I have been updating my website (more about that soon!). Although I intended to only update the copy on the site, the course I attended took me right back to basics. Something I didn’t realise I needed - not unlike the coaching process! I had to look at my values, the reason I got into coaching and my goals. They needed to be aligned. A part of this process was looking at what made me unique and how I could use that to sell myself more effectively.
It got me thinking about USP in general and how we can apply it to our careers and in our roles as leaders. When we write our CVs, apply for a promotion or make a decision to be the best leader we can be, we tap into our leadership USP.
What is a USP?
“Unique Selling Point” is a marketing term, used to describe the feature that makes a product, service, business or person different. It is used to showcase why someone should buy (or buy into) something. You will recognise some of these examples:
- Melts in the mouth, not in the hand (M&Ms)
- We’re number two. We try harder (Avis)
- Book unique places to stay and do (AirBnB)
- One for One (TOMS)
Now a USP isn’t just a slogan. It’s much more. It is a promise, a culture, a call to action. All USPs share some things in common. They are memorable, focus on the value to the client/customer and evoke feelings, emotions and memories.
Can you have a personal USP?
If you think “Unique? I’m not unique, I do exactly what the others do” then I have good news for you.
Every business, no matter the size, has a USP as does every person on the planet. We are unique by default. Best of all you don’t even need to revolutionise the world of work with your groundbreaking processes to show it.
If our USP is what makes us unique, when it comes to a leadership USP we need to think about how we stand out as leaders.
5 key elements of a Leadership USP
- Your Story
- What makes you stand out?
- What about your team?
- How do you make a difference to your team?
- Walking your talk
How to create your Leadership USP
How did you get to be the leader you are today? What shaped your journey? What are your goals and values? Your story is the foundation of your USP. You ask anyone about their experiences and they will give you a story from their perspective. There could have been twenty people at an event but if you listen to each person you will get a slightly different version of what happened. That’s what makes it unique. You won’t find it by comparing yourself to others, you need to understand what makes you, you!
What makes you stand out?
This is the time to compare yourself to others, what does everyone else do and how/what do you do differently? Think about what others say about them - positive and negative. What do you offer that no one else does? What are you really good at? How do you build trust? Think about your experience in a particular area/sector, your qualifications and your training. Write down all of your skills - what are you good at (personally and professionally) then write down all of your experience (this can be found in your CV!! - which I can help with)
What about your team?
One of the key elements of a USP is that it focuses on customers and clients. As a leader, this is your team. So take a moment or two to focus on them. Who are they as individuals? How do they work as a team? Where are there gaps/issues? What do they do well? What do they want and need (and how are they different?). Where do they go for support?
How do you make a difference to your team?
What kind of culture do you want to create within your team? What is the promise you are making to your team? How does your leadership style benefit your team? What value do you bring through your experience, skills and training? Do you do things as they have always been done or do you look for a way to improve things? How has this worked out for you? What have you learned? How do you solve problems? Think about what previous teams have loved about you. If you don't know, ask them!
Walking your talk
Do you act with integrity? Deliver on your promises? What is your personality like? Sometimes your USP can simply be about who you are. And you don’t need to be a leader for that or compete with anyone else. It doesn’t matter if you are a motivational speaker, a therapist, a designer, an artist or something completely different.
If you feel like the right people respond to you as a person and end up wanting to work with you for that reason, you might want to look at this USP as a leader. Consider your language, tone of voice, visual style, storytelling, approach, habits, preferences.