Wednesday, 12 August 2009

What Makes You Unique?

We all like to think our art is original (and if it's not - WHY are you copying)???

But in order to be able to sell our art we need to sell ourselves - to make ourselves more interesting to the arts market and to potential customers. This is where your USP can help. What's a USP? It's your Unique Selling Point.
Do you know WHAT your USP is? Here's ours - "
The Arts Factory is Keighley’s only Contemporary Art Gallery".
Of course, if another gallery sets up in Keighley our USP will be: "The Arts Factory is Keighley’s number 1 Contemporary Art Gallery".
So what are we trying to say? We are telling the world that we are unique but, as contemporary art galleries AREN’T unique by definition, we are unique to Keighley.

How did we arrive at this claim? We did exactly what you are going to do to find your USP – by doing the 2 short exercises below.

But first here's a question. What makes your craft/art unique? Can you say that there is anything unique about what you do? For example: you may make stunning vintage jewellery but what makes your jewellery different from other vintage jewellery makers? It might be the component parts you use or it might be your designs. It may be the type of audience you sell to or it may be the way that you sell. You could be the only vintage jewellery designer who specialises in nautical style jewellery or you could have a particular design-theme to your shop. Once you have identified what your unique selling point (USP) is you can use this to promote yourself, your craft or your on-line shop.

Exercise 1 (Find someone to work with you).Take 5 minutes to describe your craft to another person. Tell that person all about it, how you make it, how you sell it, why people buy it, what makes it different. Ask them to jot down key words or sentences that stand out.Now look at the words on the paper that describe your craft. Which ones stand out as your USP? Write down a few sentences that describe your hand made business. Keep the sentences short and snappy.

Exercise 2 (Work on your own) Take 5 minutes to break down the sentences to make ONE slogan. Highlight those key words and make a statement. Are you stuck for adjectives to describe your hand made business? You don’t have to describe the craft to create a USP statement. Take a look at the USPs of commercial corporations instead. I’ve made a short list but you will probably know plenty more.“I’m lovin’ it” “Every little helps” “Try something new today” “The drive of your life” “Just do it”

So instead of describing your business as: “the best hand made satchels made with top quality leather and hand tooled with care” think about a short sentence of a few words that can describe why I would want to buy your satchel. For example: “Must-Have Leather Satchels”. Sorry, it’s a bit weak – just thought of it off the top of my head. My personal USP is “Unique. Contemporary. Quality” and I believe that this describes my glass, although I sometimes think it should say “Unique. Quirky. Quality”. I don’t need to say hand made or fused glass because hopefully, my shop name should cover that information. (Anecdotally, I used to have a business called Terrace House Designs, selling silk painting supplies, but I got fed up with customers calling to talk to Terrance House)!
Finally, what are you going to do with your USP? Well, you can use it as a statement on your letter heads, compliments slips, business cards, shop announcement, website or create it as a logo.In my next post I will be looking at the competitiveness of selling on-line. If you have any further suggestions, comments or ideas about USPs please post below.


  1. This is a great post and a wonderful idea! I'm going to get on this right away!

  2. That's a tough one. yet crucial, I agree. But when you throw yourself into what you do, it's as hard as defining yourself— objectively, yet appealingly— especially when what we want is to be LOVED...

  3. The exercises are great for coming up with a tag line. Its what the big companies pay millions to advertising agencies for.

    The only thing I'd disagree with is in using a descriptive to what it is your selling. In this age of internet accessibility and shopping online it helps in SEO. For example if I am searching for Fused glass jewelry and Google gives me 10 pages of results my first instinct is to click on sites that say fused glass to save time in plowing through sites that may not fit what I'm looking for.

    Another example is your own Terrance House Designs might have been wrong but using Terrance House Silk Painting Supplies might have stopped the annoying phone calls.

    I guess it depends on if you want the curiosity factor or a direct approach.

  4. LOL! Yeah, "Designs" was a mistake - and so many people couldn't understand Terrace House when I said it, I used to end up shouting!
    I guess this topic takes us into another subject area - subliminal advertising - where you don't actually say what the product is. Where I work, the marketing dept are very fond of this as a brand but I think we are too small and too local to make it instantly recognisable.

  5. 'Beauty beneath the bark', it's mine and conveys a hint of what i'm trying to show, used in conjunction with the business name 'Natural Wood Jewelley and Gifts' clearly send the message / or does it. I i do a craft fair, 90% of the time i take more tham most. why? because what i produce is unique. or is it?