How to Define your USP

Although Amsterdam has not been so busy lately, this does not count for the startup scene. However, in times of crisis, it is more important than ever to distinguish yourself from the fierce competition. Naturally, you know that what you are offering is the very best in the market, but have you convinced your (potential) customers of this as well? Time to go over your USP (unique selling point/proposition). Your USP should play a fundamental role in your branding strategy, as it articulates what benefits your products/services offer over your competition. But how do you define your USP? How do you communicate it? And how do you make sure it withstands? Luckily, we are here to help you get on the right track.

Market Research
Where would we be without some good old-fashioned market research? Exactly, nowhere. So, first and foremost, it is essential to conduct extensive market research, in order to identify what truly motivates your target market. What influences their buying decisions? What do they care about? So, talk to your customers! If you just started off and do not have customers yet that can provide you with those insights, try to obtain this data from your competition. 

The FAB Statement
If you have not done so yet, create a FAB statement. FAB stands for features, advantages, benefits and helps you understand why the customer would buy your offerings. Here’s how to go about it. 

Create a list of features of your products/services, identify one or two advantages that this feature brings, and most importantly, describe how those advantages translate into benefits for the customer. Let’s say you are selling organic wine. Features could be that no sulfites or synthetic additives are added during the production process, resulting in the body being better able to break down the alcohol, an advantage. The benefits? No hangovers and customers will experience better overall health compared to “inorganic” wine-drinkers. Those benefits are what you want to communicate, because the consumer is more interested in paying for “better overall health” than for just “organic wine”.  So, the benefits represent the reasons your customer chooses your products over the competition’s. 

 As such, the only thing that is left to do, is to flip the FAB statement. State the benefit, then explain how the benefit is achieved using the advantage and the feature. Thus, you are not selling organic Merlot. No. You are selling a hangover-free life, as the lack of synthetic additives in your Merlot enable the body to naturally break down the alcohol. This might sound straightforward, but you would be surprised how many entrepreneurs still get this wrong.

Marketing & Sales
Once you have identified what your USP is, make sure you actively apply it in all your marketing and sales efforts. As such, create a catchy tagline around it, use it in your social media posts or make it a theme in your monthly newsletter. As such, a certain consistency will be communicated to your (potential) clients, which will provide clarity, professionalism and the reassurance that you, indeed, are the very best in your field. 


Some Inspiration
In many cases, a company’s USP can be expressed in one or two lines. Here’s a few examples of established businesses that got it right

M&Ms: “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”
Colgate: “Improve mouth health in two weeks”
Dropbox: “Dropbox keeps your files safe, synced, and easy to share. Bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and never lose a file again.”

Do you need assistance identifying your USP? Maybe we can help. 

About Amstel Lab
Amstel Lab partners with startups and scaleups to commercialize your business. On the back of our experience, we have developed the unique Amstel Lab method: a tailor-made approach to maximize success. We test your markets, refine your product, innovate your commercial approach and execute your strategies. Any good idea is worth seeing through. 

Want to learn more? Contact us through [email protected]