Your Promotable Advantage


Is your business different from your competitors? What do you offer above and beyond what your competitors provide? With what do people associate your business? You need to actively define what is known as your Unique Selling Position (USP). This concept was introduced by Rosser Reeves (then the chairman of the Ted Bates Advertising Agency) in the 1950’s. The USP is meant to tell the prospective customer three things:

1) What you specifically have to offer

2) What you do that makes you special that the public did not already know

3) What you will do for them that would make them want to do business with you (a short pitch in less than fifteen seconds)

The USP usually comes in the form of a tagline that is used with your company name. In a nutshell, your USP is the tool with which people identify you. It makes them think about what makes you special. In Ford Motor Company’s case, its USP implies that you should try out a Ford NOW even if you had one in the past. They are positioning themselves as having improved their vehicles’ ride, comfort and quality with a simple USP in the form of a question. Typically the USP is presented in a statement rather than a question but you have to use what works for your business. There are a couple ways you can approach your Unique Selling Position. Here are some famous examples:

Ford – Have you driven a Ford lately?

Federal Express – When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight

Xerox – A simpler way to do good work

7-Up – The uncola

Or you can be even more descriptive on your business cards, letterhead, advertising, packaging etc.

Here are some excellent, more in-depth USPs:

“My company helps small business people who need help creating practical accounting procedures in order to keep accurate, easy-to-use records on a daily basis.

“Our goal is to create eye-popping trade-show booths for progressive companies who want to sell their products effectively while having the luxury of easy set-up and tear-down of their area. ”

Think about why your prospective client should do business with you instead of using another company or just doing nothing. Really think about what makes your business different and what benefits you offer people. The market is too competitive to ignore the necessity of a strong Unique Selling Position.