She won’t have it! This could be a similar experience, the lies, empty promises and wasted time. She had sworn she wants something new, well not exactly new but at least different. So there she was her hand interlocked under her chin keeping eye contact with Segun from across the table.

The red wine, the guacamole she had ordered and the music playing in the room faded into the background as she listened to him tell her why he’s not like the other guys.

Trust me, having to explain to someone why you are not like the other guys are why marketing and advertising is a business. The crux of all marketing messages is telling the consumer why Brand A isn’t like Brand B even though they both manufacture cars.

What makes you different even though all shreds of evidence says you are not so unique? A lot of small businesses fail at convincing the consumer that they are different from the competing brands. Often times, today’s entrepreneurs go into business without mapping out their difference. Having a USP is crucial to business even though you take it for granted. What’s a USP, you ask?

A unique selling proposition, according to, is the factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different and better than that of the competition. It’s the Why will a customer choose me over all these other people offering the same thing. Honestly, you do not want to fall into the category of “me-too brands”. Me-too brands are brands that are so watered down that their difference is non-existent. We see them everywhere these days; that little startup that isn’t innovative or doing anything differently. Your USP births your strategy and unlocks your potential to stand out. Every business should know what market it is competing in and have a plan to compete differently than the other players.

Consider some of the leading brands of automobile. Mercedes has an instantly recognizable logo and is, in the minds of many people, a symbol of prestige and success. This doesn’t mean that a Mercedes is constructed in a fundamentally different manner than a Honda or Toyota. Yet no other brand of car has quite the same connotations. I could cite examples of the iPhone and Samsung but I choose peace instead. These days there are not so many new ideas; Standing out to consumers in an endlessly crowded market isn’t always about having a completely unique product. If you are a new business trying to find your difference here are some tried and tested ways;

Interestingly Mercedes Benz has managed to sell it’s high status ideology to a younger audience

  • Look different: From your logo to your entire branding collaterals try as much as possible to look refreshingly different. Hire an expert to create your visual branding.
  • Behave differently: What is the process of patronizing your business? Is it cumbersome, haphazard or seamless and hassle-free? Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and trace the customer journey.
  • Be truly and unapologetically shocking: This is critical. The attention you steer your way must link to a solution and you should have that solution.
  • Expand your appeal: Discover an untapped audience in your sector and, by drawing them in, intensify the sense of community around your brand and the interaction that people have with the brand
  • Tell a story that defines you and is unique to you: The story may be about your motivations; how in Ojuelegba they know your story as in the personal brand of Wizkid. It could be about the value you bring to the world like Coca Cola’s Open Happiness. Or perhaps it’s the story based on your highly guarded secret- only two people in the world know Coca-Cola’s formula. Find a story and tell it well.

At this point, Segun is well over three minutes into explaining to Emily why he is not like the other guys. “I’m not a Yoruba demon”, he said laughing as he poured her another glass of red wine. I’m not like the other guys he added. He was smooth, and he laid out his points so eloquently. Emily broke a smile. Here we go again.