How to Choose a Tag Line That Delivers Your Company’s Message Effectively

Have it your way
It keeps going and going and going
We’re looking for a few good men
When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight

Do you have to be told what companies/organizations are associated with these tag lines? Unless you’ve been living in a cave, then you know that those famous tag lines belong to Burger King, Energizer Batteries, the Marines, and FedEx.

From these examples, you can see just how a great tag line can help establish a brand, maintain a brand, and allow a brand to distinguish itself from competitors.

What makes a great tag line?

The object of a tag line, obviously, is to make your brand more memorable. There is no single avenue to success. Some companies try:

  • Humor (Electrolux- “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux”)
  • Visceral reaction (Kay Jewelers- "Every kiss begins with K”)
  • Puns (John Deere- “Nothing runs like a Deere”)
  • Direct business sell (Smith Barney “We make money the old fashioned way- we earn it”)

It’s not just old, traditional brands that have succeeded with creating memorable tag lines. Many online businesses, brands and bloggers, have come up with some truly creative- and more importantly, memorable tag lines:

  • Perez Hilton: Celebrity Juice. Not from concentrate.
  • Buzz Marketing: Because everyone is entitled to my opinion.
  • Get Rich Slowly: Personal finance that makes cents.
  • Newshounds: We watch Fox so you don’t have to.

The Process

Take time to plan

The process should begin with some serious thought:

  • What is the core message you are trying to deliver?
  • Who is my target audience (and what kind of messaging works best for that audience)?
  • What tone do I want to use to deliver my message?

Make the effort to do it right

If you are handling this in-house, then devote the creative resources (manpower and time) to do the job well. Take time to brainstorm. You should come up with at least a few quality choices and then test them out.

Think seriously about having this done professionally. Most businesses, especially relatively small businesses don’t have the kind of creative talent on staff to come up with a quality tag line. Because a tag line can have a truly profound (positive) effect on your business, you should think strongly about investing in an advertising or branding company to help you out.

Test it out

You may think you have a great tag line, but does your audience think so? When you come up with your tag lines, run them by as many independent people as you can. If you can afford to, run focus groups. At the very least test them out on collages, friends and clients.

You might be surprised which ones they like.

Rules

This heading is misleading. There are no rules, per se. As you can see, successful tag lines take many forms.

On the other hand, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Bragging rarely works

“We’re the best” is a meaningless tag line because it doesn’t begin to tell you why. When Avis said “We try harder,” it succeeded because the message was “we’re going to do everything in our power to make your car renting experience to be a great one.”

While Electrolux (above) may be technically bragging, they get away with it because they do it with humor (“Nothing sucks…”).

Keep it as short as reasonably possible

Obviously, not all tag lines are short, but the vast majority of the best ones are. The object is to be memorable. Logic tells us that it is far easier to remember a short message than a long one. Forbes didn’t do too badly with “Capitalist Tool.” Neither did the Milk Counsel’s “Got Milk” campaign.

Don’t be generic!

Remember, your tag line should be a mini advertisement for you. If it has nothing to do with who you are, what you offer or what your audience needs, then it will get you nowhere.

Multiple taglines for multiple situations

Don’t be afraid to create more than one tagline. One can be used to reinforce your brand name, while a second can be used to help target specific customers. For Example, Blue Fountain Media has a tagline that we associate with our logo: Springing Ideas to Life. While our service-specific tag line is: Results-Driven Website Development & Online Marketing.

Tags: How To

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