It can be very challenging for a business to drill down and articulate what makes their business distinct from its competition.

It’s called the unique selling proposition (USP). And, according to, a USP is “the factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition”.

Businesses that struggle to identify their competitive advantage can find it difficult to put together an effective marketing plan that delivers a healthy return on investment (ROI).

Is a USP that important?

A USP is a marketing campaign in itself. We all want to be memorable when we market ourselves to our target audience. The perfect way to do this is to have a well-defined USP. This will boost your potential customers’ ability to absorb your USP as a new memory.

Furthermore, a well thought out USP allows you to make a compelling selling proposition to your customer. “Buy this product because of this benefit” is much more effective than “Buy this product”. Consumers will have a distinct reason on why they should buy from you and they will understand what differentiates you from the other brand offerings in your category.

Let’s be clear, this is not about creating a unique product or service, it is about making your service/product and its features stand out in a congested homogeneous market. There are many insurance brokers that provide or sell a product similar to yours. A USP is your opportunity to make what you sell as different as you possibly can.

Is your USP truly unique?

Too often we see businesses take the common path of boldly stating they provide the best customer service, have a great quality product or that they have been in business for 25 years.

Your clients expect (and deserve) great customer service. They also expect (and assume) that when they part with their hard-earned cash they are receiving a quality product or service in return. Longevity in your industry is great, however and unfortunately, in today’s world it is hardly unique.

You are selling yourself short if you are advertising that these are the elements that differentiate your company from your competition.

Positioning your USP based on price, particularly in the professional services vertical is a risky move too. It is relatively easy for a rival to copy and it encourages your customers to shop around purely based on cost.

So, what does your business possess that is difficult to replicate? What is the special thing that no one else has that they would love to get their hands on?

How do you identify your USP?

There are several effective ways to identify and hone your USP.

Regardless of which approach you wish to take research is always the most important step. Look at your recent client wins and client losses. What were the reasons that the new clients came on board with you; equally why could you not convert the losses? Scan your competitive environment. What are your competitors offering? How does this compare to what you are offering? What attributes of their product are they talking about that you can contrast and highlight in your own? Look at your target market and consider how you are qualified to serve this market. Be mindful of not taking the easy option of highlighting your longevity in the industry – Rhys Kerr Insurance is already doing this down the road. If what you highlight at each of these discussion points is not different to your competition, keep going back to the well until you distill your uniqueness. Going through this process will strengthen both your brand and marketing presence.

*This article was first published in NIBA Insurance Adviser:

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