Is Your USP Really Unique?


Sometime ago, I wrote about developing your 30-second commercial and five of the key points that go into making a successful elevator pitch. Part of that pitch can be your unique selling proposition, or USP.

If you’re wondering what a USP is, it’s the words, phrase or sentence that defines what differentiates you from your competition. The reason people should do business with you instead of with them.

If you already have your USP and use it every chance you get, let me ask you this – Does your USP contain the phrase(s):

  • “best/stellar/great customer service”
  • “lowest prices”
  • “fast delivery”

If so, then your USP, is just a selling proposition, because I can pretty much guarantee that it’s not unique. Those are great selling points, but they are very commonly used – so much so that they are almost meaningless to the person hearing them.

Your USP should be some combination words (3 words separated by commas works) or phrase or sentence that really embodies the essence of your company.

Not sure where those words should come from? How about starting with the words your customers use to describe you, the company, and/or your products and services.

Got a truly unique USP? Please share it by leaving it in the comments area!

Great Marketing, Bar None!


I’m sure that, over the years of posting this blog, that I’ve mentioned Disney once or twice (or more). I just spent 2 days at the Disneyland Resort, and I am once again amazed by the marketing genius it takes to convince people to part with a minimum of $92/person to enter a park where you spend half your time waiting in line and probably 15 – 25% of the remaining time in gifts shops buying stuff that is basically a promotional product that most companies give away!

To understand how that can come to be, you need to understand that branding is not really about a logo. Yes, the logo is the visual representation or mark of a brand, but a brand is truly created by the experience the customer has when interacting with that product or service. The Disney brand, for example, is not about the many different logos that make up the overall branded Disney image; it’s about the experience people have when they connect with the Disney products:

  • their memories of a favorite Disney animated movie they went to with their grandparents
  • a wonderful experience at Disney theme park
  • being a favorite Disney character at Halloween

What made me connect to Disney? Well, after going to Disneyland about every other year while growing up, I thought Disney was just ok. When I was 38 years old, we took our then 6-year-old to Disneyland. It was her second visit and it was her birthday. We got her a “Happy Birthday” pin at City Hall and she wore it proudly all day. Almost every cast member we came across that day noticed that pin and wished her a “happy birthday.” My daughter felt like the most important little princess at Disneyland that day. That made me a Disney brand believer.

It’s the little things that make or break the branded image and it’s the interaction of customer to company that determines what the real branded image is going to be.

When Technology Fails


We had a challenge in our office this week – our internet and phone service were sporadic to non-existent from Sunday through today (Wednesday morning).

Now it’s true that we still had cell phone service, so the phones being down wasn’t a complete disaster. I forwarded the office phone calls to my cell phone, so all is well – except of course for the lack of a fax line and the one incoming fax that kept ringing through to my cell phone for an hour before it gave up.

And I was able to connect my cell phone to the computer to give us a Mi-Fi connection, but it didn’t work as well as our regular connection and my phone’s battery got very hot and drained very quickly.

So, yes, it was a difficult and challenging few days.

What couldn’t suffer, however, was our customer service. We did what we had to do to oversee client orders that were in production, to continue to communicate with clients/prospects who were in the order process, and to be available to our clients, suppliers and contacts who had questions.

Technology failure or not, if we’d not been able to follow through and follow up on the most critical action points and most sensitive customer touch issues, our marketing image would have been a disaster.

Are you prepared to fulfill your customer’s need when technology fails you?

The Social Media Marketing Hype


I belong to an on-line chat group of fellow promotional product professionals (try saying that 3 times fast). Today, the subject came up of one of our group having been endorsed on LinkedIn for a skill she doesn’t feel she truly possesses by someone she’s never even done business with. Really????!!! What is that all about?

Before I go any farther, I publicly admit that I am on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest, but only for business reasons. I feel that not having a presence on at least some social media in today’s society is akin to not having a basic Yellow Pages listing was 25 years ago. A presence in these forums seems to give a business some, if not greater credibility.

That being said, do I find true value, professional or otherwise, in these forum? Not so much. For all that people tell you it’s all about “relationship building,” how does a “friend” you’ve never met and shows no interest in your past your acceptance of their friend request; or an endorsement by someone you’ve never done business with translate to relationship building?

Then there are the people, like the guy on my Facebook stream, who bought into some urban myth about his personal information being available to the world if you don’t go in and change your privacy settings for him in your friends list. The guy doesn’t want personal photos that he’s posted on Facebook available to just “anyone.” So, first of all, he asked me to friend him, but he’s never met me at all. Doesn’t that make me just “anyone”? Then, dude, if you don’t want something made public, why are you putting it online to begin with?

Relationship building almost never starts online. It starts with a personal connection – either someone you already know; someone you’ve met at an event, function, or at the supermarket; or through a personal introduction made by a common acquaintance. You may be able to help solidify such a relationship through social media channels, but you may also blow the relationship by over-sharing.

Please don’t rely so heavily on social media that you lose the ability to interact face-to-face or voice-to-voice.