Category of One

By Andi Gladwin - Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Marketers talk about having a unique selling point (USP) to differentiate yourself from everybody else around you. That's not as easy as it sounds. For example, if you're a close-up magician, it's surprisingly difficult to work out exactly what makes you different from the twelve other close-up magicians in your area. I struggled with this myself for a long time, and then I realised the problem: it's probably too late to find a USP at the point you're trying to sell your services.

Instead, if being unique is important to you, I think it's important to become part of a category of one by becoming the only person that does what you do (at least in your area or market). This can be defined by factors such as what you do, where you do it, how you do it, who you do it for, or who you are. This is perhaps best defined with some examples:

Who you are: there's a magic dragon. He's the only one. There's a double act where one speaks and one doesn't.
What you do: there's a guy who does a whole routine where masks appear and change on his face. And remember that weirdo who does a trick from inside a balloon?
Who you do it for: there's a magician who advertises as the "Millionaire's Magician."
Where you do it: there was a magician who performed in a tattoo parlour in Vegas. Mention the "tattoo parlour magician" and all the magic fans in Las Vegas knew who you were talking about.

These people all fall into a category of one - and I realise something important: they all created these categories. Sure, there will eventually be imitators, but if you define your own category, you get to lead it, live it, and learn from it.

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