“Had I tried to fit in, Nasty Gal would have crashed and burned a long time ago. The last thing the world needs is another boring person or another boring brand, so embrace all the things that make you different.” Sophia Amoruso
The truth is that very few businesses are truly unique. Look around you. How many coffee shops, boutiques and jewelry stores are really that different from the next? Not many. Not being different is the kiss of death for your business, Instagram or even your blog.
Your Instagram = Your Brand
When I refer to your brand or business, think of it as your personal brand. Your Instagram and social media are an extension of you and your personal brand. When customers cannot see a reason to buy one product over the other, they will choose the least expensive. If there isn’t anything differentiating a group of products, if they seem to have the same value and quality the cheapest product wins. A well branded product will give the customers a meaningful reason as to WHY they should buy the specific product. When you have differentiated your brand, you can then add premium prices to your product. People will pay for what they value. For example, coffee, running shoes and cars are commodities, but Starbucks, Nike and Mercedes Benz are brands. People buy expensive shoes from nike because Nike has positioned their brand in their customer’s mind as superior over other shoe brands.
You need to be able to carefully and concisely target your specific audience through your messaging and design. You need to create a motivating difference by creating a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) to guide your efforts and cater to your audience. THE USP is the most important thing you will create for your brand. The USP will be your one sentence reason as to why a customer should follow your Instagram.
I work with a lot of solopreneurs and entrepreneurs that believe they have a strong USP. Sadly 9 times out of 10, they don’t even have a USP. Do you know what sets you apart from your competitors? Is your difference compelling and concrete?
Creating the USP
Your USP is Your Brand’s Name + Your #1 Unique Specialty (AKA the difference that makes the customer want to buy from you rather than the next guy). Your USP is meant to be short, concise and distinct. Creating your USP requires you to be committed (think “married”) to a single path, a single big idea. Too many people try to feature too many things. Listing all the features of your brand can actually hurt rather than help. Our brains remember one thing, so it is best to commit to one path.
Some examples of solid USPs are:
Example 1- Volvo is the #1 Safest Car.
Example 2- Voodoo Donuts is the #1 tourist attraction donut shop.
Example 3- Bad Bitch Branding is the edgy, feminist brand coaching program.
A USP is invaluable because
1. Sets you apart in the industry.
2. It makes your big idea so clear that everyone- the manager, the customers and even the
janitor can repeat it.
A strong USP = Sales, BABY!
A strong USP will result in more sales, more competitive strength and more growth in your brands. In some cases brand expert, Bill Schley, notes that he has seen sales go up from 10-100%. Having a clear USP is absolutely transformative.
Creating a USP can take a lot of time, especially if you aren’t creating totally new and ground breaking products. Most of us are creating products or services that have a lot of competitors. The first steps to differentiating your brand is to:
- Know your competitors. If you haven’t done the research on your competitors, how will you even know if you are different?
- Write each of your competitor’s unique attributes or their differences in the marketplace. (If you can’t find their difference, this is good news for you!)
- Brainstorm about what sets you apart. Things that set well branded companies apart are their unique attributes, compelling brand stories, brand values and their mission. Think about Tom’s shoes, “buy one give one”. That is their mission and that is their USP.
- Spend as much time as you need on your USP. Everything you design and create is based off your USP