How to Find Your USP in 4 Steps (+ Examples of Neil Patel & Jonah Berger)

November 18, 2020

To create a good pitch, you need to know what your or your product’s unique selling point is.

In personal branding, the USP is generally the unique composition of your personality, skill set and experience.

In product branding, the USP is the composition of the product’s or service’s functionality, production and value. Often, the founders behind a product, the setting in which it is made, the material which was used or the journey of the product are also part of the unique selling point.

The bottom line is: a USP determines your recognition and differentiation factor from other competitors! That USP or differentiation factor plays a big role in how you promote yourself or your product and influences your value proposition and pitch.

Why? The job of a value proposition and a good pitch is to strategically highlight your strengths, skills and uniqueness in order to make yourself or your product stand out.

But enough about technicalities :) Let’s take a look at a few examples and then the four steps of how to find your own USP.

USP examples: Two good, and a terrible one

1. Neil Patel

melaniegoel brand consulting usp neil patel

Let’s take a look at Neil Patel’s personal value proposition (blue frame). It’s powerful, obviously, because he has achieved a lot. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone who has a different personal history can’t have a powerful one, too. You just need to know how and what to highlight.

But let’s focus on his USP, not the entire value proposition for now. What makes him unique? A great way of figuring that out is looking at what people say about him and the reasons they’ve chose to work with him instead of others (green frame). So let’s take a look.

1. He’s a true expert: He’s an expert in all things SEO and digital marketing and really knows how to grow online businesses.
2. He’s approachable: He’s not protective of his knowledge but rather shares without holding back. Just look at the tons of free content he gives out to people who can’t afford his service (podcast & blog).
3. He’s dedicated:  Even though he sets high expectations with his value proposition, he manages to over perform and overdeliver on those promises and expectations.

2. Jonah Berger

melaniegoel brand consulting USP jonah berger

Dr. Jonah Berger is in no way less accomplished, as you can see from his value proposition. If you’ve ever read his books, you know why. So, let’s check what makes him unique.

1. He’s accomplished: Apart from his accomplished academic career (which speaks for itself), he really knows his subject.
2. He’s a skilled writer: It’s an incredible skill to break down complex topics like word-of-mouth into a language everyone understands. He also uses great storytelling techniques to make those complex topics attractive.
3. He’s smart: Dr. Berger doesn’t only write about ‘how stories catch on’ but also has a good sense for topics that will shape our marketing world. For example, he took on viral marketing at the right time and shaped a whole new generation of marketers with his research results.

3. Terrible one

Sorry for cheating here :) I don’t want to expose anyone, that’s why I just write a few points that make USP’s bad.

1. Boasts
2. Fake promises
3. Lies

Make sure you create a USP that is authentic and true to your personality, skills and experience. Or in case you’re figuring out the USP of your product, make sure to look for the unique aspects that are actually there. Don’t overpromise, and risk to underdeliver.

Where’s the USP in all this?

I approach the USP question in two steps. First I try to find an adjective for the values, strength or skill. Then, I describe how the person is unique in that respect.

Let’s take Neil Patel’s example. A lot of people are experts, approachable and dedicated. But his unique selling point is the combination of being an overperformer in a highly competitive industry who’s still willing to give away his knowledge. That is unique and rare.

In Dr. Berger’s example, we would say that there are a lot of accomplished, smart and skilled writers out there. But his unique angle is that he sees the topics of tomorrow, researches them thoroughly and then manages to translate his findings into popular literature for everyone to understand. That is unique and rare.

How can you find your own USP?

So, let’s get to it. Answer the following four steps to figure out your own or your product/service’s USP.

1. Which 3 values do you want people to mention when they talk about you?
2. What would be the most authentic testimonial someone could write about you?
3. What skills, personality traits etc. have others complemented you on?
4. What are you doing better than others?

Try to prevent the bias of answering these questions with something you’d want to be but aren’t. In this exercise you’re really trying to figure out what makes you unique already. Keep that in mind.

And then, please share your USP’s with me on Twitter or LinkedIn, I’m happy to give you feedback on it.

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