The Importance of Slogans and Taglines

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Just because a picture is worth 1,000 words doesn’t mean words are meaningless. Words are what we use to communicate with each other and they allow us to control the value and meaning of your brand, which you can’t do with images alone. This is why taglines and slogans are so important. Before we go on about why these two marketing tools are valuable, let’s talk about the difference between the two.

Taglines vs Slogans

Taglines are catchy quips that evoke an image of your brand in the minds of your customers and enable people to make lighthearted associations with your business. A slogan covers a company's mission, what it stands for, and even how it's helping customers in individual campaigns the company might run. This means slogans can be longer than taglines.

Although they are often used interchangeably, understanding the difference between the two will help guide your messaging strategy and correctly position your brand. It’s not necessary to develop both, but it is helpful. Often companies will keep the same tagline for years, but switch slogans based on what campaign they’re currently running. Take Nike for example, they’re iconic “Just Do It” tagline isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but they just released their controversial “Believe in something, even if it costs you everything” slogan. They’ll likely use that slogan for a while and then switch it out when they change focus. 

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focus on the sizzle, not the steak

branding

Why They Matter

Taglines and slogans give you a way to be remembered and, more importantly, a way to connect with customers by delivering a laser-targeted message in just a few words. Some brands opt for a more literal message. Take BMW’s usage of “the ultimate driving machine.” It leaves little to the imagination about what kind of product they make. Other brands take a more abstract approach and try to focus on the sizzle, not the steak.

GE uses “Imagination at Work”, which tells you almost absolutely nothing about what they do. However, once you understand that they are a multinational conglomeration of everything from healthcare to light bulbs, it really makes sense. The advantage of an abstract approach is that brands can evoke an emotional response and build a real personal connection with buyers. The downside is that brands must work to build a brand around an abstract tagline and slogan. An abstract tagline like “Just Do It” doesn’t make much sense unless you understand that Nike sells high-performance athletic gear that pushes athletes to set records and win titles.

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