Nike has misguided thousands of entrepreneurs. “Just Do It” is the most popular tagline and has helped sell gazillions of tshirts. And so, when entrepreneurs sit down to create a tagline for their own venture, they think of creating something short and snappy like Nike’s Just Do It.

Big Mistake.

Why? Because you ought to realize that there are 2 kinds of tag lines:

Type 1: Money Makes The Tagline

These are the taglines that don’t mean anything on their own. The message is fluffy and unfocused. And it seeps into the associative memory of the masses only after millions of dollars have been spent in repeating the tag line over and over again.

Eg:

These are the taglines that are meaningless and interchangeable. Burger King could do just as well with “Believe in Something Better” too. These taglines are function-less (except for selling more t-shirts – HA!)

Type 2: Tagline Makes The Money

These are the taglines that are relevant to what the company is doing. These taglines convey a benefit. And are meaningful. They don’t make people go ho-hmm. These are the taglines that actually help a company position itself and carve out a bigger piece of the pie for themselves!

Eg:

And the best one of all:

In a minute, we will deconstruct Domino’s tagline and see how we can create similar taglines that work for our ventures. But before we do that, we need to know:

Whats The Purpose of a Tagline?

  1. To get your right people to say “Tell me more”
  2. To convey your USP (unique selling proposition) and distinguish yourself from the crowd

Definition of USP – by Rosser Reeves

  1. Each advertisement tagline must make a proposition to the consumer. Not just words, not just product puffery, not just show-window advertising. Each advertisement tagline must say to each reader: “Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit.”
  2. The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique?either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising.
  3. The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions, i.e., pull over new customers to your product.

Ok – back to deconstructing the Dominos tagline.

Fresh hot pizza in 30 minutes or its free.

Dominos Does Three Things With Their Tag Lines:

  1. Tells us what they offer that is different than their competitors (fresh hot pizza in 30 minutes)
  2. Tells us how they take care of the downside (or its free)
  3. Tells us nothing else.

The 3rd rule is the most important one. People try to stuff a lot into a short tagline. Or they try to make it funny or cute. Or they try to add alliteration to it. Doesn’t work. Leave all that stuff away from the tagline.

The 2nd rule is important but optional. Not everyone can convey their risk reversal guarantees in the tagline itself. But if you can add it in your tagline, it becomes very powerful.

3 Questions To Ask Yourself:

  1. What do you offer?
  2. How is your offer different than others in the market?
  3. How do you take away peoples risk of taking you up on the offer?

Answer these 3 questions and the tagline should form automatically for you.

Once you have the answers down, all you now have to do is convey them in one short sentence.

Action Summary:

April 15, 2009