tag lines

Give your brand a funky chat up line

Photo by PinkMoose on Flickr

I've already written before about tag lines, or brand slogans. To put it briefly, a successful tag line is similar to a chat up (or pick up) line: it triggers interest and the "chattee's" wish to explore the "chatter" further, without giving away too much information about the "chatter". You can also think of it as your tiny elevator pitch: it gives enough clues for what the product or service is about, triggering further interest to discover more.

Giving your tired brand a catchy tag line can sometimes revitalize your business, and spark the love of more fans.

I've already shared my list of criteria for a successful tag line, check out the blog post What's your brand's slogan?.

But what is actually the process, or technique, of coming up with a juicy brand slogan? True, sometimes you'd come up with an amazing tag line (or even a company name) in your dream, or while jogging in the park, but it's of course difficult to rely on these strikes of genius. There is, however, a bit of a nerdy nerdy way forward:

1) If you are a brand and marketing nerd, do a proper brand audit of whatever brand you are working on. Shake up the old stuff, and see what has been done to the brand in question in the past. Ask questions. Challenge.

2) If you not a marketing nerd, then you gotta find one to help you with this task.

3) The brand audit will be a good preparation before you start crafting a new brand concept, based on some concrete data about your consumers, and/or making assumptions where necessary.

4) Identify the main brand values of your freshly baked brand concept. Some companies come up with as many brand values as possible, but my advice is to keep a number of brand values to maximum 3 (this number can of course change depending on a concrete brand in question!).

5) Brainstorm a catchy brand slogan based on the identified brand values. You don't have to be direct and declare to the world that your car brand is "all about cars". This is something that your potential customers will find out anyway. Instead, flirt with your customers and communicate in a fun and intriguing way -- after all, you want to build a funky brand, right? Maybe your cars are all about giving the sense of being ultra-funky, and contemporary in an urban environment. Or, they can give us a sense of freedom each time we drive across the fields. In this way, the word "car" might not even show up in your brand slogan at all! (( After all, Just Do It doesn't have the slightest mention of "sneakers"!))

There aren't actually any exact rules of how to organize a brainstorming session. It's really not exact science, and each brand consultant will have her own set of creative boxes to tick to come up with a brand slogan.

In the case of SCHMOOZY FOX, we combine the necessary knowledge of business and brand strategy with creativity and the knowledge of linguistics.  The latter helps us to make sure that your brand name and brand slogan don't sound strange in the countries where you operate, and that the subtle associations with the desired brand values are evoked by carefully selected words.

What's your brand's slogan?

CokeToday I'll talk about brand slogans, or tag lines and the role they can play for building your brand. First of all, what is a tag line?

About.com gives us this definition, "A slogan or phrase that visually conveys the most important product attribute or benefit that the advertiser wishes to convey. Generally, a theme to a campaign."

But in fact, tag lines are not only short-lived advertising phrases that are associated with promotional campaigns. Some of the most successful examples can show you that tag lines can be inherent to your brand, and play a key role in building it. For that matter, let's call them brand tag lines.

Some of the most successful brand tag lines have extremely strong associations with corresponding brand names. If I ask  you, whose tag line is Just Do It, most of you will know that it's Nike's.

Other popular ones are:

  • Melts in your mouth, not in your hands (M&Ms)
  • Think different (Apple computer)

For more examples, check out this article.

I am not suggesting that you absolutely need a brand tag line! Or, at least, not immediately after you've launched your company. A tag line can evolve as your business evolves. The best moment to start putting a brand tag line underneath your logo is when you've understood what brand values are inherent to your funky business. This is when a good tag line can work wonders and reinforce your brand.

If you feel that you'd like to give your brand a little boost with a tag line, where do you start? Well, first of all, you don't even need to think in terms of the products you sell because even this might change in the future. I mean, don't put a tag line, "We sell shoes" next to your shoe brand logo. Apart from being simply boring, it will lock you in the shoe business, and you won't be able to get your brand extended into bags and umbrellas a couple of years down the road.

A brand called Innocent (they produce smoothies and juices) has come up with a tag line, Little tasty drinks. It's a bit more interesting than simply saying, "We're into drinks", but it still locks them in, well, drinks. But okay, not every brand thinks in terms of those possible brand extensions, right?

Little tasty drinks: Innocent's tag line

So, what are some general principles you should keep in mind to give your brand that extra sparkle with a nice tag line?

  • Keep it short. Please! I've seen whole phrases that took up half of page -- this usually looks simply ridiculous
  • Base it on your company's brand values, not  necessarily products you sell
  • However, it's okay to give some clues about what your business is about
  • Think twice before throwing in too many cultural references to the tag line -- they might work well in one geography, but won't serve you right if your company grows and becomes international. Stick to universal values instead!
  • Share your passion in a tag line, it will be likely to get noticed

For more info, check out an article on Entrepreneur.com and the Hall of Fame of the site AdSlogans.