Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Does Your Association Use a Tagline?

And, if so, does it reinforce your vision/mission? Do you use it universally across all your products and services? And, is it short, sweet and easy to repeat?

If you don’t have a tag line, why not?

Three memorable tag lines (above) have benefited their organizations (can you name the sponsoring organizations of these taglines?  I bet so!):
  • Just Do It
  • Got Milk
  • Like a Rock
I thought of organizational tag lines as I read the USA Today story about the 25th anniversary of Nike’s Just Do It slogan.  
  • "It caught on because it was short, simple, easily understood and remembered and – to the point – a little bold and confident, like many of the Nike athletes at the time," said Lisa Delpy Neirotti, associate professor and director at George Washington University's School of Business. 
  • "You did not see Nike without 'Just Do It.' The slogan became synonymous with the brand and vice versa."

Why should your organization create and use a slogan or tagline?

Two of my “summer reading books” give us insight:

From Simon Sinek’s Start with Why
  • WHY: Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. When I say WHY, I don’t mean to make money – that’s a result. By WHY I mean what is your purpose, cause or belief? WHY does your company (association) exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?
From John Spence’s Awesomely Simple
  • The ultimate test of any statement of vision, mission, values, guiding principles, core beliefs, organizational credo – whatever you want to call it – is its effectiveness in mobilizing people to an inspiring purpose and shared direction.
  • Guy Kawasaki approaches the idea of vision by saying rather than a long, convoluted statement nobody understands or can remember, a good vision should be like a mantra: a few words, a simple phrase that can be repeated over and over again to keep people focused on the goal.”

So, how do you create a slogan that works?

  1. Start with your WHY: why does your organization exist? What words or phrases speak to your mission, vision, purpose?
  2. Brainstorm (with staff, friends, marketing consultant or agency) to generate possible slogans. Use flip charts. Post words. Find strong, active verbs. 
  3. Refine ... including trimming down to get to 3-5 words. (A theme for one of my former organizations started out as Opportunity Frontier ... and got shortened to Up Front.)
  4. Test it with members and prospects. See if they find it short, sweet and easy to repeat. Ask them what it means.
  5. Revise, improve and clarify based on what you heard.
  6. Launch it ... and use it in all your materials (website, brochures, email signatures, hashtags, publications, speeches, power points). Remember, when you are sick and tired of it, your audiences have just started to hear it.
  7. Trade mark your tagline so others can’t “steal it.”
  8. Like Nike, stick with it for decades.
These are the steps we implemented to create Making Dreams Fly as the tagline my association management company used for 18 years.

Please share your tagline or other thoughts about taglines in the comments box on my website: www.scdgroup.net 

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