The Dreaded Tag Line
At KPS3 at any given moment, we are probably developing strategic "tag lines" as part of a client's branding process. Tag lines may be simple phrases (ideally) but writing good ones can be uber difficult to do. Tag lines need to be strategic (reinforce the unique brand position of an organization or product), memorable, concise and relevant.
A tagline is NOT the brand, but it is meant to immediately and effectively communicate the brand essence to its audiences every time they see it or hear it.
Some key steps:
Determine the strategy (what is the brand you want to reinforce, emphasize, change, alter, tweak, etc.) and who are your target audiences. At KPS3 we develop a "strategic brief" before any creative or communications project, and this is our guide. A tag line is often part of a client strategic branding process, but may also be something a client hires us to do as a solo project. Keep the brand strategy statement in front of you as you begin to create. It's tempting to start generating tag lines that might sound good, or might sound appropriate for the client's industry... but is it really strategic?
Generate options that say what you want to strategically... but in mass. There are a gazillion ways to say the same thing. Write a gazillion options. Then narrow the options down to ones that really match the strategy best. And identify options that maybe do NOT match the strategy well, but are creatively, poetically and succinctly written. Any way to find a way to get to a meshing of strategy and poetry with what's in front of you?
Create in the conference room together. Create apart. Create in the shower the next day. And the day after. In short, use both group processes and alone time, over time, to generate the best possible option list. Come back after focusing on the project for a while, and revisit it again. And again. It's not always possible given clients' timelines to allow a lot of time, but do allow time to create over time in separate "creative visits" if possible.
Test. Try if at all possible given time and financial constraints, to test your target markets' reactions to what you and your client believe are your top options, the ones that hit the strategy best and which you feel most poetically, memorably and succinctly say what you want to say.
Even with these steps in place, we believe that not everyone can write a great tagline. Just as it takes a strategic, creative writer to craft a memorable speech for a US President, or a great "grabber" headline for an ad that people remember for years, or an award winning movie score... we believe that it takes that same type of talent to write consistently great tag lines over time.