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Just do it...We try harder...The ultimate driving machine...Be all that you can be. They're called taglines and they're one of the best ways of defining any product, service, company or organization and distinguishing it from its competition. A smart, memorable tagline will build a positive brand image, and reinforce that image for years. Like these others:

      Please don't squeeze the Charmin. (since 1964).

      A diamond is forever. (since 1948).

      All the news that's fit to print. (since 1896).

A tagline can also give a company personality. One great example is Avis. When Avis (the # 2 car rental behind Hertz) used the tagline, "We try harder", they not only turned being #2 into a positive they also gave their company a likeable, underdog personality. It humanized Avis. And, to help support that company personality, every ad Avis created evolved from that simple, brilliant, three-word tag about better service. Now, over fifty years later, Avis still uses "We try harder."

Another great example is "You're in good hands with Allstate" created by ad agency Leo Burnett in 1956. Being "in good hands" conveys a caring, protective personality. A more recent example is "Think different" for Apple Computer. Created in 1998 by Chiat/Day, the line gives Apple the personality of being innovative and apart from the rest.

So, what else makes a great tagline? A general rule is the shorter the better. The logic being that the shorter the line, the more memorable. However, if you blindly follow that logic you'll be asking for trouble. Because it's not how short you make it, it's how you make it short. You don't want to compromise a great line simply for brevity. And shorter doesn't always mean more memorable. One of the most memorable taglines of all time is 10 words. Maybe you know it:

      "With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good."

That's why, as much as you can try to break it down to a formula, you can't. A great tagline involves a perfect mix of right-brain creativity and left-brain strategic thinking. Both are critical because it won't matter how clever it is if it's the wrong message, and it won't matter how strategically smart it is if it's dull.

To the uninitiated, however, creating a good tagline can seem relatively easy. After all, it's just a few simple words, right? And, the truth is, anyone can come up with some tagline-like phrase. The question is; Would it be something that you'd want to define your company for the next 20 years? Remember, just as a smart, creative tagline will help your business, a poor one will work against it.

One final note: A great tagline isn't just for large businesses. In fact, it's especially important for smaller, unknown businesses. Why? Because most have little to zero brand awareness ... and you won't get prospects excited if they aren't even sure what you do.

Here are a few we've created for some not-so-big companies:



      Sorrell Ridge Jam. With 100% fruit, it has to be better.

      French Toast Kids Clothes. You don't eat'em. You wear'em.

      For the person who has everything, we have everything else. Sharper Image.

      Sentry Home Alarm Systems. Because some things in life you can't replace.

      The New School. Where you actually look forward to school.

      Tri-State Auto Insurance. Because better drivers deserve better rates.

      Janovic Paints and Home Furnishings. After all, there's no place like home.

      Amadeus Technology. The name behind the best names in travel.

      The Jekyll & Hyde Restaurant. It actually makes New York seem normal.

      The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. We Mean Business.




See more.



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(c) 2004 John Follis. All rights reserved.


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