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_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?