Tag, now you’re it
During a recent session we ran on how to write winning headlines that demand “clicks”, there was some question over whether or not to use a tagline after the main title.
Now, we already know that taglines are great differentiators and are similar to a wonderful chilli sauce. They are most effective when carefully chosen, applied judiciously and used to enhance a brand not simply to add a little heat.
Before we get to the “do’s”, here are three “for crying out loud, DO NOTs”:
1) Sexism: During life leading up to the 1980s sexism (aka male chauvinism, aka misogyny, aka Burgundy syndrome ) was not only an accepted way of life but also a rare art form. Trust me, it will not fly. Regrettable real-life example: Hot Chicken Treats – no fat chicks. A step forward from these 50s anti-classics but still.
2) Use “trendy” clichés: they tend to date quickly, you don’t want to have to change your taglines every year. (“Woo Hoo!” and its derivations sounded terrific in 2001)
3) Approve it before saying it out loud a few times: the excellent Tagline Guru has a “Tagline Hall of Shame ”. Featuring amongst the best of the worst is Jimmy Dean’s, a 50s style eatery (think Happy Days), with its daggy (yes daggy) slogan dangling from its moniker. Look it up.
Necessity being the mother of invention, it became necessary at some point for Companies with names spawned from surnames of founders, partners, acronyms, locations or an amalgam of all or some of the above to let the target consumer know that they had come to the right place. Taglines, the good ones anyway, are not supposed to merely describe the Company’s service/product offering. They give an insight into what the Company in question is all about – be that abstract or as sharply defined as… things that are sharply defined. Here are three tips that may help you tell it like it is.
1) Know your audience and speak to them: Nike’s “just do it” tag would not work for risk averse investors over at J.P. Morgan or Barings (Ed. too soon!!!!)
2) What do you do and how do you do it: taglines can offer a wonderful opportunity to differentiate your service/product offering from that of your competitors Energizer batteries “it keeps going, and going, and going…” and “Nobody does chicken like KFC”.
3) Inspire action or simply inspire: “Gillette, the best a man can get”, “Don’t dream it, drive it” by Jaguar.
For me, character is at the centre of everything. Highlight yours (company’s) and appeal to theirs (your target customer’s). That in itself makes a great start. That said, it’s not how you start… gee whiz, it’s coming to me, just gimme a second… (Ed. stop it!)