Branding Basics – Step 10

Now comes the question, “Do you need a tagline?”
The answer is, “It depends”.
There are several possibilities here. First, the brand name may not require an “expander”. In and of itself the name may identify and differentiate the company, product or service. This would be classified as an ideal name. They don’t occur frequently. That’s why almost everyone thinks they need a tag (aka, slogan).
A tagline can serve as many as four purposes, but normally no more than one or two. That being the case, you’ll have to choose which purpose you believe is most appropriate and important. If another function can be accommodated, so much the better.
First, a tagline can be a positioning statement. That means it’s the tagline’s function to express how the offering attempts to differentiate itself from competition.

Second, the tagline can define the product category in which the offering is based. Sometimes it will also include an unsubstantiated claim about the superiority of the offering within its category.

Third, the tagline can communicate an overt benefit that may or may not be exclusive to the brand. This can become a “preemptive” tactic to associate the benefit with the brand before competitors become known as the provider of this benefit.

Fourth, the tagline will identify the prospects for the product or service. This may be particularly valuable if you offer different “versions” of the product/service, and you promote each version to its intended market or industry.

For instance, he tagline for my business, Signature Strategies, attempts to serve two purposes: communicate a benefit and identify prospects. That line is: “helping smaller companies profit from the power of branding”.

But beware of the tagline as platitude. Y2K Marketing purports that most taglines are platitudes that mean nothing to the prospect or customer. Their test is this: if your reaction to a tagline is, “Well, I should hope so!”, then you don’t have an effective tagline that communicates with credibility or meaning. You have a platitude.

How well do you think the line performs those objectives? Comments welcome.

Martin Jelsema

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