How To Figure Out Your USP And Attract Crowds Like The Leaning Tower Of Pisa

Posted on /by Natalie Sisson/ in Business Resources, Business Travel / 21 comments
What is Pisas secret USP

If I say Pisa, you say tower. Or at least I can guarantee that for 90% of people, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is the first thing that comes to mind.

Located in Tuscany, Italy, the city of Pisa is renowned for this famous landmark that draws millions of visitors a year, and there’s seemingly not a lot else to do here for the average tourist.

But if you care to dig a little more, you’ll actually find bustling streets, a renowned university, many churches to venture into and even several palaces.

Stroll along the riverside, be amused at the many mopeds all competing to take from the traffic lights the fastest, and lose yourself in car free streets while eating gelato.

In this video, I show you a few of these things, and of course take you to the site of the tower, so that you can make fun of the tourists who have been trying for years to unsuccessfully prop up the tower by posing with it.

I also show you exactly what 30 euros can get you accommodation wise in this city and how you can go about getting the same deal.

The real business lesson here though is that Pisa has done an incredible job of using it’s unique selling proposition (USP), even if it’s a crooked tower, to remarkable effect.

And it begs the question, what is the one thing that makes you stand out from the crowds, and ensures you attract fans and repeat business to every year? It’s your Unique Selling Proposition.

Definition of Unique Selling Proposition

Urban Dictionary had a few definitions for this, one of which was

Un-Shaved Parts/Pussy
Example: “I can see that womens USP through her shorts”

That’s not really what I’m getting at here, so let’s go with:

Unique Selling Proposition:
Example: “In marketing (esp) USP is the one that decides whether you score over your competitors or not.”

My Definition of USP

I actually like to think of this as your Unique Special Proposition, or perhaps your Ultimate Sales Pitch. It’s the statement that tells people exactly what sets you apart from your industry competitors. It leaves them no room for confusion as to what you do and why that matters.

How do you develop your USP

I’m a fan of Mark McGuiness’s worksheet for developing yours (and his work in general). So I highly recommend you take a look at his great way to break it down.

Mark suggests getting at least two answers to all of the questions below. Firstly, answer them yourself.

Secondly, get someone who knows you and your work well to answer them –your customers, colleagues or friends. That’s where you come in.

This is because a USP is about other people’s perceptions of you. What makes you remarkable in their eyes may not be obvious to you:

1. What are you better at than anyone else?

2. What do you enjoy doing the most?

3. What do (or could) you provide that no one else is providing?

4. What annoys people the most about your industry?

5. What is remarkable about you?

6. Do you have an unusual combination of elements?

7. Do you have a big personality?

8. Write a USP statement using this format:

I am unique and different because I provide [USP], which no one else in my field provides. No one else can or will provide this because [insert reason].

So write down your USP statement in the comments below, be bold, back yourself and stand out from the crowd today!

  • Angela

    Okay I’m really starting to look forward to Thursdays now! These videos are so cool…a fab mix of travel fun and bizz know-how. Nice! Off the top of my head, my USP is that I’m funny…I can impart things in a way that makes people laugh.

    • That’s what I like to hear. Making people laugh is good – now put that into the statement above and apply it to your business. Being funny alone is not a USP 🙂

      • Angela

        Good point Natalie…Sporty and I will be tackling Week 1 of the Think Traffic course shortly…so we’ll be able to narrow it down then. I’m looking forward to the task as I definitely think we could do with honing our niche even more.

  • Hi Nat, are you writing stuff especially for us at the moment or what?!!!

    This video was fab given that I am in the throes of leading our DIY re-brand. I searched google for the term ‘unique value proposition’ and found some resources that have got us started developing our UVP and we’re making great progress. We’ve also been using Amy Harrison’s copywriting resources to add a bit of zing to the language we are using.

    Your USP video and questions (and the worksheet you recommend by Mark McGuiness) take a slightly different angle to the resources we’ve been using, so I can’t wait to go back and take another look at what we’ve done so far….and craft our ‘I am unique and different because….’ statement!

    Keep it coming with vids.

    • I try to read your mind yes Janine 🙂 Fantastic to hear. Yes a UVP is important although in a nutshell it’s the same as your USP – they’re all just the same words for finding what it is that sets you apart from the rest and explaining that clearly so people can understand in an instant

      • Ok, here’s our USP so far. It’s wordy and a work in progress, so we’d love feedback to refine it. We contacted a group of our clients and asked them to answer the questions from this blog post (gees, was that insightful!) plus Jo and I each answered them for ourselves.

        What is most interesting is that what we have gotten back is quite different to what Jo and I had come up with so far, and probably more compelling. Thank goodness for this blog post!

        “We are unique and different because we provide holistic approaches to business that help Mumpreneurs achieve a combined focus on biz strategy and balanced living, and we do it in a fun, creative way which no one else in our field provides.

        No one else can or will provide this because they don’t have the unique combination of skills in creative, nature-based, right-brain learning that Jo and I bring, and they remain stuck in traditional (a.k.a boring!) approaches to biz planning that fail to embrace the spiritual and emotional side of who we are, and ignore the important role that family plays in business life”

        Here are a couple of comments from our clients that speak to what we are trying to communicate here….

        “The holistic approach was something I hadn’t encountered before so I think that’s a great point of difference from other coaches. You do more than just help people with their businesses, since I began working with you my whole outlook on life has changed”.

        “They’re adventurous. They can connect business to like being a child again which is great for ‘beginner’s mind’. The sketching and business processes they have with markers and colored pencils, etc. are like no other I’ve seen.”

