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A tagline is nothing but a short set of words that companies use to associate themselves with their company or brand. It communicates the highest priority message about your brand identity, in a reminiscent manner. It presents a precious opportunity to communicate point of differences, solutions or benefits, promises on everything from letterhead to website. The fact is taglines, good taglines, do important work that no other element in an ad could possibly do.
They can punctuate, urge, crystallize, energize, intrigue raise the bar, and, most importantly provide the crucial barbed hook at the very end of the advertising experience-that memorable little brand byte that stays with you when everything else within the ad has faded from your memory. When you think about it, for at least the last 75 years, no single advertising aspect or element has been more valuable, more powerful, and more engaging than the tagline (with the possible exception of the jingle which very often is a tagline put to music.)
Tagline and branding
A tagline is a very important element of branding. It can be one of the best brand communication tools, if used right. However, you don’t need a tagline always to have a successful brand. Some big brands such as Google don’t use a tagline. But a fine tagline is the single-most powerful, condensed, compact expression of your brand that you can ever have.
Taglines show their real worth when you need to get your brand in front of people and connect with them in little space and time. The tagline is the first articulation of your brand. However, a tagline is not an explanation and shouldn’t tell a long story. It needs to encapsulate the feeling you want people to have about you. For that reason, you should take great care in creating one. The key is having a clear sense of what your brand is.
Taglines are the first step and an integral part of brand building. Their value builds for years, and over time, a nice tagline can be your best and least expensive form of advertising. If your company name, logo and tagline are all working together as they should, they definitely become an ad in and of themselves. Then it doesn’t matter what your company does, your tagline creates an opening impression. People will keep in mind a tag slogan even before a company name.
The Value of a Tagline
The point to be noted is that, like food, literature and art, the tagline can be meaningful, nay, priceless. And more so today than ever. Because, as the explicit sell becomes less present in ads, the presence of the tagline becomes more important. It is very often the sole bearer of the brand’s message.
People memorize taglines for products from their early childhood. In fact, some taglines become so deep-rooted in the culture that they are familiar to people who hadn’t even been born at the time the tagline was dynamic, and who never used the product.
Whenever a brand is born, it very often suckles at its tagline teat. Also, when a brand dies, the legacy it leaves is usually the tagline. (To quote just one of countless, if earliest, examples, when Standard Oil was taken over by Amoco, and then by BP, what did people retain of the original brand? You Expect More From Standard, And You Get It.) Granted, those of us who still retain that tagline are starting to die off; nevertheless, it far outlived the brand. Why? Because no other component has the latent to convey as much unforgettable, touching stuff about the brand, with such communicative economy. If the aim is to find a hook that will succinctly express your brand, and your customers’ attitudes toward it, nothing else works as better as a tagline. No image, no headline, no punch line, no celebrity spokesman, no viral video, and no nothing sticks and communicates like a good tagline. Mostly, it is often the tagline alone which makes sense of the words and/or images which precede it.
Just Do It
And while the tagline, on the facade, may describe or express the benefit or the brand bond, on a deeper level, the tagline can itself be a critical component of that very bond or benefit. The tagline satisfies a deeply engrained, inherent human desire to wrap things up tidily and with a twist. This universally shared desire is often most sensitive in advertisers themselves. They just love that short and snappy, catchy, crystallized expression of what their brand is about. Apart from the corporate ego of it, a good tagline can assist everyone in the company stay determined. Satisfying this desire to wrap things up efficiently and with a twist, by itself, may or may not be sufficient explanation for using a tagline, but it certainly is, at a minimum, a happy by-product.
Nike was founded in 1978. While it was clear that Nike was a brand focused on footwear and sportswear, no one knew precisely what it stood for until 10 years later when the “Just Do It” campaign was launched.
Right away, the message began to echo. It was no longer about just a shoe or a pair of shorts; it was about a state of mind. You don’t have to be an athlete to be in shape or tackle an obstacle. If you want to do it, just do it. That’s all it takes. This tagline is a proof that a brand needs to give itself time for a tagline to marinate before anyone can truly understand what it means to its audience.
Cadbury Dairy Milk encapsulates a gigantic breath of emotions, from shared values such as family togetherness, to the personal values of individual enjoyment. Essentially,it stands for goodness. A moment of pure magic.
In 2004, the `Kuch Meetha Ho Jaaye’ campaign was launched, seeking to increase CDM consumption by making it synonymous with traditional sweets (Mithai). Having Amitabh Bachchan as the face and voice of the brand, the campaign went on to become a very huge success. People could relate to the commercials that were aired to promote Cadbury Dairy Milk. How many can forget the `Pappu Pass Ho Gaya’ advertisement? The country cheered on as Pappu fell in love in the ‘Pappu Love Test commercial’. Then came`Miss Palampur’ and the country celebrated the beauty pageant with a difference. The ‘Kenya’ commercial that was aired in 2008 celebrated the true spirit of cricket and that of true sportsmanship. In 2009, it aired another commercial under the `Kuch Meetha Ho Jaaye’ platform, called the `Pay Day’ commercial.
In the year 2010, the `Shubh Aarambh’ campaign was launched, drawing lines from the traditional Indian custom of having something sweet before starting off with something new. With `Shubh Aarambh’, Cadbury took the Dairy Milk journey a step further into the hearts of its million lovers.
The Future of the Tagline
If the tagline were no longer filling a need, it would have no endurance value and would plainly disappear. But taglines continue to dominate the advertising landscape as they have throughout the course of advertising. The need is clearly still there. The task of advertisers and the tagline writers they rely on is to revalue the tagline, to dig deeper to find the nugget, the little piece of pith that rings true, that emanates from the true voice of the brand.
The point is, taglines are here to stay, and that too for good reason. Our environment is saturated with commercial messages. The need and desire to be quick and entertaining in the broadest sense is increasing exponentially. As advertising adapts to increasing pressure to communicate even more succinctly, and to up the entertainment value, the tagline becomes a more and more valuable means by which to achieve those ends. And so goes the line –
“A good tagline is one of the least expensive forms of marketing you can develop and use.”
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