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What's your USP?

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In the college business courses I took years ago they called it an “advertising slogan.” Today it’s described, with a more academically-acceptable label, as a “USP.” Many businesses make great use of their USP – that’s their Unique Selling Proposition. A USP usually embodies a philosophy of the business and, once determined, is consistently used just above or below the name and/or logo of the business. It will eventually become implanted in the customer’s mind and it’s a powerful reminder about the business.

A USP is really simple. It can point to something that makes your business special. Or, it might reflect something special the organization does for its customers. More specifically, it can zero in on who the business is or what it does best. It’s also often intended to distinguish the business from others.

Here are some USP’s you’ll recognize: When it absolutely has to be there overnight – that’s FedEx, of course. It spells out what Fed Ex does best and its value to its customers.

How about: You’ll always know the Score – It’s the CNN Headline News Sports Ticker. Who won’t recognize Burger King’s famous: Have it your way!

How about Marine Max – Delivering the Boating Dream. Or, Lakeside Marine, The Pleasure Boat People. Russo Marine is New England’s Leading Powerboat Dealer while customers know Wyzata Marine – The Boat Place. You get the idea.

All these sample USP’s convey either what they do, what makes them different or why someone should buy from them. It’s printed on everything from signs and brochures to business cards and Web sites.

Selecting and using a good USP can be an important part of a marketing program. A good USP is the kind of thing people easily remember — and isn’t that the point?

If you’re using a good USP, or if you’ve seen one in some other business that impressed you, how about sharing it with all of us here. Good ones can stimulate or inspire other good ones.

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