Discover Your Unique Selling PropositionBy guest blogger Sam Horn

In a tough economy, it’s more important than ever to have a creative approach to help your business stand out from its crowd.

If you’re just competing on price, location, service or convenience, you’ll get lost in your crowd because competitors are doing the same thing.

What’s the secret to POPing out of your pack? Identify your USP (Unique Selling Proposition).

How do you come up with your USP?

Ask yourself, “How can our company zig where our competitors zag? How can we do the opposite, not the obvious? Give your USP a clever name and people will flock to your door, website or product. Plus, you’ll attract media attention because TV, radio and print reporters are always looking for the next new thing.

For example, a restaurant was losing money because no one was coming to their happy hour. Why? Well, there were dozens of restaurants in their area offering happy hours. That’s a prescription for blending in; and blending in is for Cuisinarts, not companies.

The restaurant manager kept looking for a competitive advantage, something customers wanted, but couldn’t find elsewhere (another way to identify your USP).

One evening, he saw a customer tie his dog up outside and then come in to join friends for a cold one.

Light bulb moment. Why not offer a special happy hour for dog-owners so they could bring their four-legged friend who had been cooped up all day? The restaurant could put out water bowls, hand out dog biscuits and offer a special discount for dog-owners who brought their canine pal. It was a win for everyone.

What to call this “petworking” opportunity?

Use a POP! technique called “Alphabetizing” in which you talk your key word through the alphabet to coin a brand new word that gets people’s attention. “Appy Hour, Bappy Hour, Cappy Hour, Dappy Hour” and eventually you get to “Yappy Hour!”

You may be thinking, “Big deal, so it’s a clever name.” You bet it’s a big deal. The Washington Post wrote an article about the throngs of people showing up for the Alexandria, VA Holiday Inn’s wildly popular (and profitable) “Yappy Hour.”

That article was picked up by hundreds of newspapers across the country. Now, millions of people know about their “Yappy Hour.” This nation-wide publicity generated a dramatic increase in name recognition and revenue . . . all for a few minutes of strategic brainstorming that helped them come up with a USP that made them one-of-a-kind vs. one-of-many.

If your business isn’t making as much money as it could or should, chances are you’re offering the same products/services as everyone else. As a creativity/communication consultant who’s studied the art and science of intrigue for 20 years, I’ve developed a step-by-step process for identifying a USP that gives you a competitive edge and gets your organization, idea, product or service noticed . . . for all the right reasons. For more ideas and examples of how to POP! your business and brand with a creative USP, click here to check out my blog.

Sam Horn, The Intrigue Expert, helps people POP! What does that mean? She helps individuals and organizations develop one-of-a-kind ideas, identities, niches and pitches that help their business or brand break out. She does this through her books, one-on-one consulting, weekend camps, media interviews and presentations. For more information, visit or call Sam at 1-800-726-3455.