Developing your tagline: be different

A brand position is defined as how we are different. And a tagline is defined as how we say we are different.

Think of Subway. When most people think about what makes them different from their fast food competitors, they will say something like “fresh” or “healthier.” That’s Subway’s brand position. And their tagline, the way they articulate this difference in their communications, is Eat Fresh.

When developing a tagline for your organization, keep in mind that it has a number of important jobs to do. One of them is to differentiate your offering from other brands, be they competitors or not. Yet so many taglines fail on this basic criterion.

Yesterday, I noticed two ads, and the taglines within them, on the subway. One was for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Their tagline: Finding answers. For life. Then I see an ad from InCharge Canada, a debt counselling service, with the tagline Debt Solutions. For Life.

And then there is the (recently defunct, I now see) tagline of the Italian Tourism Commission – Italy. For Life. And of course there is Volvo’s long-time tagline, For life, which I believe to be the first of this group.

In slapping together their for life-derived taglines, the other brands followed unsound process that ignored the entire point of branding: being different.

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