Branding Strategy: The Power of a Positioning Tagline

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Branding Strategy: The Power of a Positioning Tagline

Here’s a branding quiz for you:

Which candy “Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand”? Which car is “the Ultimate Driving Machine”? Which auto insurance company puts you “in good hands”?

BMW3If you’re an American consumer, you know the answers to these questions without even having to think.

Why? Because smart marketers like Mars, BMW, and Allstate have created unforgettable positioning taglines that have become powerful components of their brands.

What is a positioning tagline? Does your brand need one? And how do you create a great one?

In part one of a two-part post, I explain why marketers use taglines in branding. In my next post, I’ll share seven tips for developing a tagline for your brand in a smart marketing strategy.

The Tagline’s Role in Branding

A brand identity is the public face of an organization.  A logo is the graphic representation of the company’s brand, often with a symbol or icon. Sometimes, a brand identity includes a short statement that positions the organization in the marketplace. This statement is the tagline.


The tagline’s job is simple: Convey in a few compelling words the most important benefit, advantage, or distinction a company offers – the essence of the brand.

It sounds easy, but creating a great branding tagline is a surprisingly difficult marketing challenge. For every “Ultimate Driving Machine,” there are a thousand failed taglines that are forgettable and generic.

Brand Tagline or Marketing Campaign Theme?

It’s important to note that there’s a difference between a creative theme used in a marketing campaign and a tagline that’s part of a brand identity.

For example, Toyota’s new marketing campaign theme is “Let’s Go Places,” but this phrase isn’t part of the company’s brand identity. At some point, Toyota will move on to another campaign and “Let’s Go Places” will disappear.

Not so with a tagline that’s part of a branding strategy. A tagline that’s an integral element of a brand is meant to last, often as long as the logo does. Mars used “Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands” for decades as part of the branding for M&Ms.

Sometimes a marketing campaign theme is so successful that it comes to represent the brand in the mind of the consumer and ultimately becomes core to the brand identity. “I’m Lovin’ It” for McDonald’s is a good example. So was “Like a Rock” for Chevy. But in my experience as a marketing consultant, this is the exception, not the rule.

What about your brand? Do you need a positioning tagline? How can you develop a great one? Watch for my next post.

Next post:  7 Tips to Create a Powerful Positioning Tagline for Your Brand

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