Tagline – Your Positioning Slogan


Marketing Signature Ingredient #15

The Marketing Chef Logo


Part 2 – Tagline Keys

In the last post on marketing taglines and slogans we covered their importance as a marketing ingredient to position your product or service offering in the mind of your target market. To be memorable it needs to be:

  1. Short
  2. Distinctive – unusual combination of words, but
  3. General enough to be applied in different contexts

The Cornell University study also discovered that memorable marketing slogans, quotes and phrases use:

  •  More present tense verbs, versus past tense
  • Few pronouns (other than you),
  • The indefinite article “a” rather than the definite article “the”,

These all contribute to taglines that are more general than specific.

So let’s put this to the test. I took the first ten of Forbes List of 20 Best-Loved Taglines:

  •  The Ultimate Driving Machine. (BMW)
  • Just Do It. (Nike)
  • Don’t Leave Home Without It. (American Express)
  • We Try Harder. (Avis)
  • Got Milk? (California Milk Processor Board)
  • There Are Some Things Money Can’t Buy. For Everything Else, There’s MasterCard.
  • Think Different. (Apple)
  • The Few. The Proud. The Marines. (U.S. Marines)
  • You Deserve a Break Today. (McDonald’s)
  • A Diamond is Forever (DeBeers)

The brand taglines average length was 4.9 words. None of the taglines used the past tense. Almost no personal pronouns were used in the taglines. Only two taglines used the definite article “the.” The taglines used interesting word combinations. All the taglines possess distinctiveness and generality. So it works … just do it!

In crafting your brand tagline, remember it will rarely appear without your company name, brand or product. For example, GE – We bring good things to life”… the words GE appeared before the tagline. “Let your fingers do the walking,” was supplemented with the distinctive Yellow Pages logo. The statement “Tastes Great, Less Filling” accompanied a can of Miller Lite. Or the picture of a Chevy Truck were tied to the words: “Like a rock.” So your memorable distinctive slogan will often combine your organization’s name or product with the tagline.

Finally, since your brand tagline is your key ingredient to communicate positioning, it should be concocted with care.  You would not add hot sauce to a Marble cake, nor should a tagline be unremarkable .  Your tagline must position your product’s benefit, outcome or experience.  Don’t be too wordy, lest people forget the message entirely.  It will take work, but eventually, you will come up with that perfect tagline for your offering.  Just as a great chef takes time to develop his signature dish, so will you eventually develop your tagline.  The key is to “just do it”.

Postscript:  You may be wondering what my new tagline is? (It only took me five years to craft it!)

The Marketing Chef: Stirring up Simply Irresistible Business  

Brand Tagline Characteristics: Five words – present tense – outcome oriented – distinctive word combination (stirring up business) – no personal pronouns – congruent to my brand – who else stirs up new business but The Marketing Chef? Contact me if you need help cooking up a better tagline!


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