Have you ever been tasked with creating that perfect, memorable line that captures exactly what your company or organization does? Oh yeah, and inspires people to action? AND, is unforgettable, while being brilliant in its simplicity?
I received a call the other day to help a local green organization with their tagline. Typically we don’t just jump in and do taglines. These marketing gems are best crystallized from a complete branding program. But times are tough. Money is short. And organizations need action now.
So I said, “Sure, I’m happy to facilitate the discussion,” and, hopefully, take the gamble out of creating this association’s new tagline in such short order. Here is how we, and you, can create a tagline quickly, starting with some hard questions.
- Who are my top 3 competitors? It’s important to know how your competitors affect your business, what they’re particularly good at, and what are their weak spots. Write down their names, and taglines if they have them, and list their strengths and weaknesses compared to your organization.
- What is my differentiator? In order, list the top three things you do as good as, or better than, your competition. Your #1 point on this list should be your core differentiator, meaning you can do it BETTER than anyone in your market.
- Do my customers care? Does your key differentiator resonate with your customers and is it important to them? How do you make their lives better through your unique product or service?
- What does it mean emotionally? Remember, your customers buy with their heart (right brain) and justify their purchase with their head (left brain). So you will want to confirm that what you’re really good at matters on both an emotional and cerebral level with your target audience.
- Is my tagline easily repeatable and shareable? Now we get into the fun stuff. Our first four questions are meant for you to get your brain around the features and benefits of your organization. Now let’s get to the right side of the brain and start getting creative.
The following are the six important attributes of a great tagline:
- Is it memorable?
- Is it tangible?
- Is it descriptive?
- Is it action oriented?
- Is it aspirational?
- Is it emotional?
All great taglines are obviously memorable. They cut through the clutter and hook your interest. Create them to be tangible and descriptive to attach your customers to your cause. Call-to-actions are also important, because you are asking your customer to do something. Is your call-to-action aspirational? How well does it motivate your audience to action? Finally, and perhaps most importantly, find an emotional touch point as the essence of your tagline to really bring it home.
You can determine the strength of your newly authored line by judging it on a scale from 1 to 5 for each of these criteria (1 being low and 5 high). Hold everyone in your creative group accountable for their honest assessment. If you arrive at a score at or above 24, you are probably working with a fairly decent tagline. If anyone of your attributes scores less than a 3, see what you or your wordsmith can do to bring it up to at least a three.
This is a quick way to thoughtfully create your tagline. However, if you have more time to thoroughly develop your brand, and THEN the tagline; take it! Remember, your tagline is NOT your brand. But that’s a whole other discussion.
Curious, were you able to finish the Smokey the Bear tagline above? I bet you can because it scores off the charts for our criteria.
Now think different, uncap what’s inside, just do it, and create your tagline. Hopefully, it’ll take a licking and keep on ticking for you, so you won’t have to ask, “Where’s the beef?”
Here are 100 of the most influential taglines. Do you have one that’s not on the list that should be?
at 7:54 pm
These are great tips, especially the last 3:
# Is it action-oriented?
# Is it aspirational?
# Is it emotional?
Action oriented and connected to the human aspect of who you’re trying to reach by being aspirational and emotional are so very important. Often missed by causes. Great stuff 🙂
at 9:42 pm
Thank you, Maria, for taking the time to comment. I was hesitant to take this project, because hurried creative brainstormings like these aren’t particularly productive. But this is an important green organization in Arizona, and they really need the help. Plus, it gave me an opportunity to collect my thoughts to make the program as efficient and effective as possible. I’ll report back and let you know how we did. Cheers!
at 10:16 am
[…] while you wait” was my theme for a post a couple weeks back. Although I don’t condone the practice of rapid tagline iteration, […]
at 5:39 am
[…] learn about how to create a great tagline, read, for example Park Howell’s guide to creating taglines or his case study of one tagline development process. Here I’ll focus on the classification […]