Last night I was curled on the sofa watching live TV. This was an unusual event, like so many other households we are very ‘bought into’ the idea of catch-up TV. Watching live TV was a novel experience; not only viewing alongside millions of others, but also, getting the chance to watch the adverts. Unless I’m at the cinema I hardly ever get to see them anymore.
Adverts provide a great opportunity to catch up on what’s going on in the world of marketing, and in particular, how big companies are messaging their brands. So, in a way, watching TV live was a bit like doing research (double win).
There’s a lot to be learned. One thing that particularly struck me was just how good most companies (admittedly, they likely have brand agencies or teams working around the clock) are at creating meaningful ‘straplines’ (also called taglines, or the ‘brand promise’) that communicate the benefits of what they sell in a succinct and effective way.
What makes a good strapline?
What is it that makes these big business straplines (in the main) so effective?
A well-crafted strapline communicates the VALUES that the business stands for rather than ‘what the company does’. Or, to put it another way, it communicates the most important aspect of the purchase, or the attribute that customers want to get from buying a product or service.
To make this easier to understand, I jotted down some recognisable examples from last night’s viewing. In each case, I’ve included the name of the firm, the strapline from the advert (for every one this was the last bit that you heard or read during the advert – positioned perfectly within the context so that the viewer is most likely to remember it) and then the value that I believe the strapline has been designed to communicate – you might have a different interpretation, let me know if you do!
Brand Strapline Examples
‘We help people get jobs’ – straightforward
‘Improve your indoor life.’ – lifestyle
‘Imagine where we can take you.’ – freedom
‘Seriously reliable suncare’ – safety
‘As good as it’s always been.’ – reputation
‘Find your feel-good frames.’ – wellbeing – as well as choice and individualism.
‘Everything you need to go.’ – simple
‘Together since 1870.’ – togetherness and reputation.
I hope that when you see these all listed, it becomes obvious that the point of the strapline, and what makes them effective, is not to inform customers of what you do, but to allow them understand the transformation that you can bring to their life, or what being associated with that brand can feel like. And that’s why the messaging of these companies, and hence their advertising, works.
When a company bases its messaging on a meaningless strapline like: ‘Providing data management solutions’ which only describes the function of what it does, rather than what it can deliver for customers, its brand is totally forgettable and undifferentiated. The audience is not compelled to get involved.
This is why knowing your business values and sharing them is so important.
Need help crafting the perfect strapline?
If your strapline needs work, get in touch. We can take you through a process to review and refine your messaging so that whatever you are saying to your audience is clear and compelling.