Why taglines go astray

Why do I find so many taglines not supporting the brands they’re attached to?

Why is there a disconnect, a discord?

I have a theory.

For many companies, the tagline, or slogan, is part of an ad campaign. When campaigns change, slogans change. That’s because ad agencies, even internal marcom departments, need to demonstrate their creativity. They believe the ad message is somehow different from the brand, that uniqueness in and of itself is more important than the brand.

Now the “creatives” will certainly not express such a statement. But for them, the campaign is separate from the brand, its heritage, its promise, and its associations. And the campaign includes the “concept”, the style, the headlines, copy and visuals, and…the tagline.

Then, management becomes enamored with the fresh ad idea and approves the entire campaign, including the slogan.

So these advertisers do not actively view a tagline as a branding element. A tagline is part of an ad campaign.

Now most companies do believe and demonstrate the power of a brand-oriented tagline. Quite often it is also referred to a “positioning statement”.

In this context the tag carries a visionary promise, a method of differentiating the company/product from competition, a positive and beneficial idea stakeholders can relate to.

By making the tagline part of the brand initially, and making sure that positioning statement is as sacrosanct as the name and the logo, with as much staying power as the other branding elements, continuity, association, awareness and comprehension will help to build a unified and powerful brand.

Martin Jelsema

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