Ideas for Your Business from Idea Cafe

Unique Selling Propositions -- Creating Your Online Logo

How's the old saying go? A picture tells a thousand words. That's why companies have logos. You can't mistake the golden arches for anything but McDonalds. But unfortunately, you can't send logos via most people's email -- someday for sure, but not today. That's why a few words -- maybe not a thousand, but a few -- are so important for helping people remember you. That's why your email probably needs a USP -- a Unique Selling Proposition.

It's easy to add A USP to all of your outgoing email as part of a Signature File (Sig file) -- those few lines of text at the bottom of your mail with phone, fax, address -- and something unique about your biz, probably your USP.

USPs work a lot like logos. "It's finger-lickin' good," says Kentucky Fried Chicken's USP. "Melts in your mouth, not in your hands," promises M&M's. A USP shapes and reinforces your company's brand and identity. It says what's different about you from all the rest.

How to Create Your Own USP
Ernest Hemingway said he could write a story in 6 words. "For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Used". That certainly conveys a message. Your USP does the same thing. In very few words it tells the story of your business. You've already seen Idea Cafe's USP, a story we try to live up to every day: "A fun approach to serious business."

First: Your Mission
To get started writing your USP, grab blank paper and a pencil -- with a good eraser! If you've got a biz plan, whip out your Mission Statement. Can you distill its essence down to one line? Maybe not, but it's a good place to look for inspiration. The USP for Eureka! Packs & Tents gives a lot of company history: A Century of Trust. 100 Years of Fun.

What's the Big Deal?
Your USP will rise above the rest when it separates you from your competitors. There are lots of car makers, but only one -- Jaguar -- is "the perfect blend of art and machine." Jaguar delivers on that promise with big engines and fine wood and leather interiors. They're not trying to say they're like Volvo.

Don't lie!
It helps to have a USP that tells the truth and promises only what you can really deliver. Just think if M&M's melted in your hands!

Keep It Short!
Think Hemingway, not Dostoevsky. USPs for the Net are generally shorter than USPs for print media and more like USPs for radio and TV, like Visa's slogan, just five words: "Everywhere you want to be." Rule of thumb: No more than one line of type in your Sig File.

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