Tag lines: Do you need one?

Maybe not.

A quick defintion: By tag line, I mean that poetry tacked onto the company name and logo.  The ‘catchy’ phrase that attempts to express the enterprise ethos, essence, mission, vision, green strategy, love for the customer, personality and market strategy.  All in six words or less.

Do customers notice these dangling modifiers?  Do they even understand them?  I doubt it.

But CEOs are willing to expend a lot of money and meetings to contrive the perfect slogan.  (I once sat through 45-minute PowerPoint show that attempted to explain a tag line of five words — one of which was ‘and’.  That was back when companies had budget for such foofery.)

Not likely

Not likely

The ultimate coup seems to be an elegant double- or triple-entendre that spins off multiple interpretations for the price of one.  Like Moen’s   “Buy it for looks. Buy it for life.”   Sleepy’s Mattresses: “For the rest of your life.”   Volvo: “For life.”   Metropolitan:  “For the ‘if’ in Life.”

My opinionated advice:

Skip the aspirational and philosophical slogan.  No one will get it.  No one will care except the CEO.

The only good use for a tag line is to explain what you offer or what you do, when it’s not obvious from the company name.

eSurance.   Quote. Buy. Print.

Walt Kania, Writer:  Copy.  Content Marketing.  Consulting.

If the boss still insists on a slogan, don’t make it about YOU.  Or YOUR company, YOUR sales strategy, YOUR number-oneness, YOUR worldview, or YOUR anything.  Make it about what the customer gets, what they want, what they are hoping for.  Make it about THEM.

Or be contrarian and put your tag line before your company name. So what echoes in the customer’s ears is your company name, and not the last word of the slogan.  (Which is usually something like ‘life’ . . . or ‘people’.)

Good to the last drop. Maxwell House

Think Different.  Apple.

Save Money.  Live Better. Walmart.

And don’t TM or SM the flatulence.  That TM superscript just screams ‘PHONY ADVERTISING SLOGAN.’  No one will want to steal the phrase anyway. It’s probably not that good.

Best bet, go without a tag line altogether.  It oozes confidence and cachet just to say your name and leave it at that.  Like Madonna.  Or the Brazilian footballer who goes by the name Ronaldinho.  As if you feel no great need to explain yourself.

Disclaimer:  I have been retained several times to concoct tag lines.  No company has ever adopted one of mine, ever.  Perhaps I don’t believe in them enough.  It’s also possible that I suck at dreaming up tag lines.