Consider your company’s tagline. A tagline is your company’s slogan or catchphrase, typically used on your marketing or advertising material to encompass your value proposition to customers. Think “Just do it” or “It’s finger lickin’ good.”

What’s emblazoned across your website or brochures? Do you have a message that sets your company apart from the competition?

But it’s not just about the clever words. Your tagline should reflect your value proposition. A good value proposition tells customers who you are, what you’re about and why they should do business with you. It can’t exist just as meaningless words recited by the marketing department. It needs to set your company apart.

For some taglines, the underlying concept is good – but the words don’t effectively communicate it. Many taglines are far too general to have any differentiating impact. For others, neither the text nor the underlying concept is good. This is a common problem that distributors run into when trying to differentiate; so many default messages have become hackneyed in this industry (and others) that dilute the message of trust and experience you’re trying to convey. The problem is that many taglines are far too general to have any differentiating impact.

Here are seven taglines you should avoid – and why.

“What you need, when you need it”

This tagline tries to get at the logistics of keeping all the inventory you could possibly need on-hand, ready and waiting, along with possibly “where you need it.” Several distributors use this as a tagline. In a Google search, it resulted in 1.5 million results.

The problem with “What you need when you need it” is that it’s referring to the core thing that distributors must do to stay in business. They get products, they break bulk, they deliver them in a lot size in a timely fashion. All distributors do this: They get you “what you need when you need it.” This is  a logistics-only value proposition. Unless you are radically better at logistics than a company like Grainger or Amazon, this should just be a starting point for most distributors. Think beyond this about value-add and expertise, and benefits beyond just getting things to customers.

“We Carry ____ Products!”

Another logistics-focused tagline mentions the number of SKUs a distributor carries. The customer likely won’t be swayed by numbers like this — what they care about are the products they need, and whether you have them – not the total number of SKUs you have available. Again, what is the added value you’re providing?

“Big enough to matter, small enough to care”

This basic message is not a bad one. It’s implying a level of customer service or customization that says the distributor has enough scale to get things done, but we also are not so big that we don’t personalize or customize. While the concept of personalized service is actually a good message, it’s more helpful to specify how it is that you’re able to personalize or customize. State the effect of your higher levels of service. What does it mean to the customer that I’m small enough to care? Does it make your company more efficient? Does it make you more effective? What is the ultimate benefit?

“Our people make the difference”

This tagline is just too vague and overused that it won’t differentiate your company. Every company has people. And many, if they’ve been in business long enough, have a great team. Yet, it’s not enough to set your company apart.

“Your project, our priority”

This type of a messaging is confirming that the distributor is on the same page, that your success is tied to your customers’ success. Other variations include “You win, we win” and “Your success is our success.” That’s the underlying message, and it’s a good one. The problem is, a lot of people are saying this.

With a tagline, ask yourself — is it the text that’s overused, or the concept? Sometimes, it’s both. To address a common concept, be more specific.

“We make it easy”

Staples made this one famous with their “easy button.” To dig deeper, ask yourself: “We make it easy for you to … do what?” Get answers? Get product? How can you be more specific to your target customers? This tagline is related to “We give you peace of mind,” but it’s a little esoteric. It also is far from unique; it has many results if you search for it in Google. If a distributor does their job right, it should give customers peace of mind. Again, a lot of people use it, so the meaning tends to get lost.

“In business since (date)”

This is something of a default tagline for a company that can’t come up with a tagline. Clearly, it conveys that the distributor has been around for awhile and gives the impression that they’re not going anywhere. But when it comes to customers, it often doesn’t mean much. In some cases, with younger customers, this isn’t necessarily a positive. While your company might potentially use it as evidence that you know what you’re talking about, it’s better kept on the “about” page.

Your tagline is precious marketing real estate. When writing a company tagline, step back from the herd and consider how you can be more specific to your sector, or more precise about what benefit you’re providing. Think customer first. With any messaging, about finding a specific connection and build trust from there.

If you’re struggling with creating a meaningful value proposition and/or tagline, call Real Results Marketing to help.