A brand identity is an organization’s public face. The visual representation of a brand – the logo – is often paired with a short marketing tagline that positions and differentiates the brand in the marketplace.
The tagline’s role in branding is straightforward: Communicate the company’s most important advantage, benefit, or point of distinction in a few compelling words.
But it’s harder than it looks – and most marketers fail.
In part two of this two-part post, here’s advice for creating a powerful positioning tagline for your brand in a smart marketing strategy.
What Makes a Great Positioning Tagline?
Any advertising copywriter or marketing expert can tell you that creating a great brand tagline is no easy task. Most are dull, generic, and forgettable.
But when a positioning tagline works, it becomes a vital component of the brand. Think of GE’s long-time tagline, “We Bring Good Things to Life” or the old Avis tagline, “We’re number 2. We try harder.” You probably recognized both taglines immediately — and without seeing either logo, you could have identified each marketer just by hearing the phrase.
Positioning taglines like these have something special. They are:
- Unique to the brand: The tagline is so much a part of the product’s or company’s identity that it could apply to no other entity.
- Essential to the brand identity: Hearing or seeing the words evokes the company’s brand identity in the consumer’s mind as much as the visual logo does.
- Ubiquitous: The tagline is integrated into the logo design and used whenever the brand logo appears – in every marketing campaign and every marketing channel.
- Unforgettable: Once you hear a great tagline, it stays in your head.
How to Do it: 7 Tagline Tips
So how can you create an effective tagline for your brand? Here’s my advice as a marketing and branding consultant:
- Focus. Zero in on your singular point of differentiation: The key attribute, value, or benefit you deliver that makes your product or organization stand out.
- Make it meaningful: Convey a message that your target audience will care about and understand.
- Make it memorable. Use structure, rhythm, rhyming, or alliteration to coin a phrase that’s distinctive and easy to remember. Consider a creative twist on a common phrase.
- Keep it short. Use as few words as possible, ideally five words or less.
- Say it out loud. Speak the words to be sure the tagline is easy to say.
- Integrate it into your logo design. Design your brand’s visual identity so the tagline is part of the logo.
- Make it yours. If possible, choose a tagline that can only be applicable to your firm or product. Consider including the name of your city or state if your market is regional.
A Final Tip for Your Smart Marketing Strategy
Not every brand identity needs a tagline. In fact, eight of the top 10 global brands as measured in the annual Interbrand list use only icons in their logos (GE and McDonalds are the exceptions).
Keep in mind, however, that companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Coke, and IBM are so well recognized globally that their logos produce instant recognition and marketplace differentiation without needing words.
So unless you’re a global marketer, consider adding a compelling tagline to your brand identity. It can be a powerful way to set your company apart from competitors and a smart marketing strategy.