        “They’re good at bridging those gaps of boring business plans with fun, creative process”.

        Thanks Natalie, and thanks in advance to anyone who feels inclined to give us feedback!

        • Hi, Janine! I saw you asked for feedback from WE members, so here goes! 🙂 Based on what you’ve written, it seems like you and Jo may be helping mumpreneurs blend biz strategy with family life so mumpreneurs achieve a natural flow between the two where they’re reinforcing and benefitting each other. Based on your client’s feedback, I get the impression that you help them take a step back from everything and look not at their biz and family as separate entities but as a constant state of flow – sometimes between the two, and sometimes blending the two.

          Is there a way you could translate “nature-based” and “right-brain learning” to more fun colloquial phrases? I’m not sure what nature-based is, and while I’m totally right-brained, the phrase itself still bores me! These two phrases detract from your overall message that you’re clearly very fun to work with – markers and colored pencils!!! 🙂

          I do really like what you wrote about how others in your field “remain stuck in traditional (a.k.a boring!) approaches to biz planning that fail to embrace the spiritual and emotional side of who we are, and ignore the important role that family plays in business life”. That’s what really helped me understand exactly what it is the two of you do.

          Also, I left my USP up above for feedback. I’d your feedback if you’re so inclined. Thanks!

          • I love all these comments and agree with Kristina that you need to shorten this up, make it succinct and crystal clear. I too think that the right brain nature based – while lovely to refer to is not doing you enough justice. You provide holistic based business and life practices that leave mompreneurs feeling balanced and energized.

          • Awesome, thanks so much Natalie and Kristina for this feedback. Others are often so much better at putting it into words. Love all this feedback and I feel excited to go and gather everything we have now into something short, succinct and powerful. Love your ‘you provide’ statement below Natalie, brilliant!

  • Michelle

    Hi, I left a comment the day before yesterday and it has gone? I was looking forward to feedback 🙂

    • Oh noooo, I’ve done nothing so please do repost and I’m happy to answer!

      • Michelle

        Hi Natalie, thanks for that (i was worried I may have said something wrong). Firstly i love getting your newsletters and seeing where you are doing business from! This is the lifestyle I am wanting so its super inspiring to see someone doing it 🙂
        I was struggling with the questions to help with the usp as not all family and friends pay much attention to what i do even though they support me ( I am a food and wellbeing coach) and i find these a little bit of a challenge to answer about myself. Should I still ask family and friends?
        Thanks heaps 🙂

        • Thank you! That’s lovely to hear. I may steal it for my praise page 🙂 Always good to hear, truly. Friends and family question is a great one. I actually have to say no on this one – UNLESS they’re in that area or are a potential customer. Because quite often they’re not objective and will say stuff from a place of concern or to please you. So you want to ask people that have known you for a while and will be objective and honest. Then also to people who have worked with you.

          • Guest

            Thanksfor that Nataile 🙂

  • Hi, Natalie! Amazing post! I got so excited by it, I took notes, ran of to work on my USP, and I forgot to even tell you that this post is brilliantly helpful!

    Here’s my draft USP. I would love feedback on it. Thanks!

    I am unique and different because I provide a global community of women tools for conscientious-living that measurably benefits their local communities. No one else can or will provide this because social and environmental sustainability issues are complex and interrelated, breaking these issues down into digestible and actionable pieces is difficult, and measuring the social impact is challenging.

    • Angela

      If I’m right Kristina, it sounds like you’re offering a paint-by-numbers system for women to make a difference and at the same time track their results? If so, that’s definitely something I’d sign up for because ‘making a difference’ in a way that makes feel as if you really are can often be challenging.

      I did find the second part of your comment a little difficult to chew through however. It took a me a couple of reads to full grasp what you were saying. If you’re going to use it anywhere else I’d suggest simplifying it a little.

    • Kickstartkitchen

      Hi Kristina, I understand what you are explaining because I have talked with you, but it is a little complex in the writing. If this is what your customers would be reading, then I agree with Ang on simplifying it down. If this is just for you, its a good starting point. What feels like is missing is the ‘benefits’ to the customer. Great start though! ^k

    • Great feedback from Kristina and Angela. I think you’re on to something but your `community of women tools’ does not make sense and Angela’s paint by numbers was much clearer in my mind too. Great work though

    • Hi Kristina, congrats on the draft it’s looking great. I definitely fit the bill for the type of women you are talking about here , so here’ s my feedback on how this USP made me feel….

      – ‘global community of women’ doesn’t speak to me personally. If you said something more personal that really captures who I am, like ‘ethically-minded Mum’s or ‘women passionate about social change’ or ‘women social change agents’ (or whatever!) it would draw me in a lot more and say ‘that’s me!’

      – I like ‘tools for conscientious-living’, but ‘measurably benefits their local communities ‘ is too research like. Something more like what Angela suggests could work well, or perhaps something along the lines of ‘proven to have a powerful impact on the health and wellbeing of their local community’. However, I’m guessing that for this type of women (i.e me!) it’s less about being able to prove the results empirically, and more about actually being able to see and feel the positive impact of your actions on the people around you. i.e that ‘feel good’ factor you get when you can see something you have done is making a difference to the lives of the people around you. If you could capture that somehow in your USP it would be great!

      – I really get the last piece of your statement (sounds like something I might write!) but again, I think it would be great if it was more colloquial. eg. no one else can or will provide this because…it’s so hard to figure out whether a positive action is really making a difference and I have come up with a x that makes it simple and easy. (or something along those lines!).

      I look forward to hearing more about what you do Kristina, it sounds amazing!


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