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You have to be unique and fill a special
niche to be successful in the marketplace.
Unique: Clearly establish how you are
superior to your competition; why you are
the logical choice and what makes you
Selling: Stock the products people are
prepared to pay for and make it easy to
trade with you.
Proposition: Have a proposal or an offer
that is compelling, even irresistible. Set out
the offer clearly and guarantee service and
Your USP is the force that drives your
business and success. It is your brand
that deploys strategy with every marketing
effort you use such as an advertisement,
a postcard or web site. This allows you to
build visibility and a lasting reputation—the
place everybody knows and talks about
positively eg “Oh yes, go there, they have
a great range, they are so helpful.” The
place that is recognisable by the consistent
branding and message.
IDENTIFY A RETAIL GAP
Retail newsagents need to identify the
retail gap now that so many of their core
products can be purchased elsewhere.
Distribution agents need to identify the
opportunities now that home delivery of
products is rare, internet ordering requiring
delivery is flourishing and the Post Office
What do you have today that is unique?
Which needs are going unfulfilled within
either your industry or your local market?
At times of change there are often gaps left
in the marketplace. There is nothing quite
like a newsagency in any part of the world—
why has this model been so successful?
Which parts remain relevant? Which
parts need to change to provide what the
WRITE DOWN YOUR USP
Brainstorm with your staff, customers,
family and friends about what makes your
Take all the details about your product/
service/offer from your research and sculpt
them into one clear and concise sentence
with compelling salesmanship fused into
every single word. Write your ideas on
The most powerful USPs are so perfectly
written, you cannot change or move even a
The most famous example of a USP
is Domino Pizzas: “Fresh hot pizza
delivered in 30 minutes or your money
The product is inviting—it’s fresh,
hot, fast guaranteed. These three things
automatically distinguish Domino Pizza
from the competition. And when it was
first coined, it appealed directly to starving
students who didn’t have the time or
inclination to make a trip off campus.
USPs are everywhere. Magic conditioner
shampoos that promise a woman she won’t
get painful tangles when she combs her
hair. Training shoes with flashing lights that
make your child glow in the dark and stand
out in the playground. And food that comes
from Fairtrade suppliers and which eases
your ethical conscience.
A USP can be based on any number of
• Price – you are the cheapest or most
expensive? Your price includes a wide range
of bundled services?
• Product Ingredient – your product has a
special ingredient that few know about?
• Positioning – you are the expert in
your field or niche? You publicly associate
yourself with what you do?
• Time – you deliver within better time-
scales than your competitors?
• Scarcity – you have what few can find
and even fewer can afford?
• Convenience – is it easier to shop with
you than elsewhere?
Creating your own USP is a voyage
of discovery. Start to think in terms of
USP when you go to the shops or watch
television. Work out what they are and why?
And look at your competitors. Do they have
one? If so, what are the factors and how is
DELIVER ON YOUR USP’S PROMISE
Be bold when developing your USP but be
careful to ensure that you can deliver. Your
USP should have promises and guarantees
that capture your audience’s attention and
compels them to respond to you. Having a
strong USP can make your business a big
success or a big failure if you don’t deliver
on it thereby ruining your reputation.
1. Gather together a couple of people from
your team, or who know something
about your business or put yourself in
the shoes of others in your industry,
especially your prospective customers.
2. Pinpoint the types of things others might
say about the products, services of YOUR
newsagency. Don’t hold back—include
stereotypes and every positive and
negative you can think of
3. Make a long list.
4. Now, read your list. What makes YOU or
your company different?
REMEMBER: It was never meant to be
a. Survey your customers
b. Check the demographics of the area
with your local council. Find out age and
incomes group of your people in the area.
c. Know what’s going on. Look for new
developments in your region.
d. Participate in local events, join or form
a Chamber of Commerce so the entire
shopping precinct can build a USP.
e. Create a business plan to accommodate
HELP AT HAND
There are lots of resources and ideas on the
internet about USPs. Google or try:
Which needs are going
unfulfilled within either your
industry or your local market?
HOW TO... find your USP?
A USP is something that sets your business favourably apart from the competition.
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