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Using Tag Lines to Build Your Brand

By Vanessa KnipperJul 6, 2010

You can build your brand with an effective tag line to go with your memorable logo. Tag lines give your brand a unique identity. A tag line is a short 3 to 7 word phrase that appears with your logo. When consumers hear or see your tag line, they should instantly associate it with a positive quality connected with your business or product. 

To be effective, tag lines need to be short, to the point and easily remembered. The best tag lines exhibit superior "stickiness"; that is, they stick in the consumer's mind. The hallmarks of an effective tagline are:

  1. tag lines can help build your brandMemorable. To stick in the customer's mind, a tag line should resonate with the big picture, elicit emotion or define the brand's key essence. Make use of puns, jingles, alliteration, humor, created words and rhymes to create memorable tag lines. Oscar Meyer's "My bologna has a first name" is a powerful example.
  2. Recall. An effective tag line should contain or at least invoke the brand name. An excellent example is Nike's ploy of ending ads only with its iconic swoosh, forcing consumers to supply the brand name.
  3. Benefit. Your tag line should define a key brand benefit. In marketing it's always easier to "sell the sizzle, not the steak." People buy more readily into benefits than features. Allstate's tag line, "You're in good hands," is a sterling example.
  4. Differentiate. An effective tag line should differentiate the brand from its competitors. The California Dairy Council has done this admirably with its "Happy cows come from California."
  5. Positive. Your tag line should give consumers a good feeling about your brand. Stick with positive mental images; negativity doesn't sell. Coke has been particularly successful in creating tag lines with positive images, "Coke is it!" being the most iconic.
  6. Exclusivity. Effective tag lines should be exclusive to the brand and not be so general that they could be applied to competitors. The ability to apply general tag lines like "Simply the best" to multiple brands blunts its effectiveness.
  7. Strategic. Memorable tag lines express brand strategy. General Electric's "We bring good things to light" is a classic example.

The most successful brand tag lines enter the popular lexicon and become an indelible part of popular culture. While few tag lines achieve trend status as pop culture icons, your brand's tag line could be the next phrase on everyone's lips if you follow these 7 tips.

What are some tag lines you admire?

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The Author

Vanessa Knipper

Vanessa Knipper is the Marketing Director at Kuno Creative. She enjoys writing about social media and marketing trends. Vanessa is an avid reader of tech blogs and industry news, which she shares regularly on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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