Yes, I know you know I’ve spent my career in advertising. I should know. I’ve told you often enough. But I have a specific reason for mentioning it again, today. In my business, clients come to us when they have challenges. When they have opportunities. When their brands are in need of a make-over. When they are launching something new.
They come for ads and commercials. Billboards and promotions. Direct mail packages and email campaigns. Facebook pages and flash mobs. Branded content. Jingles. Websites and events and newsletters and blogs. Logos. And taglines. Which brings me to the point of this post.
What’s a tagline?
“Just Do It”, is one. Do you know who it’s for? “Finger-lickin’ good” is another one. Okay, I’ll put you out of your misery. Nike has been telling consumers to “Just Do It” for quite a long time. And “Finger-lickin’ good” has helped KFC sell millions and millions of barrels of fried chicken over the years.
A tagline is usually short and is, hopefully, memorable. Because if it’s not memorable, you’ve failed. Like all forms of advertising, they’re also meant to be persuasive. They’re meant to differentiate one product from another, one brand from another. They’re sometimes called positioning lines, because that’s what they do. Position a company or a product or a service or a brand in a way that is distinctive. Different from their competition. So they stand out. And stand for something.
For example, Coke’s current tagline is “Open Happiness”. That tells me they want to own the “good times” category. So if you’re having friends over for a party, you’ll buy Coke instead of Pepsi.
Effective taglines can remind the consumer of the product or brand’s main benefit, like our chicken’s so good you’ll even want to lick your fingers when you’re done eating. They can inspire, like urging you to get off your butt, whether it’s walking or running or yoga or lifting weights or swimming or whatever. It doesn’t matter how good you are, how far you go or how fast, as long as you move.
And they can put a stake in the ground, inferring when you want to feel good or have a good time, or even when you’re just thirsty there’s only one beverage that gets you there.
But mostly, they create desire. A need. They’re a call to action. They are also difficult to write. They have to convey a lot, in very few words. They have to be simple. Succinct. Witty, when appropriate. Powerful. And, as I mentioned before, memorable.
No small order.
In case you’re wondering, this isn’t an Advertising 101 class. And no, there isn’t a test at the end of my post.
I’ve only brought the whole thing up because of yesterday’s WordPress Daily Prompt. “Often our blogs have taglines. But what if humans did, too? What would your tagline be?”
Of course it spoke to me. Of course I thought it was an intriguing idea. So I put my thinking cap on.
There are no parameters. The tagline can be about any aspect of our lives. But writing is what I do and, also, what I love, so I’ve decided my tagline has to sell me as a writer. That was the easy part. A no-brainer, actually.
Then what? What can I say that will make people want to read what I write? To choose my articles or blogs or books? How can I show I’m different? How can I stand out. What’s the hot button I can press, to make you all say to yourselves, “I want to read Fransi’s blog? Or Fransi’s book.”
To be honest, I spent about an hour on it. Wrote down a ton of potential taglines. None of them were right. I hated all of them. There’s no way I’d give up, but I was becoming mildly frustrated. So I shut down my computer and made myself some breakfast. And no sooner did I finish swallowing my first mouthful of cereal, it came to me: Fransi Weinstein. Worth Reading.
Inherent in every tagline is a promise. In this case it’s saying you won’t be wasting your precious time reading what I have to say. So now, here’s my personal promise.. I’ll do my damnedest to live up to it. Always. I promise.