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If there’s one thing that needs to communicate your brand promise better than anything else, it’s your tagline. The tagline is your stake in the ground. It’s the most important takeaway for your audience: their first impression of your business.

But, the tagline is not about your product or service. And, it’s certainly not about you or your business. It’s about them: your target audience. So, you better make sure it’s concise, direct and memorable, so they recall it the each time they hear your name.

Many great taglines are unforgettable because they speak directly to their audiences and strike emotional chords. Perhaps, it’s a personal call to action, like “Be All You Can Be.” Or a challenge, like “Just Do It!” On the surface, BMW’s “The Ultimate Driving Machine” might appear to be about their cars. But, in reality, it’s about the experience of owning a BMW. They are connecting emotionally with their audience while still distinguishing their product.

With business and product naming becoming more of a challenge, due to trademarks and the shrinking pool of available web domains, the tagline has taken on greater importance in identifying the brand. Moreover, a deep understanding of the competitive landscape, as well as the emotional buttons and attitudes of the market, is vital to a tagline’s ability to distinguish, communicate and connect in just a few words.

Memorable taglines don’t just happen overnight. Depending on your promotional activities, it could take a while for it to resonate in the marketplace. Therefore, introducing new taglines too frequently creates confusion and shows a lack of focus. It also might be an indicator that your tagline is too narrow to fully embody your brand promise.

Of course, market dynamics do tend to evolve. Change can be driven by competition, technology, regulation or even adjustments in your own business model. So, occasionally, the stake needs to get repositioned; and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, changing your tagline should be done purposefully, deliberately and without diluting the brand. Furthermore, changing a tagline should never be a reactive move. Reactionary change conveys insecurity.

Finally, you won’t get your tagline from a just few brainstorming sessions. There’s a process of research, analysis, creative exploration and validation that most businesses aren’t staffed enough to undertake in-house. In many cases, they’re simply too close to what they do to get it right on their own. It’s usually beneficial to engage an outside professional to bring experience, objectivity and the right disciplines to the effort.

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