Marketing Signature Ingredient #15
Part 1 – Tagline Basics
When you think of a company, product, or service, what is one of the first things that come to mind? Probably the tagline. With so many business names out there and many more goods and services, memorable differentiation is key. Think about it, can you remember the name of your favorite dish at your favorite restaurant? You will more than likely remember it as ‘eggs and bacon’, or ‘the nacho platter’. This applies to many things we spend our money on.
Taglines that are memorable position your offering in the mind of your target audience. Taglines are the key ingredient that will make your business, product, or service memorable above all others. Taglines are what make certain cereals stand out and sell better than others. Taglines position particular automobiles to be dependable: “Built Ford Tough” or perhaps the exceptional: Land Rover “Go beyond.”
It’s unclear when the first tagline was ever used. However we do know that in 1907, a coffee company used a slogan stating their brand was “good to the last tiny drop.” That slogan was used well into the 1980s. Maxwell House proved a great tagline withstands the test of time. Others have had similar success stories following a few simple principles.
Brand taglines do not have to be long, they can be as short as two or three words: “Where’s the Beef?“, or as long as eleven or twelve: M&M’s: “The Milk Chocolate Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand.” However it is always best to keep your tagline as short as possible. Just as too much of one ingredient can ruin a dish or pastry, too many words can often ruin a tagline making it hard to remember.
Taglines like a memorable food dish, will often combine ingredients in a novel way. My favorite restaurant, The Ranch in Las Colinas, makes a simple but memorable appetizer: Margherita flatbread. They use an interesting combination of farm fresh tomatoes and peppers, spiced pecans, goat cheese and a cilantro, (versus a basil), pesto. This unusual recipe makes it a standout. Likewise a memorable marketing tagline contains a simple idea, using an unusual combination of words. This was proved recently by Cornell University computer scientists who analyzed thousands of movie quotes to understand why certain phrases are more memorable than others. They concluded that memorable quotes and taglines possess
- Distinctiveness – they use an unusual combination of words – a turn of phrase that sticks out
- Generality – general enough to be applied in different context
Does your brand tagline possess distinctiveness and generality?
PS Send me your tagline for a complimentary Brand Tagline Analysis