Stop being unique

Afy Nou
9 December 2015

‘Unique’. One of those words you see so often, it’s lost its meaning. Like ‘discover’ or ‘luxury’.

Unique, like everyone else.

Even being self–aware about it feels familiar now. ‘We know everyone says they’re unique. We actually are.’

‘We know everyone says “we know everyone says they’re unique. We actually are” but we do know and we actually are.’

So when you’re next wondering how to sell that lasagne or bicycle, don’t reach for ‘unique’. Stop. Stop reaching. Put it down.

Say it another way, expand on it, or – if you really can’t shake it – make it your own.

Here’s how.


Swap it

Simple, this one. Just use another word. ‘One of a kind’. ‘Exclusive’. ‘Unparalleled’.

Step around it

Say what you are (‘unique’) by saying what you’re not (‘anything like our lousy competitors’). Think about what makes you better, then let subtle implication do all the work.

‘Our cookies aren’t cookie–cutter’.

‘You’ll talk to people, not robots’.

Be specific about it

‘Unique’ on its own isn’t enough. Your wife customers are too astute for that. Convince them. Give them specifics.

‘Our houseplant outlet is unique.’ (Meh.)

‘Our houseplant outlet has the widest range of cacti in the UK.’ (Tell me more.)

‘No other houseplant outlet can have a chrysanthemum delivered to your door in 24 hours.’ (Sold.)

Make the most of it

Can’t get away from ‘unique’? Then do something different with it.

Dress it up with a metaphor: ‘as unique as a unicorn on a unicycle.’

Run with it: ‘So unique we’ve gone past unique, and straight to weird. We’re weird.’

Play with it: ‘We’re not your usual yawnique company.’

Admit it…

…you’re probably not unique. But that’s ok. Maybe your product isn’t unique – but it’s rare or niche. Maybe your service isn’t unique, but you do it better than most.

If that’s the case, say so, and explain why. You’ll be remembered for it.

Just look at that famous Avis campaign. ‘Our service is unique’ would have obscured these more compelling benefits.


That’s it. Now get writing. And together, let’s make the world a less unique place.

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