I am Canadian.
Can You Hear Me Now?
You probably already know which companies these taglines belong to. The first one is from 7 Up. The second and third are from Molson Canadian and Verizon Mobile. Each one is meant to grab your attention. Each one is meant to communicate a message. The best taglines, like the ones above, can pull this feat off in just two seconds. They do this by concentrating on one thing, making it memorable. Like poetry, there are tricks to making certain words and phrases sticky. Techniques like alliteration, rhyme and repetition are just a few. This is why the best taglines, like the best poetry, are able to evoke an emotion within only a few words.
Tagline vs Slogan: What’s the Difference?
Some advertising executives like to differentiate between the terms slogan and tagline. They say a slogan is a catchphrase, whereas a tagline is "tagged" to the end of your logo. Another difference advertisers like to point out is that slogans are more flexible, whereas taglines are meant to stand the test of time. For instance, Apple’s current tagline is "Think Different." However, its slogan for the iPad Air is "Change is in the Air," updated from "Two sizes do all."
Advertisers get paid a lot of money to come up with reasons why slogans and taglines are different. The truth is, and this is especially the case for small or medium-sized businesses, there is little difference between the two. They may even be one and the same for startups. While it’s good to know the difference between a slogan and a tagline, don’t let it cripple your ability to create an awesome tagline. Both are used for messaging to differentiate your product from the competition. Ultimately, the goal of any good tagline (or slogan) is to promote brand awareness.
Reasons for Having an Awesome Tagline
Taglines generally go hand in hand with your brand. The two work together to communicate a message that sums up your business identity. Like branding, taglines are used on all marketing material to promote your business. You want customers to auto-associate your brand image with your tagline. It’s almost impossible to think about Nike’s "Just Do It" without seeing the Nike branded check mark. This association creates a connection beyond price for your customers, which allows you to sell your product for more. In this way, taglines have the ability to advance your product in the mind of your customer and grow sales. This is why name brand products command a higher price than unbranded products. Likewise, you also want a tagline that promotes loyalty and speaks to what your customers really want.
What Makes A Great Tagline
In thinking about your tagline and what kind of message to convey, consider your brand. What solution do you provide? How is it different from competitors? Taglines can be cute, flippant, clever or a play on words. The most outstanding taglines all have one thing in common. They evoke an emotional response that sticks in your mind. And, they do it in only a few words. This is the genius of successful taglines. Let’s take a few minutes to identify those qualities that make some taglines more memorable than others.
Most of all, awesome taglines are memorable. The most important attribute in creating a good tagline is the ability to evoke emotion. The reason emotion is important is because it makes it easy to recall. You want to help your customers to recall your brand, product or service with a few highly memorable words. In this way, fewer words are better. According to cognitive neuroscientist Stanislas Dehaene, the average person can recall a verbal memory for about two seconds. That’s your window of opportunity. And, you want to trigger as many verbal senses as possible. It’s no wonder that alliteration, rhyme and repetition, tools of the poet, are used to compose memorable taglines as well.
Alliteration refers to the use of the same letter for more than one word. For example, Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers or Capital One’s tagline "What’s in Your Wallet?". Rhyme refers to a sound more so than a letter. For example, Bissell’s "We Mean Clean." Repetition refers to the number of times you repeat a word.
Messages are more effective when repeated. For example, Clairol’s "Does She or Doesn’t She?" or Campbell’s Soup’s "M’m! M’m! Good!"
You also want the tagline to call attention to what makes your business unique. What is your point of differentiation? For example, "The Happiest Place on Earth" is Disneyland’s tagline. Are you in any doubt of what they are trying to sell?
There’s also an inspirational component for some taglines. These are perhaps the most successful. They are not only inspirational, but authentic and original. This is the genius behind Nike’s "Just Do It" or Staples’ "That Was Easy."
How to Select a Winning Tagline
Now that you have a few ideas, you need to test them out. This isn’t about you. It’s about your customer. So, the best way to test your tagline is to get feedback from your customers. Ask for opinions from friends and family. Run a poll on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Ask your clients to come up with taglines for you. Reward the winner with a free gift. How do you know if the tagline is a winner? There’s a tendency to overcomplicate this answer, but if it attracts attention from your customers, it’s a winner.
As you refine your brand, refine your tagline. You want it to be clear and concise, and a little bit of genius doesn’t hurt.