Tag Line or USP – What’s the Difference?

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There’s a lot of confusing rhetoric in the market as to what is a ‘Tag Line’ and what is a ‘Unique Selling Proposition’. The point of this post is to clarify both and the major difference between them. Unfortunately even amongst the ranks of ‘Marketing Professionals’ there are those who don’t understand that difference and as a consequence they miss out on what could be pure marketing gold for their clients.

Let’s start with the USP, in an earlier article of mine I described a USP for a cafe and gave an example of how the USP could be arrived at, essentially it is a process of researching your competition, listing what it is that they offer the market and uncovering what it is that they don’t do.

The ‘don’t do’ items represent the gap and the opportunity that exists for you and your business, you have discovered USPs based on your competitive research. In fact, in that earlier post we listed a number of USPs that we identified as a result of the work we did.

The whole basis of a USP is that it is something that others don’t, won’t or can’t do and you can only uncover your USPs as a result of research.

Now for the ‘Tag Line’, think of this as the words that you wrap around your USPs, if, for example, you own a souvenir shop in a special location overlooking the Blue Mountains. You do the research and you find that yours is in fact the only souvenir shop that has the clear mountain and valley views, those are unique to your shop.

Now lets look at the USP associated with your research, you have amazing views and no other souvenir shop has them. Your task is to associate the views to what you sell and importantly what it is that your customer takes away with them.

Here’s one suggested Tag line for this Souvenir business:

Unmatched Views… Unmatched memories…

The USP is the location, the stunning views over the Blue Mountains, we have associated it strongly by comparison with the occasion that the customer visits the shop and makes a purchase, they actually bought a ‘memory’ of their visit to the Blue Mountains, both of which are unmatched by your competition.

That particular tag line has 4 words, that’s acceptable and it looks and sounds quite good. Another tag line that you could use has just two words and very fewer words hold more power and can be more memorable:

‘Incomparable memories’

In the image at the top of this post on my blog, Larry Nelson has done his research, he knows that people looking for his kind of services are tired of agents offering to move the world but not delivering. By default they wanted results and they did not want excuses. Larry capitalised on that knowledge very effectively.

To simply create a tag line without research and clearly identified unique aspects of your business demonstrates a shallowness and a wasted opportunity. The ‘Tag Line’ is as important to your business or marketing plan as the USPs that you uncover and can only come from them. Both will show a potential lender or investor that you have done the research and you have thought about how you can present your business to your customers on the best possible way.

There are other techniques that you can use to help create your Tag line and that will be the subject of another article.

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