By: Gordon Conner
OK, yeah The California Milk Processor Board got this one right. But the reality is, not all taglines are perfect. (We aren’t naming babies here.) We’ll concede that the tagline is a very important part of your brand identity. But it isn’t going to cause your business to live or die. You could have the worst tagline on the planet and still grow your business. But, let’s conclude that the tagline will make a difference, so we’ll see how we can make yours better. A tagline is not clever. It is not impressive. It’s not funny.
And your response to that is “but my tagline isn’t catchy enough.” Your tagline can be all of those clever things, but they are just characteristics of the tagline. Decorations, if you will. They are not the actual tagline. For example: A sports car is sporty, but it’s still a car, right? The “thing” (car) is separate from the decorations. You see, when it comes to taglines, the “thing” is the reason for your prospects to stay. That’s all. You can make the tagline boring, make it rhyme, make it outrageously bold, but if it doesn’t give people the reason to stay, trash it!
Herein lies the reason why you may not necessarily need a tagline at all. If you have other reasons for people to stay, through your website or from other reasons within your brand reputation, you don’t need it. It’s nice but not necessary. So what causes people to stay? Here are a few ways to get folks to stay:
Tagline #1 – “I do [something] for [somebody].
In this version, you take what you do and talk about who you do it for.
§ Income sources for stay-at-home Moms.
§ Career coaching for senior executives.
§ Errands run for busy people.
This works so well because it states that you have something your market needs. It tells your market your offering is for them and not for others that don’t have that need. How about a plumbing company with the line on their trucks that says “Residential Plumbing” and the word “resident” is big and bold. It becomes clear that they specialize in resident work and not the commercial side. This name quickly implies that this company has their act together and they know exactly what they do and do it well.
Tagline #2 – “I do [something] in [a certain way].
Here you would highlight a benefit that is particularly important to your market. With this approach, you have an edge because you are the only one talking about this benefit.
§ Website design done in 3 days
§ Tech support that comes to you
§ Dry cleaning, in by 9 out by 5
§ Snappy Copy That Sells Stuff J
This technique assumes there is a benefit you offer that will cause your market to buy from you instead of the other guys. If you said “Websites for small businesses” it would not be as intriguing as “Website done in 3 days.”
The advantage of these types of taglines is showing a competitive advantage when comparing your company with the competitors. Tech support that comes to me? That’s like house calls, right? Count me in!
Tagline #3 – This is used when you have a big claim as a competitive advantage. This approach is typically used by larger businesses. But us little guys can sometimes use it.
§ Amazon – “Earth’s Biggest Book Store.”
§ Walmart – “Always low prices.”
§ Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey’s Circus – “The Greatest Show On Earth.”
What are they saying? “We’re the best” or “nobody else can do what we do.” That’s setting a pretty high bar. You’d better be able to deliver on that promise.
You might be the biggest online fitness website in the world. If you are, have at it. Just remember, that’s your interpretation and it can be challenged. Is Ringling Bros. And Barnum and Bailey’s Circus really “The Greatest Show On Earth?” Well, that’s anybody’s guess today. But when that line was first developed, they probably were. So, if you have a really strong statement that you can make, make it! (But only if it can’t be refuted.) If Amazon decides to open an online fitness site, you’re screwed!
There’s plenty of other stuff that can go into your tagline, but, again, most of it is decoration. If you’re adding something else, just remember to be clear first, clever second. Everyone has an opinion about what makes for a great tagline. But when it really comes down to it, a good tagline gives your buyers a reason to stay.
Tell us about your tagline. Is yours produced for the right reasons? Is it clear?
About the Author
Gordon Conner is a Copywriter, content writer and blogger who writes “Snappy Copy That Sells Stuff”. He has been providing advertising, marketing, branding and copywriting services for 39 years and lives in Midlothian, Virginia. He can be reached at Gordon@GordonConner.com. or http://www.GordonConner.com.