One of the best parts of my job is coming up with words that magnify a client’s brand, that stir emotion with their audience, and, most importantly, tell the truth about what they’ll experience. I’m a word nerd. They’re powerful, they’re moving, and, if you’re not careful, a little dangerous.
Very rarely are taglines created in the beginning of a branding process. They should be guided by everything from the brand’s demographic to the services it supplies. In my work, I have to put myself in the mindset of the target audience. Would I smirk, laugh, roll my eyes? Would I sigh and subconsciously think “OK, they get it. That’s what I’m looking for.” The latter is that emotional truth — that trust — a brand should strive to achieve.
Since taglines are often attached to logos and may be the first words a user comes into contact with, saying the right words, at the right time, is the best opportunity to lock down an initial connection and inspire action.
Who are you speaking to?
Know your audience. It’s an old rule that will never change. It’s critical for conversion. Our client, Healthy Kids, Inc., achieves their goal of taking the guesswork out of preparing healthy foods by providing a full-year meal planner for busy parents.
Parents. A good gender-neutral term. With JIF Peanut Butter’s recent tagline change, “Choosy moms and dads choose Jif” on the brain, I was determined that we needed to use language that spoke to everyone. But in our early work with the Healthy Kids, Inc., team, we discovered that the majority of site users and converting customers were female. So, the tagline, “You’re welcome, Mom”, made total sense.
What do they want?
In the case of Healthy Kids, Inc., pairing the tagline with the brand name was almost too easy. On a billboard, it absolutely works. Do moms want healthy kids? Of course they do. As a mom, would I take notice of that tagline while stuck in traffic? Sure. But in many cases, that’s too general. We needed a one-liner to support our claim that, yes, in fact, you are welcome, Mom. So, on the website and in subsequent collateral, we preceded the tagline with “Put a fresh, delicious dinner on the table every night that even the pickiest eater will love.” By adding a clear, descriptive explanation of the service, “You’re welcome, Mom” is clearly defined and qualified.
What do you want them to feel?
Taglines will always need the facts. But the facts won’t cut it alone. As humans, there is emotion in every decision we make. We’re not robots. We care about how we feel when we take action. For the moms of Healthy Kids, Inc., we wanted them to feel both relief and encouragement. Being a mom is hard and making sure your family gets the nutrition they need is even harder. We wanted their subconscious to say “They get it”, and move seamlessly from frame one to frame two, from frazzled mom to confident mom, from casual visitor to converting customer.
A tagline is much more than a few words — it’s the first (important) step in the conversion process. It’s your meet-n-greet. The chance to say to your customer, “I know who you are. I know how you feel. And, I have what you need.”