What is a tag line? It is the written equivalent of a logo: "It’s a brief, catchy phrase that accompanies all of a company’s marketing materials." But it takes a long time to get those simple words right.
Yes writing a tag line is exhausting - believe me - I've had to write about 50 in my time for companies who never had them.
BUT - once agreed upon, the tag is used repeatedly for a very long time, and only occassionally updated.
Tag lines are essentially condensed expressions of one of two things:
1. Your Position: That's what you do (or are) for what kind of people (or market).
2. And your USP - What is special about your product or business, and what audience it wishes to reach with those special qualities.
For example: Both pieces of information can make a priceless contribution to your tag line like:
• Coca-Cola: Coke has run through a number of tag lines in its long history. One tag that sticks in my mind is “It’s the real thing™,” a statement that positions Coke as the genuine drink for people who value authenticity. (At the same time, the tag line implies that Coke’s competitors are fake and that the beverage is consumed, therefore, by phonies - it was the Cola wars - remember them?)
• Nike: Nike gathered a lot of attention (if not a big increase in sales) with its tag line “Just do it.®” In one direct imperative of three monosyllabic words, Nike told the world that it makes a serious athletic shoe for active people who don’t accept excuses for not being active.
To write your own company tagline, try this three-step process:
1. Pick your positions and/or USPs.
Make a short list of possible position statements or unique selling propositions for the product or service you’re selling.
These form the base for your work, for the tags you’ll improvise, so limit yourself to no more than five. Here are two examples:
• Position: Melody Matchmakers is the online dating service for music lovers.
• USP: Melody Matchmakers is the only dating service that matches people based on musical tastes.
2. Play with your positions and/or USPs.
Now for each position or USP, write at least five brief, catchy phrases that embody the meaning, spirit, or intent of your underlying position or USP. Have some fun with it - you'll be amazed what happens when you give yourself permission to be stupid. Puns, wordplay, rhymes, metaphors — they can all play a part in coming up with the right line. Feel free to let your imagination roam you are just generate ideas for now.
Here are two ideas for each of the tag approaches:
• Position: Make beautiful music together. or Because the best love songs are duos.
• USP: Find someone in your key. or Where dates are in tune.
3. Pray for cooperative collaboration.
Suppose that you write 5 witty variations on 5 positions and/or USPs for a total of 25 tag line options.
Now is the time to sit down and critically assess your work: Which option most memorably represents your business’s special purpose?
Then, once you have chosen it - leave it - come back in a day or two and see what you think then. You may want to change one word, or a comma, or all of the words. It's along process but believe me it works when you get it right!
Cheers - see you next time.