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Make a promise worth keeping

Bigstock_street_post_with_promises_ave__17171990Most taglines used by businesses today are a cop out.  They feel good but promise nothing unique.

Creating and using a strong tagline takes real courage.  A tagline that will last for decades is one that makes a bold statement or promise.

So what do you need to consider as you evaluate your own tagline? 

A strong tagline makes someone take pause.  It might be the person it’s directed at like – Just Do It. 

Or it might be the employee who has to keep the promise – when it absolutely positively has to be there overnight.  

A memorable tagline should be a bit daunting.  That’s why it’s impressive.  If BMW has told us their cars were a nice ride, would you have remembered?  But who doesn’t want to drive the ultimate driving machine?  Talk about setting high expectations!

An enduring tagline is tied specifically to the product/service:  Another element of a strong, test of time tagline is that we connect it to the company who owns it.  We don’t remember it just because it’s clever.  We remember who said it.  Take this little quiz. Who told us “you deserve a break today” or promised us “we try harder.”

This is where the generic taglines about “our people” and quality lose their steam.  Who doesn’t believe they provide good quality and that their people are dedicated to their jobs?

A memorable tagline tells a story:  In a single sentence, we got the picture when Timex told us “it takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”  We can only imagine what might happen if forgot the warning “don’t leave home without it.”  

We learn through stories.  We teach lessons through stories.  And we buy and sell around stories.  It’s much easier for us to remember a story than straight facts.  Which is why a story telling tagline sticks.

A powerful tagline points out how the product/service is unique:  Who doesn’t know the unique advantage of an M&M?  They “melt in your mouth, not in your hand,” right?  The Marine’s tagline reminds us that they’re very choosy about who they let into their club.  “The few. The proud. The Marines” lets us know that there’s exclusivity to their brand.  

Everyone wants a strong tagline but most businesses are afraid to make a bold promise.  What happens if it doesn’t get there overnight?  Or if the watch breaks?

It’s narrowly focused concerns like that which lead to ineffective, anyone could say that sorts of taglines like “it’s our people.” 

Good marketers understand that a tagline is not an absolute.  It’s inevitable that you’re going to make a mistake or somehow disappoint a customer. 

But that’s part of the brand promise too.  How do you handle it when you fall short?  Smart companies have a well-defined plan in place for how to handle a situation when they haven’t lived up to their brand promise.  When done well – this “apology” can actually reinforce and amplify your brand promise. 

I’m not advocating messing up on purpose, but when handled well, it can actually serve to strengthen the relationship you have with that customer.

What tagline being used today really makes you stop and take notice?

 

~ Drew McLellan

 

 

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