My beach read this summer was The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan. It follows intertwined stories of a diamond engagement ring, including a fictionalized account of Frances Gerety, who coined the legendary De Beers tagline “A Diamond Is Forever.” It got me thinking: what makes a good tagline?
Over the years, I have written a few taglines for Dana clients, and the process never gets any easier. It’s part luck and part inspiration to create a tagline that resonates with your target audience. (Consider “Got milk?” vs. JC Penney’s last tagline—whatever it was). I recommend starting by measuring your tagline against the classic branding mantra: is it unique, believable, deliverable and memorable? Then ask yourself these questions:
Does the tagline reflect your brand personality? I read the classic tagline “You’re in good hands with Allstate” as “caring, ethical and service-minded.” That says a lot.
Does the tagline help highlight a benefit or solve a problem? No tagline has ever done a better job of turning second-best into an advantage than “We try harder” from Avis. I also like how Michigan both spotlights benefits and overcomes negative perceptions in its “Pure Michigan” tagline.
Does the tagline help tell your brand story? If your company has a backstory, a tagline can help. For instance, Toms’ “One for One” tagline doesn’t say anything about footwear, but it does intrigue people to learn more about the company’s corporate mission to give a pair of shoes for every pair purchased.
Does the tagline engage your target audience? Ask a question (“What’s in your wallet?”), motivate (“Just do it”), empower (“Because you’re worth it”) or offer an invitation like California’s “Find yourself here.”
Need tagline help? Contact Lynn Kaniper at 609.466.9187 or email@example.com.