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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

How to Create A Memorable Brand Tagline

In our last post, Fire Enterprises (FEI) marketing maven Marka explained why a branding document is necessary to ensure FEI’s brand is accurately and consistently represented everywhere. This week, Marka shows the rest of the FEI tribe how to create a killer tagline. Remember, fire=print.

A few minutes before FEI’s afternoon marketing meeting started, Zoot came into the conference room and offered everyone gum.

“Nyke Gum is my new favorite brand,” Zoot said, handing sticks of gum to Marka, Org, and Numo. “I love their tagline: ‘Just Chew It.’”

“That is a great tagline,” Marka agreed, tossing the gum in her mouth. “It’s clear, authentic, and compelling to customers. Coincidentally, today we’re going to talk about creating a memorable tagline to go with FEI’s new brand.”

“Our tagline, like our logo, is a crucial and highly-visible brand element,” Marka said. “If our logo is the first thing we want customers to visualize when they think ‘fire’, our tagline is the first phrase we want them to think of. Like any brand element, taglines need to connect strongly to our brand, be clear, and relate to our customers. Let me tell you more.”

Marka approached the conference room whiteboard and started scribbling:

Derive Taglines From Your Brand Attributes

“Dependable. Innovative. Superb Quality,” Marka said. “These are the three attributes we came up with that define FEI’s brand, and our tagline—like our logo and every other FEI brand element—should be based off them. The challenge is to create a tagline that connotes these qualities in a pithy way.”
Marka scribbled more on the whiteboard:

Be Clear, Not Clever
“When brainstorming taglines, we should avoid the temptation to come up with something too clever or witty,” Marka said. “The most memorable slogans are clear and often childishly simple. Think about ‘Just Chew It’ and Pyro’s ‘We Bring Good Flames to Life.’ Both simple phrases, and the longest word in either is six letters! A concise simple phrase that accurately sums up what we offer is more likely to stick in customers’ minds than one that’s sophisticated and complex.”

Marka scribbled more on the whiteboard:

Answer the “So What?” Question
“Consider this tagline: ‘Dependable, Innovative, Quality—That’s the FEI Way.’ It isn’t terrible, but it does a poor job telling customers why our brand should matter to them. For each potential tagline, let’s ask ourselves ‘Does this tagline answer the question “So what?” Does it make it crystal-clear to customers why they should care about what we do?’ If not, let’s go back to the drawing board.”

After a heated brainstorming session, the tribe came up with this tagline: “Always There.”

“It’s perfect,” Marka said. “Simple, concise, authentic, and it expresses our reliability in a way that will resonate with customers.”

Zoot shoved another stick of Nyke gum in his mouth. “If we sold gum,” he said, “I’d be chewin’ it right now.”

Next week: Marka explains that it doesn’t matter what you think of your brand. It matters what your customers think of it.

Today’s FIRE! Point
Effective taglines should be connected to your brand attributes, clear and simple, and matter to your customers.

FIRE! In Action: Consider Humor in Taglines
Buckley’s has built a cough syrup empire with the simple, memorable and hilariously honest tagline “It Tastes Awful. And It Works.”

Industry Centers:


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