Everything I Know about Marketing I learned from Google

Chapter 12: Your Unique Selling Proposition Is Critical

Executive Summary:

What catches your eye in a sea of Google text listings?

A differentiated value proposition aka a unique selling proposition (USP). Google has very strict guidelines about what you can say in your ad. Following their rules can help you craft your USP.

No marketing asset better typifies the USP than a slogan. A slogan is your brand promise.

Bing overpromises with its “decision-engine” billing. Google doesn’t have a slogan per se but its AdWords tool promises, “It’s all about the results.”

I’ve set up a blog at GoodSloganBadSlogan.com to evaluate – you guessed it! – good and bad slogans.

A great exercise to develop your USP is the Four-Boxes of Branding. Distilling your entire brand down to what it is, what it does, what it means and who it is can be an effective way to go to market. The model is timeless and works for every organization from CPG to B2B to restaurants.

Make sure your USP is succinct, focused on benefits, and relevant. This is one time it’s ok to let yourself get boxed in!

Select Quotes:

“Search requires that brands think about how to communicate their value proposition beyond the sound-byte, jingle, or image ad.”

– Matt Spiegel, Global CEO, Omnicom Media Group Digital, @MSpiegel

“Find your brand promise and live it every day!”

– Aaron Mangness, Director of Brand Marketing and Business Development, Zappos, @macknuttie

“Clients and brands have been taught to communicate in single sentences and thoughts – “I Tarzan, you Jane.”

– Scott Hagedorn, U.S. CEO, PHD, @ShaggyX

“Only you can define yourself. Never let others tell you who you are or what you can be.”

– Chris Copeland, CEO, GroupM Search, @SearchBoss

“Don’t talk about the secret under the hood if people don’t know how to drive the car.”

– David Szetela, CEO, Clix Markting, @Szetela

“The key to the USP is identifying the ‘unmet need’ in a category or service.”

– Mark Goldstein, Vice Chairman and Chief Marketing Officer, BBDO North America, @MDGoldstein

Final Thought:

Do your customers and prospects see your brand as unique? If not, you reek.


Sept. 8, 2010: One of the 25 best slogans of all-time listed in this chapter is Apple’s “Think Different.” Check out this video of Steve Jobs in 1997 talking about the Apple brand and introducing the tagline. Gotta love his unintended pun when referring to the Apple “core.”

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