More than a Slogan!

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When you hear “Everywhere you go.” what brand jumps to your mind? I bet it is MTN. What of “We do you right.”? I am sure many people will not find it difficult to connect the phrase with Tastee Fried Chicken. So, let me state at this point that your pay-off line or tagline must be more than a slogan on everyone’s mouth.

You must make sure that your customers and prospects alike associate it closely with your brand name.

According to The Dictionary of Brand*, a tagline “is a sentence, phrase, or word used to summarize a market position.” A tagline is also called a slogan. Now, from the definition, we are told that a tagline is a summary of your market position. In order words, your tagline is like a concentrated version of your brand idea. Your customers and prospects must be able to understand your brand idea when they see your tagline. This explains why you must give adequate thought to the pay-off line you adopt for your brand. You see, I get really amused when I come across taglines that don’t really say anything about the brand. A powerful tagline is much more than fanciful words. What you are out to do is pushing your brand into people’s minds, so flowery yet empty words won’t do. People might like the construction of your tagline and still not consider your brand-if the tagline is not evocative enough.

Before you adopt a tagline, ask yourself again what your brand stands for. Then think of the few words you can use to convey what your brand stands for. Taglines like “the best”, “high quality” are too ambiguous and do not really communicate anything to the customers or prospects. Avoid them.

Another pitfall to avoid is using a tagline that is already being used by another brand, especially a bigger and more prominent brand. If you insist on using a tagline already in use by another brand, you will only end up creating awareness for the other brand. Chicken Republic didn’t go ahead to say “we do chicken better”. To do that would be ridiculous. Chicken Republic’s tagline is “extra-ordinary chicken for extra- ordinary people’. It captures what the eatery stands for distinctively.

Please consider the following as you decide on a tagline for your brand

  • Ensure it communicates and evokes your key benefit. Aside from building your tagline around your brand’s core promise, it must also establish a connection in the customers’ minds. You must create a slogan that will induce your brand’s benefits and also reflect the unique experience your brand has to offer once people hear it. 
  •  Speak to existing and potential customers. If you have to change your tagline, it might be good to conduct some form of qualitative research before settling for a particular one. Speak to potential customers and existing ones. Ask them what they think about the proposed tagline. Ask them what the tagline means to them, what feelings it stirs up in them. Also ask them if it sells the brand to them.  This way you know if you are on track or not. It is good to include your prospects in this research or else you may never figure out how to appeal to them and win them over. This research is essential because it will help to uncover or verify information about the benefits your prospects and customers expect to realize when they use your product or service. Don’t forget that the customer, existing and potential, is king. So if they get to tell you what they think and expect of your brand, you had better heed and work with that invaluable information. It will fast track your branding efforts while also saving you time and money.
  •  Where possible, include your brand name. It has been proven that slogans that incorporate the brand or company name enjoy a higher level of recall and association than those without.
  • Stay with it. Brand success entails committing to a pay-offline or tag line for several years- even after you get tired of it. Some years ago, Tastee Fried Chicken changed its tagline from “We do chicken right to “We do you right”?  I personally think the change was uncalled for. While I really don’t know if they do anybody right, I know they were doing the chicken right and customers loved it. At least I know I did!
  • Put it everywhere. You remember I stated earlier that your tagline is the concentrated version of your brand idea which you want to get into people’s minds. So incorporate your tagline into all your brand communication materials as part of your company logo.  

Finally, remember that your tagline will greatly influence the way your brand is perceived. So give it adequate thought. Think it through before running with it.


Oluwaseun Ogunleye is the author of Basics of Branding an  SME Brand Expert. Also a Certified Personal Branding Coach for women and Public Speaker.




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I am Nigerian :)

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