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Creating a Distinctive USP

To avoid marketing extinction, a business needs to create strong and relevant distinction in its market. If you have attended a Business 101 or Marketing 101 course, you are familiar with three letters: U-S-P.

In the world of marketing those letters stand for Unique Selling Proposition. Essentially, it’s what makes your company uniquely you. A USP is an attempt to convey your brand’s superiority over a competitor.

It’s one of the first things I ask when sitting down with a new client: What distinguishes you from the competition?

It’s a question that should be pondered, but often is not. Actually, quite often it is not even on the radar. I remember sitting down with a new client, a community bank. When posed that question, the response was, “Customer Service. We have great customer service.”

That’s excellent.

However, I had to point out that ‘customer service’ was hardly a distinction in the marketing realm Afterall, it may very well be true that their bank created a customer service experience that was, indeed, second to none. However, unless the bank next door was touting that they had lousy customer service…and the credit union up the street was promoting that they hated their members…and the competitive big bank downtown advertised that they truly loathed their patrons…well then, that message was hardly going to create a distinction between them and us.

But wait, you might be thinking…’So, what if customer service is truly a point of differentiation?’

Good question.

When it comes to communicating distinction, one element comes into play: How you communicate that differentiation.

It’s the key.

To be honest, it’s a challenge. It’s always difficult to relay a message of distinction that capitalizes on a truly relevant element that matters to people to the point of actually wanting to engage with the brand. You can’t simply say what everyone is saying…or would say (even if it’s not true) and think that you’re going to create a relevant brand that matters and stands out to prospective customers.

How do you navigate that dilemma?

There are two keys. First…your tagline. Second…you have to ‘say it’ without ‘saying it’.

First, your tagline has to communicate that distinction without sounding like everyone else. Your tagline usually fits under your logo to alert prospects of what you seek to stand for in their minds. They see your logo…they see the tag and have an idea of what your company is all about.

Nike and “Just Do It!” is one of the most famous taglines of all time. It communicated the notion of an athletes motivation to get off their ass and get to work…take care of business. Initially, dealing primarily with runners, it was their cue to get those Nike’s on and hit the road.

It’s a powerful and vital component of the branding process.

Second, you have to ‘say it’ without ‘saying it’. Years ago, we worked with a Men’s Wear Store. They offered high-end merchandise and customer service was, indeed, their most important point of distinction. We communicated that distinction by promoting a “We Bring the Store to You!” message that naturally conveyed a high-level of customer service without ever using the ole standby message of “we have great customer service”.

Saying it without saying it, therefore, becomes an important way to communicate a common message, but doing so in a way that truly stands out in a relevant way to the consumer. In other words, you communicate that distinctive, albeit common element, in a way that makes the consumer stop and think, “Hey…they really do take customer service seriously.”

Need help distinguishing your business from the crowd? That’s where I come in. That’s where BrandVision Marketing comes in. We use a three-step process to create a distinctive, relevant, and, most importantly, profitable brand identity for you–regardless of whether you are in start-up mode or have been around for decades.

Need help?

Email us today at or call 865.531.5874.

By Scott Trueblood, of BrandVision Marketing. BrandVision Marketing is a full-service marketing agency based in Knoxville, TN.

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