“Taglines while you wait” was my theme for a post a couple weeks back. Although I don’t condone the practice of rapid tagline iteration, unfortunately the market today is making it a reality. Chief marketing officers of many green organizations don’t have the time and money to do full branding programs that lead to powerful and appropriate taglines, which are just one tactic to express a brand.

Picture 2I recently took the Arizona Nursery Association through the process that I outlined in my earlier post. We were all happy with the results.

Cheryl Goar, ANA’s executive director, was kind enough to allow me to share the process with you in the hopes that it can help other green associations in similar marketing situations.

We worked through the five step process, identifying:

  1. Who are my top 3 competitors
  2. What is my differentiator?
  3. Do my customers care?
  4. What does it mean emotionally?
  5. Is my tagline easily repeatable and shareable?

From the findings:

Although the “Economy” and “Other Associations” were identified as competitors to ANA, it was determined that another local landscape association is their primary competitor for membership.  Each association serves two distinct markets: growers & retail nurseries, and landscape contractors.  Industry overlap is inevitable. However, the economy actually poses a terrific opportunity for both organizations to grow their membership symbiotically.

Considering that their #1 competitor can also be an ally, we looked at the overall competitive landscape to create an ANA tagline that is memorable, tangible, descriptive, action oriented, aspirational, and emotional.

The tagline must also be a reflection of the organization’s values and a touchstone for operational excellence. It’s not enough to talk it; they must walk it.

ANA Differentiators

  • Fulltime and centralized lobbying effort on behalf of membership
  • Business training
  • Member benefits
  • Insurance
  • Politically aware
  • Credible (In business since 1959…“Our trade association”)
  • Proactive
  • Responsive
  • Common voice
  • Tradition

We then dissected the tagline to determine how each word worked toward their overall image goal for the organization.

Tagline outline

Finally, we had each participant score the tagline from 1 to 5 (5 being best) for each of the six criteria. Since we had seven people voting, all numbers at 28 or higher (out of a possible 35) for any criteria indicates that the tagline resonates well in that category.

Memorable………… 29

Tangible……………. 32

Descriptive………… 35

Action oriented……. 28

Aspirational……….. 30

Emotional………….. 29

All in all, we spent about four hours in the tagline creation meeting, and another couple of hours finalizing our write-up and activation strategy. A pretty solid outcome for a rapid fire process.

Just a reminder: A tagline is NOT a brand. To truly understand the essence of your brand and its definable, defensible position in the marketplace, you must invest considerably more time and resources. Done properly, it’s an investment that will pay huge dividends for the life of your organization.

If you have any questions about how we did it, please feel free to shoot me a note. If you have any suggestions on making the process better, please share below in the comments.