a pizza craving with Domino’s because of their 30 minute or less guarantee? Do you go to FedEx when you need something to be delivered overnight? These brands have built an empire off tapping into their USPs. So how do you do it? Here’s five ways to get started –Listen to your customersWhen your customers are talking, are you listening? Every review or testimonial they write, they are telling you what you’re nailing and where you’re failing. It’ll give you an insight into what your customers actually care about – which you have to understand in order to target your USP. It could even open your eyes to a USP that you hadn’t thought of! Customers aren’t just pay checks, they are a well of insight and information, tap into it and figuring out your USP will be a lot easier.Recognise your shortcomingsYou’re not perfect – no one is, and it’s not a bad thing to recognise your weaknesses. For a lot of people, particularly start ups, self-employed workers and family companies, being self-critical can be hard. But, it’s a crucial part of figuring out your USP. You need to know how to improve, and also where not to focus your message.“Though this can be difficult, the faster you recognize your weaknesses, the faster you can hand it off and focus on your strengths.” Gary VaynerchuckFigure out what benefits you provideSit down by yourself or with your team and start brainstorming what product or service you provide that is beneficial to your customer. Don’t be broad (e.g. every hire car company could say a benefit of their service is that they can provide you with a clean and serviced car). Get specific (e.g. we hire out the most economic vehicles on the market).Hippie Campers understand their USP – they’re accentuating the cool combi vibe by comparing their vehicles to ‘plain and boring’ hire cars. Photo credit: Hippie CampersUnderstand your competitorsYou don’t want to spend weeks creating an awesome USP only to figure out it’s the same as everyone else. Being a copycat is a sure fire way to blend in and get forgotten. That said, you shouldn’t discount what your competitors are doing altogether, it’s good to know what they’re up to so you can try and go one better. It’s all about finding out how to position yourself as number 1 in today’s crowded marketplace.“Don’t look to copy other people because most marketing channels are saturated and expensive. Start thinking outside the box and consider testing new means that aren’t as easy to copy.” Neil PatelGet preachin’Once you’ve got it down – get it out there. Don’t sheepishly sit on your idea with the fear of failure hanging over you head, if you don’t try you won’t know. You need to focus your materials on the difference you’ve highlighted, things like –Press releasesMarketing contentPaid advertisements Qantas focus on being the nation’s most prominent airline in most of their advertisements. “The spirit of Australians – home grown, home made.” Photo credit: QantasYour uniqueness is your opportunity to take control of the market. Through clever marketing of your identified difference you could go from run of the mill – to top of the game.Do you have a successful USP? Or are you still trying to uncover yours? If you need some help identifying what really sets you apart – contact us today and ask about our discovery sessions!