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How a Great Tagline can Help your Business


"Just do it." "We try harder." "The Ultimate Driving Machine." "Be all that you can be." Taglines are one of the best ways of branding a product, service, company, or organization for years. Like these:

Please don't squeeze the Charmin.
(since 1964)

A diamond is forever.
(since 1948)

All the news that's fit to print.
(since 1896)

Another classic case is Avis. When Avis (the # 2 car rental behind Hertz) incorporated the tagline, "We try harder", they not only turned being #2 into a positive, they also gave their company a likeable, underdog personality. To support that company personality, every ad that Avis created evolved from that simple, brilliant, three-word tag about better service. Now, over fifty years later, Avis still uses it. Another example is, "You're in good hands with Allstate." Being "in good hands" conveys a caring, protective personality. Another example is "Think different" for Apple Computer. The line gives Apple the personality of being innovative and aSo, what else makes a good tagline? A general rule is: The shorter the better. However, if you blindly follow that logic you'll be asking for trouble. You don't want to compromise a great line for brevity. And shorter doesn't always mean more memorable. One of the most famous taglines of all time is 10 words:

With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good.

So, as much as you may try to break creativity down to a formula, you really can't. A great tagline involves the perfect mix of right-brain creativity and left-brain strategic thinking. Both are critical. After all, it doesn't matter how clever it is if it's the wrong message, and it won't matter how strategically smart it is if it's dull.

Like a name, a tagline is something you'll want to live with forever. So, if you decide on getting a tagline, be sure it's great. Because just as a tagline can help your business, a bad one can do the opposite.

© 2005 John Follis. All rights reserved.

For John's booklet: "How to Attract and Excite Your Prospects: A Guide for Getting the Best Marketing Results", visit: http://www.follisinc.com/booklet.htm

John Follis is one of the 12 "Best Advertising Minds of New York" as voted by The New York Ad Club. His campaigns are in 3 college textbooks, he has written for ADWEEK, and he has taught at 3 New York universities. Currently, John works on select projects, consults, and speaks. John may be reached at: john@follisinc.com

For consulting info, visit: Marketing Therapy: http://www.follisinc.com/therapy.htm

For speaking info, visit: Follis Speaking: http://www.follisinc.com/speaking.htm

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