It’s quite common in the branding and advertising business to hear an organization say, “We need a tagline to go with our name.” Many see the tagline as useful to clarify what their organization does, particularly if the company name provides no real clue about their business category or topic. Still others promote doing away with taglines altogether.
We’d like to issue an important challenge. Let’s drop the term, “tagline,” and think of it instead as a “brand promise.” Elevating the importance of a tagline to that of a brand promise underscores the value of this component to effective branding.
Granted, most people may never be able to play back the exact words in your brand promise statement. That’s okay, as long as they take away the proper perception or expectation of your brand.
Unfortunately, many taglines fall way short of being true brand promises. Common errors include:
- Communicating what business you’re in without providing a benefit to the audience
- Employing overused platitudes such as: “We’re the quality leader,” ”We care” or “Our service is the best”
- Saying something so broad that it becomes meaningless
- Trying to describe your company’s mission
- Confusing the audience by using way too many words
- Communicating what others are already saying
Even once you land on just the right promise, don’t stop there. You need to take the necessary steps to make sure it sticks:
- Share it and explain its origins to all in your organization. Make it an internal rallying cry. The best brand ambassadors are going to be your insiders. Make sure they understand the key role they play in delivering on your brand promise every day.
- Use it consistently with your logo.
- Resist the urge to change it if you grow tired of it. That’s usually the point when it’s just beginning to click with your audience.