The board of a local nonprofit recently got into a long, heated discussion over a new tagline, which ended when they found out that the member who brought up the issue really meant their mission statement.
Unfortunately, in business and in nonprofits, people continually mix up the following concepts.
Tagline: “A variant of a branding slogan typically used in marketing materials and advertising. The idea behind the concept is to create a memorable phrase that will sum up the tone and premise of a brand or product (like a film), or to reinforce the audience’s memory of a product.” (wikipedia)
Value proposition: “Why should your ideal customer purchase from you rather than anybody else? If you can answer this question in a sentence, then you have a strong unique value proposition.” (Kinesis Inc.)
Key messages: “Key messages are the most important things to say on a specific subject to audiences…They are clear, concise, bite-sized chunks of information that may stand alone, but more likely are used to develop other materials.” (Environmental Protection Agency. Yes, you read that correctly.)
Mission statement: “A statement of the purpose of a company or organization, its reason for existing.” (wikipedia)
Vision statement: “A description of a company’s values and its long-term goals.” (Wise Geek)
While we’re on the subject of marketing concepts, here are two more that cause confusion.
Brands and branding: “A brand is the idea or image of a specific product or service that consumers connect with…Branding is also a way to build an important company asset, which is a good reputation.” (Brick Marketing, LLC)
Positioning: “A marketing strategy that aims to make a brand occupy a distinct position, relative to competing brands, in the mind of the customer.” (BusinessDictionary.com)
To do this work, I’m sometimes asked to analyze and make recommendations about branding and positioning. Let me know if you need help.