Today, I want to talk with you about the power of taglines.
Every day, I build brands (like the ones you see above) that get the attention needed to attract new customers.
Yes, customers will remember their brand experience.
But after that, how will they remember your brand?
What is this Special Sauce?
It’s that special ingredient that transforms something ordinary into something spectacular and impossible to ignore.
Every brand has key ingredients that impact perception, reputation, and customer conversions.
But one ingredient has a unique role.
The same role as “just do it” and “the real thing” and “think different.”
Elevating Your Brand in a Few Syllables
When Brad and I first spoke, he had developed a new company called Truefire.
The site offered online lessons to learn how to play music with a focus on guitar.
Brad had hired me to develop his brand so it really would work for this younger audience.
We’d done it previously with another of Brad’s companies so this was a chance to have lightning strike twice.
So, the day came for me to show Brad the new logo for the brand.
Being a little nervous, I pitched it and then unveiled it.
Brad loved it.
But that’s not where the magic happened.
It was two days later….
Something was bothering me. I didn’t know what.
It felt like there was a missing ingredient, something to help those new to the site connect the dots.
I woke up and it hit me: the site was about musicians, their community, their passion, and stoking the fire of that passion, hence the name Truefire.
Three words closed the loop.
I emailed Brad and said, I have the tagline and to give me a call. (By the way, a tagline is typically used as part of the brand language and positioning. On the other hand, a slogan is particular to a specific marketing effort.)
The phone rang. I told Brad.
He went out of his mind.
Those three words? Ignited we stand.
And that was years ago before they became the world’s most comprehensive library of guitar instruction with a course library featuring over 25,000 interactive video guitar lessons (from Grammy award winners, to top session players, to world renowned educators).
To help give you an idea of the power of taglines — your secret sauce — I’ve chosen a number of slogans I’ve created for various clients in no particular order.
As mentioned above, Truefire.com is a company that offers online music lessons (in excess of 40,000 lessons) to the community of musicians around the world. Their slogan? Ignited we stand.
Simply Snackin’ makes premium jerky in the very noisy jerky space. The way to help them stand out? With the core tagline Nature’s Original Protein Bar accompanied by Play Hard Snack Often and (inspired by the trend of microbreweries and micro-coffee roasters, etc.) a new category of factory: Crafted in our own Micro-snackery. (Read the full story here.)
TrendCreators provides market research and an exact roadmap to follow to apply their findings. In short, they give you everything you need to grow a business intelligently. The slogan was as straightforward as it comes: The Answers to Business Growth. (Read the full story here.)
Deli Patrol makes artisanal slow-smoked meats from pastrami to corned beef and more. They also needed a domain name and these four words satisfied both of those needs: More flavor per pound.
Landmark Performance Group services the agri-businesses of the world such as John Deere providing market research. The tagline that told that story came in three words: Unearthing product potential. (Read the full story here.)
KnowBe4.com provides security awareness training to help employees avoid the tricks of hackers who fool employees into mistakenly providing user names and passwords. The slogan that summarized what they did in three words? Human error. Conquered.
Enzacta has a line of supplement products and also a way to earn additional income. The outcome is a healthier, better life. The slogan? Life. Rebuilt.
Exceptional Portfolio provides a more responsible, more humanized online investment opportunity. The goal was to provide a better, more reliable return with online investing with easier-to-use tools. Four words told that story best: More balance. Less work. (Read the full story here.)
Stout Systems was an award-winning company that provides expert-level software, Web and embedded systems development consulting, and staffing services. To avoid the endless clichés used for technology companies, we opted for a more humane approach: Fueled by the Most Powerful Technology Available: Human Intelligence.®
True Taste produces super healthy nutritional bars with no more than 5 ingredients, all of which you can pronounce, and with no soy, totally vegan and is 100% non-GMO. The most notable difference was using plums instead of the very commonly used dates (which have incredibly high levels of sugar). The slogan that hinted at their distinction: Delicious. Nutritious. Nothing Suspicious. (Read the full story here.)
With a reputation that is sterling and pretty much without equal, I still needed to address this on the rebrand for VIP skin care specialist Joanna Vargas. Joanna Vargas Salon needed one word to make her brand meaningful and instantly memorable: from skin care to skin care sanctuary.
Botanical Bakery is the Napa Valley-based creator of the most amazing shortbread cookies you will ever eat. They were a rebellious brand so we used Natural. Delectable. Unapologetic. (Read the full story here.)
American Dance Institute had a 25-year legacy that needed to refine its brand to reach today’s new, younger audience. We discovered that strict, authoritative teaching methods were common among dance studios in their region, something American Dance Institute didn’t do. To combat that, we developed the simple, straightforward slogan Movement. On your terms. Click on the link to watch the video and see the whole story. (Read the full story here.)
Dunn Brothers Coffee needed to separate itself from the very competitive coffee chains and independent coffee shops. Part of that story was captured in these four words: The Official Home of Taste. (Read the full story here.)
Change Management needed a tagline to complete the rebrand we developed. The perfect answer: Never stop conquering.
Defiance Fuel water needed a total rebrand but, once we nailed the name and visual branding, the anchor became the slogan since their audience is exclusively athletes. The slogan doubled as a battle cry: Defy limitation. (Read the full story here.)
One photographer whose focus was weddings asked me how to convey that since the “wedding photography” space is highly competitive. My response? “True love is worth a shot.” I was just told by her mentor, she’s now crushing it.
For those who are counters, that was 15, but here is one more (yes, that’s 16 examples) that I have to include. Imagine this: a startup wants a boutique burger joint that merges a love of trains with a love of burgers. OMG. So, after getting my wits around this one, it hit me… (you sitting down?): Chew. Chew. I told you, I had to include it.
The Final Ingredient
As you see, the secret sauce I am referring to here is a smart, differentiating tagline.
And just like we don’t put Folger’s in the same category as actual good coffee, all slogans are not equal just because they’re made up of a few words.
For this final ingredient to be valuable to your brand, it must contain certain qualities:
- Needs to be based on actual distinctions your customers care about
- Needs to be original and distinct from your competition (“If you’re using clichés to promote your brand or service, you’re promoting your category, not your brand.”)
- Needs to be about what customers value (and it’s different business to business)
Use these to help separate your brand from your competition.