MY favourite sports shoes are Asics. I started running two years ago and it is something I enjoy doing several times a week. A year ago, a friend suggested that I try Asics shoes. I bought my first pair and have used them religiously. When I wanted another pair of sports shoes, I didn’t look at other brands; I went straight to the Asics display and got another pair. What’s the unique selling point (USP) of Asics? It’s the gel inside the shoes that’s able to absorb and disperse the pounding action, minimizing damage to the runner’s feet.

A USP is what makes your product or services stand out among the crowd. A USP draws in interested customers, closes sales and helps you with word of mouth. Your happy customers will tell their friends and that kind of marketing and PR is priceless. To give you another example, Bangkok is a haven for foodies. There are a plethora of restaurants and bars. For the most part, prices are reasonable. You can dine out most nights in Bangkok without breaking the bank. The places that stand out in people’s minds are those which offer something unique. It could be the food, ambiance, friendly service, convenient location or a combination thereof. For us, we enjoy awesome crab cakes at Bourbon Street and once a week we treat ourselves to mouth-watering spaghetti and meatballs at our cozy Greek hangout, Olive.

As a business owner, you may be thinking about your own USP. To help you define your USP, check out your competitors. Review their marketing messages. What do they do to distinguish themselves from others in the market, and what makes them successful? After considering the competitor in the market place, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and see things from their point of view. Analyze the customers’ motivation and decision making process; get to know why customers buy from you as opposed to your competitors.

Creating a USP requires soul searching and originality. Know from the start that you can’t be everything to everyone. That is, unless you’re the owner of Walmart. Avoid the trap of becoming a “me too” brand. You want to carve out your own authentic niche. When you’ve made a choice that resonates with you and your stakeholders, it will reverberate with the customers you attract. If you’re looking for inspirational reading on the subject, check out this book: ‘Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant’ by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne.