Personal branding is one way of finding and using your USP to position yourself in the marketplace.
You’ll find plenty of business advice that emphasises the importance of developing and marketing your unique selling proposition (USP).
But how realistic a goal is this if you’re one of many companies that offer broadly the same services or products?
The solution is closer to home than you might realise.
The American advertising executive Rosser Reeves invented the unique selling proposition (USP). He created ads that focused on a specific reason for an audience needing a product.
This reason would be the thing that set the product apart from its competitors.
Reeves didn’t conceive of the USP as something that would apply across the board to all products and services. He applied it to fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).
FMCG are low-cost products that sell rapidly, such as household items and other consumables.
Here’s a famous example:
Clinically proven. Up to 100% dandruff protection.
Head & Shoulders is a shampoo that must compete with other shampoos. But there’s one very clear reason for buying it. For many consumers, if they’ve got a dandruff problem, they’ll immediately associate this brand with sorting it out.
Obviously, not everyone is selling shampoo. If you’re a B2B company offering a service, how do you develop a USP for it?
What defines uniqueness for an accountancy practice or an IT provider?
Coming up with a USP is challenging. So is establishing the body of evidence to justify it.
If you’ve not invented a brand new product or service, you’ve somehow got to find a way of highlighting and communicating what you do that makes it sound different.
It’s about differentiation.
What will make your audience notice your brand and want to do business with you?
The differentiation factor for many companies revolves around customer relations.
Providing exceptional and personalised levels of customer service are ways in which service-based businesses build their reputations.
Here, the search for uniqueness centres on how you do something, rather than what you do.
The challenge is to capture this, bottle it and market it.
How do you interact with your customers on a personal level, and can you embed this as a demonstrable brand value?
Brand values have to come from somewhere. The obvious place to begin is with people.
Why? Because businesses are made up of people. They have founders and leaders. These are the individuals who should set the tone.
The things that motivate them – their specific reasons, urges and drivers for starting an enterprise – should form the foundation of their brand values.
The overused phrase is that we have a specific quality “in our DNA.” “Good customer service is in our DNA, value for money is in our DNA” and so on.
But as individuals rather than companies, our DNA really is unique.
Therefore, when it comes to branding, you have a ready resource from where you can draw your uniqueness: yourself.
But effective branding depends on consistency. Your personal brand needs to harmonise with your business brand. The values you show as an individual can help personalise your business and how it connects with your customers.
I’m not suggesting that personal branding and brand personality are the same. But with the importance of social platforms as marketing channels, there are intersections where the two overlap.
This is where developing your authority content can support your personal brand and help you achieve the uniqueness you need to differentiate yourself in the marketplace.
By positioning yourself as an individual with a depth of knowledge about your industry that you’re willing to share, you can grow your personal brand and provide a unique perspective that casts your enterprise in a distinctive light.
In the first Godfather film, Michael Corleone says:
“It’s not personal it’s strictly business.”
But business is personal. It’s very much person-to-person.
A key evolution in branding has been its growing significance as an inwards-facing as well as an outwards-facing element.
Businesses need their employees to buy into their brand as much as their clients or customers.
Why? Because these employees are the human face of the brand and its ambassadors.
This brings me back to personal branding and personal brand content.
Digital platforms and social media provide the means for communicating this human brand element and making a brand more relatable on a personal level.
You can use personal brand content to establish your brand’s USP in the eyes of your target audience.
Get in touch and I’ll help you create personal brand content that supports your USP.