Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Finding your Unique Selling Point...

Ok, picture and post topic have little to do with each other today but it's spring and I'm feeling 'springy' so here is a picture I took last Spring on day out with my Mam!!

Anyway, back to business....

Someone asked me this week 'What is your Unique Selling Point?' I stumbled over my answer...  erm... My work is made by me, which is pretty unique, as I don't make work for anyone else. I couldn't think what else to say but the more I thought about my USP, I began to realise there is a bit more to it than that....

So what exactly do we mean by a Unique Selling Point, or USP, as it's more commonly known, and why do we, as artists and designer-makers need one? Well, we need something that our customers will remember us for, something that makes us stand out in the crowd of thousands of others, something that makes customers buy from us and not the person next door, and something that is UNIQUE to us. And, it doesn't just have to be one thing, it could be a handful of things and you don't need to just think about your actual work and what makes it different, but other things that make YOU different, things you can offer as part of your service to your customers.

When I was asked what my USP was and I struggled to bring something to mind immediately, I decided I needed a bit of help, so if you are in the same boat as me, there are a few things you can do to help you reach a USP-decision-type-of-thing

- Look at your competitors and see what they are doing, see what you can do better and make sure you do it really well!! I think this is really important. When you sell online, for example, there are hundreds of shops you can browse. See what is on offer, see what everyone else is doing and do it better.

- Talk to people, ask for advice if you are struggling, most people will be willing to give you a helping hand, and it is sometimes easier for other to see what your USP is, rather than doing it all yourself. Others may be able to be more objective than you.. this may not be true for you but it's definitely true for me! Sometimes when you spend so much time living and breathing your work you are too close to be objective. Trust me!! Another perspective can be invaluable.

- Look at how you currently sell your work - Can you offer the 'ultimate' customer experience, one which is going to make people want to come back for more?  Is there anything that you can possibly do to improve? Write a list of your process from making your work until you hand it over to your customer, breaking it down into steps. Are there any ways you can add something special to a particular step that will make your customers remember you? Can you offer something extra/free/reduced price/reward customer loyalty? Can you pop a free postcard in with your print (just an example), can you promise next day delivery?

- Look at the actual work/service you offer. Is there any way you can expand your range or media, your services, customer base, audience? Or do you want to concentrate on one speciality and market yourself that way?

- You need to have a huge brainstorming session, write down everything that comes into your head about your work and the service you provide to your stockists and customers, you can generate a large number of ideas, don't think about 'how' you will do it to begin with as this will limit your possibilites. Just think 'large', you can work out details later.

You really do need to BIG yourself up, you need to tell everyone else how fab you are. Unless you are extremely fortunate, no one else will do this for you. Make it happen and do it yourself. Without meaning to sound cliche or corny if you do not  believe in yourself, how can you expect others to?


  1. fantastic tips ! I've been thinking about this week since a gallery owner asked me how a customer would recognise my work. I haven't found the answers yet but with your advice I know where to start now at least!

  2. Great post Sue - and you're right, it is *so* hard! But you've inspired me to think about it now....

  3. Yes, it is hard, and I still can't sum up what mine is yet, but I'm working on it! Glad you've going the post useful. Hopefully there will be mOre like this to come!!

  4. Great tips Sue, lots to think about, this is going to take some time but when I've worked through it I believe I will be better equipped to talk more confidently about my creative practice USP.


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