Just do it.
The happiest place on Earth.
Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.
There is a really good chance that as soon as you read the above sentences, you knew the exact brand associated with each: Nike, Disney and M&M’s, respectively. Most everyone recognizes them instantly. Because of that, they represent some of the most successful taglines in marketing history.
But there’s more to creating a tagline than just coming up with a fun set of words and throwing them together. Indeed, if done well, a tagline can do some serious branding work on behalf of a business.
The power of a well-designed tagline
First off, what is a tagline, exactly?
Taglines and slogans get confused quite often. One of my favorite explanations differentiating the two comes from an old Quora entry. The author says a tagline is “a short, powerful phrase that is associated with your company name,” that will “only change when you want to totally redefine your company.”
A slogan, however, is a short-term phrase that explains “the battle you are waging right now.” There is much more immediacy to a slogan.
When pondering a business tagline, it’s imperative to think of the cornerstones of your business — the elements that won’t be changing anytime soon. In business, the landscape shifts quite often, but there are core things about your work that will rarely change. Yes, Disneyland has added new rides over the years, but they are still “the happiest place on earth.”
And when we see or hear that Disneyland tagline, it immediately conjures up images of fun, the kind of carefree fun that filled our childhood years.
What an incredible association between a brand and the public.
How a tagline can clarify a value proposition
For an example of a well-designed tagline created by a Chattanooga-based business, we can look at what the folks over at Skytec have come up with.
Skytec is a drone company — the proper phrase is “unmanned aerial systems” or “UAS” — that, well, doesn’t deal with your average drones. These aren’t your wedding photographer drone operators. The team at Skytec manages one of the most sophisticated fleets of drones in the country, completing jobs that are not for the faint of heart.
Flying massive drones is only part of what they do, though. Attached to their drones is some of the most powerful imaging technology around, and the data they collect with that equipment is integrated with geographic information systems (GIS) to produce easy-to-understand data analysis.
The problems they’ve faced messaging-wise are two-fold: First, they’ve had to separate themselves from drone hobbyists and operators with less advanced capabilities, and second, they needed a concise way to explain what they do.
Their original tagline, “Aerial Data Specialists” wasn’t so bad in that it told people what they are. Yet, over time they felt they needed something more effective.
After much thinking, they arrived at “Acquire. Analyze. Inform.”
They acquire data with the imaging technology attached to their drones. They analyze that data by plugging it into mapping systems. And they inform their clients’ decisions on major projects with that data understanding.
It’s an easy-to-remember tagline that explains, word by word, what Skytec does with data (which, as it turns out, is their greatest value proposition). And, what’s more, even as the industry and its technology evolve (and it will…a lot), they will still root their services in pillars represented in their new tagline.
Is your tagline built for today only, or for the long haul?
Budweiser will always position themselves as “the king of beers.” Apple continues to “think different.” And Wheaties will forever want you to consider them “the breakfast of champions.”
If your tagline isn’t built to withstand the test of time, or if it simply doesn’t reflect your work anymore, perhaps it’s time for a change.
It doesn’t have to be “finger-lickin' good,” so long as it speaks to the timeless qualities of your company.
David Martin is a co-founder of Heed Public Relations.