Taglines that work
When it comes to taglines (also know as "positioning lines"), most companies fall into one of three categories:
- Have a tagline, developed internally or purchased at great cost. Regrettably, the tag line is very weak because it does not meet the six fundamental tests of any tag line. This is not your fault. You would have made a better choice if you knew the six tests – and you will in about a minute.
- Have no tag line, but would like to have one if the cost of development was reasonable (i.e. within the budget of any small business).
- What's a tag line?
OK, so what are the six tests -- and how do you apply them? Well, let's start by looking at a truly inspired tagline, written for Canadian Blood Services – It's in you to give. That line is brilliant because it meets each of the following six tests. (Note test #6 is optional. It's nice to have, but not mandatory).
Test #1 – Call to action or promise of benefit: This line does both, which is rare. The call to action is that any person can give blood. The promise of benefit is that you will be doing something you know is right.
Test #2 – Short line, usually not more than 8-10 words. The Blood Services tagline uses just five words, but it speaks volumes.
Test #3 – Colloquial language. Every word in the Blood Services tag line is a single syllable, a sure sign that the line is comprised of words that people use every day. Too many taglines (usually crafted by committees) are artificial constructs of long words. A simple test: say the line out loud. If it sounds odd, it's time to get a new tag line.
Test #4 – Easy to remember. Lines that are easy to say are also easy to remember. Artificial lines are difficult to say -- and even more difficult to remember.
Test #5 – Defines your service or product. The combination of your company name and tagline must define your product or service and promise a benefit. You can define your service in the company name and promise a benefit in the tagline -- or vice-versa. Put another way, think of your company name and tag line as a mini-commercial.
Test #6 – Dual meaning – and both are positive. The Blood Services line is one of the very few that meets this test. On the literal level, it says that every person has the capacity to give blood, which is entirely true (subject, of course, to some conditions). On the emotional level, the line says you have the integrity and selflessness to give blood. Brilliant. With five simple words, the writer of the Blood Services line found a way to touch our hearts and our minds.
Let's end with a few questions: Did your advertising agency take you through this process when your tagline was developed? Does your agency team even understand this process? Why would you work with such a company when you could get better marketing support – at less cost – from Words at Work Advertising & Marketing? Just asking...
Try our tagline service
If you are looking for a tagline or if you have just discovered (thanks to the six tests) that your existing positioning line is somewhat lacking, we can help.
Developing a tagline is normally part of a marketing support package, but it can also be a stand-alone project. Typically, we spend about 98% of our time listening/talking/reading and 2% of our time writing. Here are a few examples of our work. Each includes the business sector (which you need to know to judge the effectiveness of the tag line), the company/organization name, and the tagline we developed. Judge for yourself whether they meet the six tests.
|Business:||Exam preparation courses for existing or entry level HR professionals|
|Company name:||Canadian HR Press|
|Tag line:||Earning by Learning|
|Business:||Commercializing innovations developed by professors at the University of Toronto|
|Company name:||Innovations Foundation|
|Tag line:||THE BUSINESS OF iDEAS|
|Business:||Customs brokerage and freight forwarding services|
|Company name:||Universal Logistics|
|Tag line:||Take the Right Route|
|Company name:||Superior Bath Reno|
|Tag line:||You Dream It. We Build It|
Want to learn more? You can reach us by completing our Contact Us form or call 905-940-6610. We guarantee to match – or exceed – any line you could buy from a national advertising agency, but you will have to accept that our fee will be half what national agencies charge for this service.