Okanagan Panorama

Monday, 25 May 2015 00:04

How Different Are You Really From Your Competitors

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How different are you from your competition? by Rae Stonehouse, Okanagan-based Author, Speaker, Speech/Presentations Coach, Power Networker & Toastmaster Extraordinaire.

A common challenge to small business owners is in creating a brand and promotional material to set you apart from the competition.

Enter USPs, taglines & slogans. This article will focus on the differences and how to utilize them to your advantage.


Your unique selling proposition (a.k.a. unique selling point, universal selling point or USP) is a marketing concept used to differentiate yourself from your competitors or others in the market place.

Some good current examples of products with a clear USP are:

  • Head & Shoulders: “You get rid of dandruff”

Some unique propositions that were pioneers when they were introduced:

  • Domino’s Pizza: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less—or it’s free.”
  • FedEx: “When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight”
  • M&M’s: “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand”
  • Metropolitan Life: “Get Met, It Pays”

The term USP has been largely replaced by the concept of a Positioning Statement. Positioning is determining what place a brand (tangible good or service) should occupy in the consumer’s mind in comparison to its competition. A position is often described as the meaningful difference between the brand and its competitors. Source: Wikipedia

I was blindsided at a Chamber of Commerce function in my city when we were standing in circle participating in what they call a power networking session. We were asked what makes us or our business unique. I didn’t recognize it as a USP question and provided an ineffective response. If I had recognized it for what it was i.e. a USP question I would have responded with “Mr. Emcee is a full service event organizer. From start to finish … we do it all!”

Your challenge is to develop a USP that on one hand is short and to the point, yet is clear enough that it captures the essence of your business and will stick in the mind of whoever you are sharing it with.


Your tagline is an element of your USP which is a distillation of your business’ values into a catchy phrase that reinforces your brand, differentiates you from your competitors and explains what makes your business valuable to your customers.

A typical tagline is short … seven words or less and to the point! It should be memorable and become part of your business’s identity, similar to your logo, but in words. It should also make sense.

On a drive home from work one morning I noticed a local contracting company with the tagline “Where Personality Meets Reality.” Say what? I puzzled over this tagline for some time. I don’t get it. Contractors build, repair and renovate homes. This tagline looks like it would be representing a psychologist, life coach or counsellor. I’m sure that it must resonate with the contractor but to me it is memorable in that it doesn’t make sense.

I would also suggest researching your competitors or others that are in a similar business that are not necessarily your competitors to see if they have chosen a similar USP as you have. I am aware of two business coaches that chose a USP that had only one word that was different. That one word totally changed the context of the USP but it really upset one of the coaches accusing the other of stealing her idea, even though they had been developed independent of each other.

At the risk of blowing my own horn, which I have no problem doing, here are some examples of taglines. I am biased of course …

  • The Okanagan Business Professionals Network (OBPN) “Your Own Business Success Team”
  • Okanagan Business Events Weekly Advisory: “Your Gateway to the Okanagan business world!”
  • Okanagan Help4Biz: “Your Business Solutions Resource”


A slogan is differentiated from a tagline in that it is also a brief and catch statement that helps with branding. The difference between a tagline and a slogan is that of scope. A tagline represents your business, a slogan … one specific product or perhaps part of an advertising/promotional campaign.

One slogan that comes to mind for me is that of Coca-Cola’s “It’s the real thing.” A quick visit to Wickipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Coca-Cola_sloganshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Coca-Cola_slogans literally stopped me in my tracks. Since 1886 Coca-Cola has changed their slogan some 55 times. And that is just in Canada, USA and the United Kingdom. There is probably another couple hundred slogans listed from other countries around the world. From this evidence it would appear that there is nothing preventing you from changing your slogan as you see fit. It seems to have worked for Coca-Cola.

A catchy slogan looking for a worthy cause caught my attention recently from a surprise source … my three year-old granddaughter May-belle … “It makes my tummy happy!” I have certainly had that thought many times over the years but it took a three year-old to verbalize it. I wonder what her thoughts are on developing a brand for my entrepreneurial empire?


Top Photo Credit: Betsy Weber via Creative Common License.

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Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 27+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the personal/professional self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic.

His writing style can be described as being conversational. As an author Rae strives to have a one-to-one conversation with each of his readers, very much like having your own personal self-development coach. Rae is known for having a wry sense of humour that features in his publications.


Author of Self-Help Downloadable E-Books, paperbacks and on-line courses:


Power Networking for Shy PeoplePower Networking for Shy People: How to Network Like a Pro

52 Power Networking Tips: 52 Power Networking Tips: How to Network Like a Pro

PROtect Yourself Now!PROtect Yourself Now! Violence Prevention for Healthcare Workers

The Savvy EmceeThe Savvy Emcee: How to be a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies.

Power of PromotionPower of Promotion: On-line Marketing for Toastmasters Club Growth

You're Hired! Job Search Strategies That WorkYou're Hired! Job Search Strategies That Work: Available as an easily downloadable e-book or as an on-line e-course.

You're Hired! Resume Tactics:You're Hired! Resume Tactics: Job Search Strategies That Work

Job Interview PreparationJob Interview Preparation: Job Search Strategies That Work

Leveraging Your NetworkLeveraging Your Network: Job Search Strategies That Work

You're Hired! Power Tactics: You're Hired! Power Tactics: Job Search Strategies That Work

You're Hired! Job Searching Success Tips ListYou're Hired! Job Searching Success Tips List

Working With Words:Working With Words: Adding Life to Your Oral Presentations

Blow Your Own Horn! Blow Your Own Horn! Personal Branding for Business Professionals

Make it Safe!Make it Safe! A Family Caregiver's Home Safety Assessment Guide for Supporting Elders@Home


Phone Rae 250-451-6564 or info@raestonehouse.com

Rae’s social … are you?

Twitter: http://twitter.com/RaeStonehousehttp://twitter.com/RaeStonehouse

Linkedin? Rae is http://www.linkedin.com/in/raestonehousehttp://www.linkedin.com/in/raestonehouse

Copyright 2018- 2021 Rae A. Stonehouse.

The above document may be freely copied and distributed as long as the author’s name and contact info remain attached.


To learn more about Rae A. Stonehouse, visit the Wonderful World of Rae Stonehouse at https://raestonehouse.com.