Follow. Forget. Fail. Why 3 Word Taglines Suck

10/08/2009

crossword 300x299 Follow. Forget. Fail. Why 3 Word Taglines Suck I am all for simplicity in marketing messaging.  Attention just might be the world’s scarcest commodity and bloated, complicated marketing messages lose the attention game to clear, simple messages every time.  However, as much as I’m a big fan of simple messages, occasionally I think people take it so far that the end result is just as meaningless as pages and pages of technical specifications.

What’s up with all the 3 word taglines?  People are in love with these!  And when I say “people” I mean folks that aren’t in marketing.  The impression I get is that these folks think that a tagline can be a substitution for a proper value proposition or well-formulated messaging.  It isn’t.  In fact you have to work through creating a value proposition and messaging first before you could possibly make a tagline that works.  Once you have clearly defined who your target market is, what value you
bring to that market and how you differentiate from alternatives, then
you can go about the hard work of distilling that down into a set of
messages.  From those messages you might decide to have a tagline that
is a short, memorable slogan that describes what you do.

If you decide you absolutely need to have a tagline, here are some things to consider:

  • Relevant for Your Customers – think about who it’s for and make sure that your message is relevant for them.
  • Differentiated – Many taglines will pass the test of being relevant for their customer base but are so un-differentiated that they could apply to any competitor.  Words like innovation, collaborate, superior, advanced, etc., may well describe what your product/company does but your competitors can probably claim to be just as innovative or advanced as you are.
  • Memorable – This is where the magic happens in taglines.  The whole point of a tagline is that you want people to remember it.  If you can create something that is relevant for your customers, highlights how you are distinct from your competitors AND does that in a memorable way, you’ve got a winner.

A bit of surfing around got me this list of crummy taglines.  These taglines could be applied to just about any product or company I have ever worked at:

  • Transform your Business
  • Tomorrows Solutions Today
  • Discover, Interact, Optimize
  • Ensuring Customer Success
  • Grow Your Business
  • Forward Faster
  • Superior by Design

Do some hard thinking about your messaging before you attempt to create a tagline.  Or better yet – if it isn’t adding anything to your
messaging, how about leaving it out altogether?  White space is your
friend!  Embrace it and stop clogging up your messaging
with a bunch of empty, meaningless, forgettable (superior, advanced, innovative) taglines.

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