Editor's Blog

The Power of Great Taglines

December 12, 2010

Wikipedia defines a tagline as a variant of a branding slogan used in marketing and advertising. The idea behind the concept is to create a memorable phrase that will sum up the tone and premise of a brand or product (like a film), or to reinforce the audience's memory of a product. Some taglines are successful enough to warrant inclusion in popular culture.

What I teach my clients is a great tagline should:
    1. Be 3 to 5 words at most.  The shorter the better! To be memorable it’s got to be short. I was taught by Marketing Mentor, Leo, that a great tagline is like a great billboard…5 words or less.  

    2. Mean something to the customer first.  A great tagline tells the customer what you stand for and what is your unique promise or your unique selling proposition so they can know what they can hope to experience from working with you.  

    3. Tell the staff what we promise and seek to deliver.  A great tagline teaches the unique promise or unique selling proposition we are dedicated to making a reality. It’s a higher calling for all those on your staff. The reason “Why we do what we do.”
Rule #1: Keep it clean.  
Rule #2: Keep it non-religious and non-political.  
Rule #3: It’s okay to tie it to the name if it’s not too corny.

Examples of Really Great Taglines

Examples of really great taglines from customers I’ve worked with that are all trademarked:
    1. Gold Medal’s “Award Winning Service”
    2. Golden Rule’s “We obey the rules to live by.”
    3. Forever Dry Roofing’s “Here today. Dry forever.”
    4. Precision Plumbing’s “Is today soon enough?”
    5. SECCO Home Services “Expert at your door”
Examples outside our industry:  
    1. Target: “Expect More. Pay Less.”
    2. Walmart’s “Save Money. Live Better.”
    3. Home Depot “More Savings. More Doing.”
    4. WebMD’s “Better Information. Better Health.”
To make a great tagline, it helps to have a great name. But even if you don’t have a great company name, you can rescue it with a great tagline. To do that you must be crystal clear about what is it you uniquely do.

A great way to gain clarity on what you do that creates distinction in the customer’s mind is to practice saying what is unique about you. To do that even better, imagine you’re in an elevator [a.k.a the “Elevator Speech”] and someone turns to you and sees your shirt or cap and says, “ABC Company…why should I use you guys?”  

What would you tell that person in the time it takes the elevator to reach their floor that would imprint in their heads why you’re the right choice for their home or business?  

A good way to create an elevator speech which will lead you back to creating a great tagline is to create a bulleted list of all the great things you think you do. Then, whittle it away by comparing yourself to your competition. The final list gets boiled down to your Top 3 reasons why they should call you. Then, lead with your best.  

At my company, it went like this: “It doesn’t matter who we send to your home. We have detailed manuals so we can all do the work pretty much the same and avoid the mistakes others make. Also, we’re not coming to your home to learn our job like other companies who refuse to train. We’ve already been trained and certified in our own state of the art training center! Care to come visit?”  

Boil your elevator speech down to a great a three- to five-word tagline and you’re marketing has clarity.  

One last thing, role-play your tagline and elevator speech to death until everyone at your company knows it and is living it and watch the dollars flow to you.


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