Every company has a story to tell. But not every company knows how to tell its tale. And companies that don't tell their stories well—or at all—miss out on making a vital connection with their clients and customers.
Remember, customers don't care what your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is, and they don't have the patience to listen to your Elevator Pitch—the time-honored sales strategy used to hook a prospect in about the time it takes to ride from the ground to the 12th floor in an elevator.
Today's customers, particularly young Millennials, want to buy from the brands they connect with. Connect with them quickly and you can gain unsurpassed, long-term loyalty from a generation who will generously promote your company to their hundreds (or thousands) of social media friends.
Fail to make a fast connection, and they'll move on to another brand.
With this in mind, I asked about 100 business owners to write a movie-style tagline for their companies.
The reason? Taglines sell movie tickets. And some taglines are better than the movies they promoted. Arachnophobia, for example, earned a 6.3/10 rating on IMDb and just over 2/5 stars on Netflix. But its tagline, "Eight legs, two fangs and an attitude" made the list of AdWeek's great taglines of the past three decades.
In reviewing about five dozen taglines, I asked myself these four questions:
1. SafeDome: "A shed that can save your life. Where will you go when the wind blows?"
The tagline is both succinct and intriguing. David Pressler, president of SafeDomes and a former Florida firefighter who witnessed the devastation of Hurricane Andrew, created an 8-ton concrete shed that can be used for ordinary storage or as an above-ground safe room designed to withstand winds of up to 200 MPH.
The tagline doesn't rely on clever words, but it doesn't need any. It tells a simple, attention-demanding story. It tells you everything you need to know about the product and its purpose. IT also asks a question anyone living in hurricane or tornado territory would ask himself.
2. myTab: "A plane tale of friends and family who sent everyone packing far, far away."
This tagline doesn't tell me everything I need to know about myTab, but revealed enough to make me want to know more. Owner Heddi Cundle, says myTab is a travel gift card site on which people can contribute to a friend or family member's trip. And myTab will help customers plan their trips and score deals with airlines and hotels.
The tagline works because it not only suggests a story with the "plane tale" pun but hints at an even better story if you visit the website.
3. Fork That! "Sticking it to the Status Quo—easy, delicious alternatives to creating and maintaining optimal health"
Attention-getting but a bit wordy, the Fork That! tagline is uneven in tone. The snappy "Fork That!" doesn't align with the staid "creating and maintaining optimal health." But the first half worked well enough to achieve its purpose: drive a visitor to the site. And, once you visit the site, Sherry Hensel shares a compelling story about combating an autoimmune disease with dietary changes when she refused to accept the Mayo Clinic's recommendation that she undergo chemotherapy.
The Fork That! tagline is an imperfect, but effective hook to gain readers' attention.
4. Lock Laces: "Win. Never tie."
This tagline for a shoelace company stuck with me even days after reading it. I didn't have to comb through the 100-plus responses to quote it correctly. It was simple, short and clever. But I wondered if it told the correct story. Was the company encouraging customers to trip over their untied shoelaces?
The Lock Laces website revealed the tagline made sense and provided a satisfying "aha" moment. You don't tie Lock Laces—the elastic laces lock into place with a fastener.
Lock Laces is a company that knows how to tell its story.
Not every company needs a tagline to market itself. But all company owners should understand their business well enough to sum up its unique qualities in about a half dozen words. Because if you can't find something memorable to say about your company, you can't expect customers to remember you.
What would your Hollywood-style tagline be? Let us know in the comment section below!
Photo Credit: Sallins
Katherine Kotaw is CEO of Kotaw Content Marketing. Its tagline? "We tell—and sell—your story." You can follow Katherine on Twitter.