365 Advertising Brand Identity Tag Line

365: What’s the Difference: Good Tag Line vs Bad Tag Line

March 12th, 2011

I have partners. I have very smart partners that are not very creative. For being very smart they don’t seem to mind that we have a tagline that is not smart or creative. I think that they (we) are concerned that we won’t know the difference between a good tag line and a bad one if we were to hire creative services. Any advice?

The word “slogan” derives from the Gaelic slaughgaiirm. As it turns out slogans are not for the faint of heart, a slaughgaiirm (slogan) translated is a “war cry”.

A Powerful Tagline is defined by essential characteristics:

1.)    Pop: A powerful tagline gets to it. A well-turned phrase is direct, succinct, and to the point in a few words. Excavating an expression that represents your brand is critical. Big ideas condensed create sticky messages. If you want it remembered and repeated…just say it.

2.)    Differentiates:  The goal is to tell your story with a little punch in a memorable quip. Communicate your attitude, core competencies, flair, and novel purpose in your own voice.

3.)    Capture the truth: Your tagline should be believable, straightforward, clear, focused, and original. Avoid lofty, pretentious, phrases that won’t turn a head, capture anyone’s attention, or mean anything to anyone. Stay clear of jargon and clichés (unless you have a new spin on an common quip).

4.)   Operationalized:  The last thing you want is a message that you can’t deliver and a brand promise that you can’t keep.

5.)    Recognizable: To thine own brand be true. Taglines are intended to reinforce the “word” that you want to own in your customers mind. The trick is to capture and communicate the brand’s collective persona.

6.)    Discover the universal truth in your brand: Sticky slogans get to the heart of the matter revealing an inherent quality, a universal truth, or a drive that all users can relate to at a meaningful level.

8.)    Bold: You want a slogan that is impossible to mimic. This is no time for obscure promotions. Your audience is listening for bold brands to speak up and in a customer centric voice. Be impressively, unequivocally, explicit about who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. Bland is boring. Avoid copy cat, cookie-cutter, safe, vague, tired, homogenized, and drab slogans. A bland brand is nothing to brag about.

9.)    Enduring value: Taglines that have stuck and lasted the test of time have dug deep with a simple message.

10.)    Customer focused: Never forget who you are talking to. Why do they care? Why should they care? What’s the need? The need behind the need? The shared perspective? The promise that compels? The real deal?

11.)    Works: And now that you have done all that…you need to vet it, “google it”, field test it on the outside, put it to the “mother-in-law” clarity check to ensure that it works for you and doesn’t belong to someone else.

We are always amazed at how many brand firms use the phrase “brand fuel” as their proprietary approach, in their taglines, names, and communications. Once upon a time it had zing…now it’s just overdone.

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