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
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
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
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
5. Have you tested the tagline with clients and candidates?
6. Does your tagline differentiate your agency from your
7. Have you eliminated acronyms and initials in your tagline?
8. Are the words used specific (rather than ambiguous or
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