Taglines are strange creatures.
People say that no one ever bought a product based on a tagline.
Then again, taglines work for Apple (“Think Different”), Nike (‘Just Do It”, and McDonald’s (“I’m Lovin’ It”).
Good taglines inspire, motivate, intrigue, instigate, intrigue and excite.
They provide brands with something memorable in a fast-moving world.
Sure, they are only a few words but a few words can make a big impact.
So, how do brands create good taglines?
Over the past few weeks, I have immersed myself in the world of taglines while creating a workshop for a fast-growing software company.
Taglines are short, functional, snappy and succinct.
Taglines are creative but not too much out of the box.
Taglines need to reflect a brand’s values, culture, and product.
When you boil it down, my advice is taglines need to resonate with customers.
They tell prospects and customers that they made the right decision.
Yes, taglines should have an impact on employees, partners and investors but customers are the focus.
The creation of a good tagline follows these steps:
The willingness to be creative and think out of the box.
Given taglines come in different shapes and sizes, different perspectives are needed. Marketers, salespeople, account managers, customer service reps and senior executives should be the table.
As important, they need the freedom to explore new ideas without being judged.
A good exercise is a word-storming session. On sticky notes, everyone around the table writes down nouns, adjectives, adverbs and adjectives that describe a company’s product and brands.
The sticky notes are placed on a wall and then divided into nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.
From there, each word is tested to see it aligns with the product or brand. It a word seems off, kill it.
At the end of the exercise, there should be 15 to 20 words to spark tagline ideas.
But wait, there’s more!
Another creative approach is having people describe what their company does in one word. That’s a challenging exercise!
Then, make people describe what their company does in 10 words. You’ll probably end up with a lot of corporate-talk!
To make things more interesting, have people describe what their company does in 10 words if they were talking to someone at a dinner party with no knowledge of their business or industry.
Then, ask the group to think about what their customers say about the product or brand. This information can come from case studies, testimonial, customer service conservations or conferences.
Every exercise should give people new ideas and concepts for a tagline.
As ideas emerge, each person captures them on a “cheat sheet”. Some ideas will be odd, incomplete or non-starters. But some may be winners or, at least, have potential.
The final exercise is having people select two or three candidates from their cheat sheets for everyone to review.
This is always interesting because people are putting themselves on the line. Their ideas come from different experiences, biases, and areas of expertise.
It is satisfying when people rally around an idea and disappointing when other ideas are dismissed.
But that’s the point of the exercise.
Good taglines emerge from a group working together. They have exchanged and discussed different ideas. It should be a stimulating, creative and fun process in which everyone plays a role.
With everyone’s tagline candidates out in the open, the next step is getting them down to three or four with the most potential.
These taglines may not be fully baked but they are worth exploring, tweaking and sharing with other people to see if one idea can eventually emerge.
In an ideal world, creating taglines is a quick process. But taglines can also take weeks. You never know how things will unfold.
Taglines have a key role to play, even if they are short and sweet. A tagline is a way for a brand to differentiate itself in a world with an abundance of options.
Here are the slides from the workshop that I ran. If you have questions, let me know.
I work with fast-growing companies looking to grow even faster with marketing that actually works, My strategic and tactical services, which harness the power of storytelling, are driven by frameworks and processes to create strategic messaging, brand positioning, marketing strategies, and content. If you want marketing that makes an impact, let’s talk.
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