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Why Taglines Aren’t What They Used To Be February 10, 2010

Posted by Miriam Consulting in Uncategorized.
Tags: , ,

Back in the 1960’s and 70s, a tagline was supposed to last forever – well, at least for thirty years or so. That’s because it took so much time and money to get almost everyone to remember it.

Major corporations poured millions upon millions of dollars into advertising their taglines. Not one word of a tag was changed without extensive, statistically-driven research results.

With the 80’s came the soda tagline wars ― think “Coke Is It” ― and it didn’t matter anymore how long you kept the same tagline. The rule of thumb became replace your line as often as needed by something even more snappy and memorable. Then spend gazillions promoting it.

Today taglines aren’t just for large corporations and mega products, like hair care, soda and fast food restaurants. The internet has allowed even the smallest businesses to use taglines to their full advantage, especially within niche markets.

No wonder that small business owners are very attached their taglines, myself included. As you can imagine, when I learned that I had to change part of my tagline (I found out that someone had trademarked a portion of it) I was terribly unhappy.

I had invested seven years into my tagline.  It was on everything from my email signatures, to my social media profiles, to thousands of business cards I’d distributed, as well as on my website (albeit one that is still under construction).

I loved that tagline. I grieved for that tagline.

Generating new options was painful because I really resented having to do it, but I did come up with something that conveyed the same thought.

Guess what?  No one even noticed the change or, if they did, didn’t think it wasn’t worth mentioning.

A few of my colleagues and networking partners started to ask my advice about changing their taglines. Not one of them was looking for something clever or even more memorable.  The discussions were always about substance and whether the tagline was really conveying a benefit to prospective customers.

The most important thing I learned from all this is that smart marketers have finally gotten beyond using catchy slogans.  A tagline is really about letting people know who you are or explaining the benefits of what you sell. Clever is good, but only when it really means something important.

Do you have a tagline story to tell? Please let me know if you do.

Take good care,



1. Andrea Saathoff - February 17, 2010

Here’s my tag line: A private collection of museum quality vintage cars available for weddings, special events and corporate entertaining.

It’s easy for me to say, and I think communicates what I want to express. How would my tag line be advantageous to me on the internet though? You referred to this in this post. When I search part of my tag line, it does bring my company up—-but I don’t think many clients would remember my tag line enough to type it in the search engine.

Miriam Consulting - February 19, 2010

Your description of the company is really clear and does a good job of explaining what makes it different from other limousine companies in your area. I’m sure it is a very effective sales pitch when you are talking to prospective customers.

However, it’s not really a tagline in the true sense of the word. One of the huge mistakes that people make when coming up with taglines is not making them memorable enough.

You may find it helpful to think of a tagline as a summary statement that quickly and easily conveys what makes your company or product unique. The most effective tags focus on the benefits of products and services rather than just explaining their features. For example, clothing can make someone feel chic, elegant, in style or just plain comfortable.

Online, a tagline with one or two good key words (terms that people type into the search bar) can help move a company further up on the list of results. In some cases, it can also make a great website name or lead to a clever social media post.

Both on and offline, tags provide a quick read of what makes a company different and better than its competition. They can also help customers find you in a sea of companies that have limousine or wedding in their name.

Take good care,

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