Tiip #5 on How to Develop a Profitable USP – Unique Selling Proposition

Capitalize on POP! Culture

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and lern how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” – John Steinbeck

Clients and POP! program participants often ask, “How can I come up with fresh ideas to make my business stand out?”

How? You emulate jazz pianists.

A jazz pianist “riffs” off standard chords to make new music.

Entrepreneurs “riff” off POP! culture to make new marketing messages.

For example, a clever entrepreneur who offers tours of downtown Wash DC via Segway (the motorized scooter you stand on) calls his business “Segs in the City.”

A client opening a yoga studio asked me to help her create a current, “hip” ad campaign to capture public interest. We found it while looking through magazines to kick-start ideas. A full-age ad featured tennis champ Pete Sampras with a milk mustache and the slogan “Got milk?” We looked at each other and smiled and said simulataneously, “Got Yoga?”

Her resulting ads and posters accomplished her purpose of attracting new customers who were drawn in by her two-word question.

One of the most POPular USP’s of the last decade is a result of “riffing” off a well-known saying.

Two 20-something advertising guys were hired to create a memorable tourism promotion for Las Vegas.

Jason Hoff and Jeff Candido kept “noodling and doodling,” (their words), to crystallize a concept that would get across the message that Las Vegas was changing its 1990’s focus from being a family-friendly vacation destination to being an R-rated resort for adults.

One of them mentioned an iconic phrase once used by traveling salesmen, “What happens here, stays here.” Their eyes lit up and that became “What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas.”

How can you do this to create a profitable USP – Unique Selling Proposition – for your business?

Get out a stack of magazines and newspapers and have pen and paper nearby. Start looking through them, “noddling and doodling,” while keeping your eyes and mind open for ideas and phrases that POP! out.

Write down anything and everything that catches your eye. If it catches your eye, it will probably catch other people’s eye.

Once you’ve generated a dozen options, let the word play begin.

Start substituting key words in the POP! culture phrases with words that pertain to your business, product or service. Keep playing with options until something POP!s.

Test-market that option by running it by your colleagues and customers to see if it’s viable.

Ask them, “Does it get your favorable attention? Does it motivate you to want to know more? Is it memorable and something you’d repeat to others?”

If so, this could turn into a profitable USP – Unique Selling Proposition – that helps your business stand out from its crowd.

Want 24 more ways to develop attention-grabbing marketing messages and USP’s that help your business get noticed . . . for all the right reasons? They can be found in my POP! book (which Seth Godin calls “revolutionary”) which can be purchased on Amazon.com

I’m here in Tampa blogging about Super Bowl Weekend.

Are you curious as to how the Super Bowl got its name?

In 1966, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle was on the verge of calling it the (lackluster) AFL-NFL Championship Game.

Billionaire owner Lamar Hunt thought that was boring. He noticed his kids playing with a bouncy Wham-O Super Ball.

Hmmm. Super ball. Super Bowl. Bingo.

Rozelle protested, “It’s not dignified enough.”

Hunt suggested, “Why don’t we add Roman numerals each year?”

The result? POP! Culture history.

Check back tomorrow and I’ll share what POP’d out at the Super Bowl (although meeting Pittsburgh Steeler legend Franco Harris yesterday is already a guaranteed highlight.)

I’ll also share the best Super Bowl commercials, celebrity sightings (does Adam Sandler count?), and memorable moments.

The most effective marketing campaigns have their finger on the pulse of POP! culture and reflect current trends.

For example, parents used to gripe about their kids being obsessed with their Gameboys during family vacations. The roles today are reversed with kids complaining their folks are the ones who ignore them while tapping away at their laptop and Blackberry.

A brilliant http://www.VisitOrlando.com ad addresses this issue by showing a father happily playing in a pool with his son. The dialogue in the side bar says,

“Daddy, want to do swimming?” “Yes.”

“Daddy, can you carry me on your shoulders?” “Yes.”

“Daddy, will you leave your phone in the room?” “Yes.”

The subliminal message? Come to Orlando and have an old-fashioned vacation where you actually focus on family and play together instead of everyone caring more about their gadgets.

Are you tapping into the zeitgeist of your target audience? Does your marketing campaign reflect current trends? If so, good for you. If not, use POP! techniques to update your commercials so they resonate with customers and motivate them to try or buy what you’ve got to say and sell.