Dancing the tagline tango

By Paul Quinn, © 2002

A powerful brand is made up of much more than just your name and logo; your tagline plays an important role too.

A tagline consists of a few short words that communicate to your audience what your company does and how you're different from competitors. A good tagline should identify and position your brand in your audience's mind; summing up its essence, focus or benefit in a way that your audience can relate to. A great tagline uses creative phrasing and it creates a personality.

Taglines are typically simple, memorable phrases that are easily repeated. They normally accompany company logos and are written to stand the test of time (or at least several years). In addition, taglines can be used to help change the perception of a company. For example, if research revealed that people think their local 7-11 store on the corner is "Convenient, but more expensive", then 7-11 might want position their brand with the tagline, "Worth the convenience." (1)

Should your agency develop a tagline?

The simple answer is that all recruitment agencies should consider using a tagline in their marketing materials and company advertising because they offer the following benefits:

1. Minimises confusion by clearly stating what your agency stands for.

2. Simplifies buying decisions because customers know who you are and what you offer.

3. Differentiates you from competition.

4. Raises brand awareness because they are relevant, remembered and often repeated.

5. Provides a shorthand version of your brand promise.

How do you develop an effective tagline?

Your tagline should evolve from your branding strategy to ensure consistency in your overall branding message. The ten ideas below can be used to help develop a tagline for your agency: (2)

1. Ask a question.
Does she or doesn't she? - Clairol

2. Show your unique commitment.
We try harder - Avis

3. Explain product superiority.
Takes a licking and keeps on ticking - Timex

4. Evoke a benefit in a fresh way.
Let your fingers do the walking - Yellow Pages

5. Use an emotive call to action.
Reach out and touch someone - AT&T

6. Use a two-fold delivery with a twist.
Common sense. Uncommon results - David Ingram and Associates

7. Address a specific need.
For women whose eyes are older than they are - Robert Powers (skin cream)

8. Be abstract but client-centred.
After all, it is your information - Authentex Software

9. Describe your product in a novel way.
Liquid jewellery - Lorr Laboratories (nail polish)

10. Link company name to product benefit.
Never forgets - Elephant Memory Systems

How effective is your tagline?

Before you begin to promote your new tagline, check it against the criteria below to assess how effective it will be:

1. Is your tagline consistent with your brand name and brand positioning?

2. Have you used language your target audience will understand?

3. Does your tagline communicate one simple idea?

4. Will your tagline be seen in all advertising and corporate communications?

5. Have you tested the tagline with clients and candidates?

6. Does your tagline differentiate your agency from your competition?

7. Have you eliminated acronyms and initials in your tagline?

8. Are the words used specific (rather than ambiguous or generalised statements)?



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