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A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is a statement that describes how your product or company is different (and hopefully better) than the competition. The best USPs take a unique quality and explain how that quality will benefit your customers, all in a few memorable words. Many companies past and present use USPs as their slogans, so that they can put them in front of as many prospective customers as possible. In fact, some of the best slogans of the past have used unique product qualities that no one would think were good selling points — until they worked! Here are a few particularly great examples of Unique Selling Propositions.
“We’re number two. We try harder.”
This USP does a remarkable job of turning what seems like a negative quality into a benefit. For many years, Avis was in the unfortunate position of being the second-largest car rental company, while Hertz claimed the #1 spot. In fact, Avis was having trouble just staying solvent. So Avis decided it was time for a total image makeover and hired the famous ad agency Doyle Dane Bernbach to come up with a new ad campaign that would pull the company out of its hole. The ‘We Try Harder’ campaign was so successful, Avis’ market share went from 11% to 35% in just four years.
“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
FedEx no longer uses this slogan, but while it lasted it was perhaps the perfect example of a great USP. In a few words, FedEx gives its customers the guarantee that it will deliver their packages safely and on time. The slogan actually delivers not one but two benefits: the security of knowing that the package will be delivered as promised, and the ability to save time by getting it there overnight. Sadly, FedEx has since replaced it with the slogan, “The World on Time,” which is far less powerful because it doesn’t contain a USP.
“The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”
This is an example of how even a quirky USP can attract customer interest. Who would think of making a selling point out of the fact that your product doesn’t melt when you hold it? M&Ms did, and it worked very well for them. This goes to show that as long as a benefit is meaningful to prospective customers, it will be effective. In this case, the fact that the M&M candy shell keeps the chocolate inside from oozing out and dirtying your hands is a definite plus for customers.
“A diamond is forever.”
There’s a reason that the famous DeBeers slogan has been in use since 1948 and is still used by the company to this day. The USP here is that diamonds, being almost unbreakable, last forever and thus are the perfect symbol for eternal love. As a result, diamonds became by far the most popular choice for engagement rings. It’s no surprise that Advertising Age magazine named this the best slogan of the 20th century.
“You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.”
This slogan is really too long to be catchy, but it’s still an excellent USP because it’s spells out a guarantee with perfect clarity. The terms of the deal are laid out so specifically that Dominoes customers know they can hold the company to it. Sadly, Domino’s no longer uses this slogan or offers this deal because it lead to a series of car accidents when delivery drivers started driving like maniacs so that they could beat the thirty-minute limit.
image credit flickr
About the author
My first sales position was a summer job selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. I continued through a variety of sales jobs ranging from retail sales for a storage company to selling bank products for a Fortune 500 financial institution.
As a small business owner, I now focuses on selling for my own company, Tailored Content, a website content provider. I write on a wide range of topics but my primary focus is sales and how to sell effectively.