“What’s the line?” Don Draper shouts at the copywriter in this season’s final episode of Mad Men. The team at SCDP is pitching Jaguar and after several days of agonizing creative work no one was hitting the right note. Finally, the young copywriter Ginsberg delivers “the line”:
“At last, something beautiful you can truly own.”
Love it or hate it, that line inspired lots of buzz in the blogosphere this year and that’s exactly what a good tagline is supposed to do – get people energized; talking about and recognizing your brand.
Your company’s tagline is part of the BIG THREE elements of your brand: name, logo and tagline.
- Your name anchors your company in the minds of customers and prospects. It represents your business and creates a memory link between your company and the market.
- Your logo is the visual representation of your company. It is the visual that people associate with your company, product and services when they SEE it.
- Your tagline is the written/verbal representation of your company, product and services. It is the link that people associate with your company, product and services when they HEAR/READ it.
Because different people process information differently in their memory, you really need all three to create a strong brand awareness. Working with small business owners I’ve found that while just about everyone has a business name and most businesses have logos, very few have taglines.
If your business doesn’t have a tagline, you’re missing a key element of your branding and marketing.
Let’s see exactly how this works. Here are three taglines from three global brands. Do you know what companies these taglines represent?
- The Ultimate Driving Machine?
- I’m Lovin’ It!
- The Magic Begins Here.
I’ll give you the answers in just a minute.
Great Taglines Begin Here
Here are the five elements that every tagline needs to consider:
- Value. What is the primary value (intrinsic worth or merit) you want your tagline to express?
- Customer Experience. What is the primary experience you want your tagline to express?
- Feature. What is the most important thing that you offer your customers?
- Benefit. What is the most important thing (advantage or improvement) that your customers receive when they work with you?
- Customer/Tribe. Who are you connecting with?
Elements 1 through 4 are often part of the actual tagline. Element 5: Customer or Tribe may not be part of the actual tagline or is often expressed as “You.”
Don’t be fooled, professional tagline writers know exactly who “you” are and exactly what “you” want when they create their tagline. When you create a tagline for your small business you need to know exactly who you are taking to as well.
And the Answers Are
Here’s how this works in practice with our global brand taglines:
- The Ultimate Driving Machine — BMW. Expresses the value of BMW’s German engineering.
- I’m Lovin’ It — McDonald’s. Expresses the customer experience of eating at McDonald’s and/or the taste of the food.
- The Magic Begins Here – Disneyland. Expresses the feature of visiting the park and the experience of being there.
Taglines are just as critical for small businesses. Here’s an example tagline for a CPA. The tagline for our CPA example is: The Knowledge to Act.
Here’s how that breaks down:
Customer Experience: Act
Customer: High Growth Companies
As you can see in this example, we repeated the value/feature and customer experience/benefit. That can make the tagline even more powerful and memorable – exactly what you want in a good tagline.
Although your final tagline may not use all four separate elements and often will repeat words to make the tagline easier to remember, I encourage you to start with four different elements and create at least three different taglines before you make a final decision.
Developing Your Tagline Elements
Now it’s Your Turn. For each of the five elements below, fill in the one to three words that best express that element for your business:
My Value is: _________________________________
My Customer Experience is ______________________
My Feature is _________________________________
My Benefit is __________________________________
My Customer/Tribe is ____________________________
Now that we have the elements you need for your tagline, let’s create the actual phrase.
Create Your Tagline
We recommend putting three to five taglines on the page and reviewing them with your team, your partners, a mastermind group or a few of your best customers to do a little market testing before making a final decision.
You should consider checking to see if your preferred tagline is available as a URL or domain name.
It is a marketing advantage to have your company name, your product/service name (if you have one) and your tagline locked up on the Internet.
Rather than just writing the phrase down, let’s put it on a chart along with the features, value and benefits and experience it represents. It’s a fast and easy way to capture all the elements.
Tagline Formation Chart
Taglines are a powerful way to represent your company, products and services.
It’s a key component of building your brand.
That’s my take on taglines, what’s yours?