Bryan Eisenberg was recently asked the following question via e-mail:
“I know you are very busy, but I would like your help. I have read your blog(s) about Unique Value Proposition over and over (and others too). I am perplexed. How do you distinguish between a Unique Value Propostion and tag line. For example Fedex, ‘When it absolutely positively has to be there overnight’ – tagline or UVP?
Your site ‘Keep Your Goals On Target: Increase Conversions, Get More Sales, and More Leads’ – is this your UVP? ‘Market Better’ – your tagline?
Could you help? Maybe a blog on this.
Thanks. I would really appreciate it.”
So Bryan and I thought we’d share my quick and dirty response to that question:
“Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. Each advertisement must say to the reader: ‘Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit.’”
The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique—either a uniqueness of brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field.
The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions, i.e., pull over new customers to your product.”
Notice that there’s no requirement for a Unique Value (or Selling) Proposition to be pithy or memorable. A UVP simply has to speak to the buyer in the language of the buyer about what matters to the buyer – in a way that differentiates your offer from everyone else’s.
But a tagline does have to be short and memorable. Great taglines should incorporate or touch upon the UVP in the way that “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands” totally encapsulates the UVP of M&Ms. Yet there are many taglines that don’t.
“We’re #2, we try harder” may be a great tagline, but it’s arguable as to whether or not it’s really (or still) a UVP. It’s basically an implied claim of better service, and was likely only effective because of the “bold” admission (for it’s day) of an uncomfortable corporate truth. Or at least that AND a lot of substantiating evidence (everyone remembers the campaign but few ever mention the reality of improved service which accompanied that campaign). Once the reality of better service went away, the UVP element of the tagline evaporated. But the tagline remains.
On the not so great end of the spectrum, you’ve got “Quality is Job 1.” Or “Fly the friendly skies.” Or “I’m Lovin’ It”. Bland corporate taglines that contain nary a hint of UVP.
In short, a reasonably substantiated answer to the question, “why do business with us and not the other guy,” is a UVP. A tagline could (and probably should) be a short, catchy summary of the UVP, but there are plenty of taglines that aren’t.