Tagline: You’re It!

Nancy Schwarz, one of my fave nonprofit bloggers (Getting Attention), recently concluded her “2010 Taggies” where blog visitors got to vote on the top nonprofit taglines as submitted by the organizations (1700 nonprofits entered 2700 taglines in 16 categories). I was one of over 6000 voters. Here’s a link to the winners. Two of my favorites: Volunteer Blind Industries’ “our vision does not require sight” and Canine Companions for Independence’s “help is a four-legged word.”

A short informative video on Nancy’s blog post above also includes several tips for making good taglines. Good taglines should: be brief, connect with the audience, be specific, be easy to remember and repeat, and convey unique impact, all in less than eight words. The contest is designed to inspire nonprofits to get proactive in the area of creating good taglines.

James Chartrand wrote a post for Copyblogger a while back on taglines that I think is worth drawing attention to again. It’s a simplified three-step process on how to create an effective tagline. If you apply the criteria Nancy talks about above to James’ three elements, you can create an award-winning tagline in no time. Chartrand’s three elements: mission, promise brand.

1. Step One: Your True Mission. Be clear, not clever.
What is your purpose? What do you have to offer? Is it a product, a service? Who are you serving? What do you want to be the best at? Pick a focus and stick with it. I volunteer on the marketing committee of a local animal shelter whose tagline is, “your best friend is waiting.” There’s a lot going on at the shelter besides animal adoption, but that is their main purpose, and they’ve done a good job portraying that with their tagline.

2. Step Two: Your Promise. So what?
What is going to compel people to connect and stick with your organization? This has to be clear in your tagline. To get the ball rolling here, ask yourself the question about your organization, “so what?” In answering this, according to Chartrand, you will be able to articulate the benefits of your service/organization. What is your cause? Why does it matter? Don’t talk about how great you are. Tell people what they can gain in partnering with you. What is the value for them and for those you serve? Youth Service America’s tagline says, ‘serve a semester, change the world.” What do you gain? A chance to help save the world.

3. Step Three: Your brand. A little pizazz.
Chartrand says,

“Make your tagline reflect your business image. Differentiate yourself from the competition. Your business has a personality, so show it. Give people a little taste of your business’s brand in your tagline.”

What is really creative or unique about your brand? The Indiana State Council of the Emergency Nurses Association says, “E.R.–you watch it, we live it.” Instant creative association. In our culture of emergency room dramas and reality shows on TV, I think that’s a pretty clever take.

What’s your favorite tagline? How about yours? Would you share it?

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