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What Pin the Tail on the Donkey Can Teach You About Creating a Great Tagline

Remember playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey when you were a kid? You were shown a picture hanging on a wall of a donkey missing its tail. A parent blindfolded you and spun you around until you were dizzy. Then you were pushed off with a paper tail trying to stick it to the donkey’s rear end. As you fumbled your way forward, the giggles of your friends would give you a clue if you were aiming in the right direction, hoping you would pin the tail in just the right spot. So what can this child’s birthday game teach you about creating a great tagline?

1. The Tail Completes the Picture

Developing a brand image and forgetting to create the tagline is like the donkey without a tail. Most people will see the picture and feel like something is missing. They won’t get the complete essence about who you are or what your company stands for. Your tagline completes the picture. Without it, you are missing an opportunity to sum up your value and complete your brand promise.

2. It’s All About Hitting the Mark

Most of the time these games wind up with tails that are tacked on in weird places. Some are stuck to the donkey’s nose, some to the rib cage, and others that simply float out in space. Taglines that miss the mark create the same odd picture about your brand. Why do some miss the mark?

Some taglines fall short because they focus on catchy and forget about connecting. If your tagline doesn’t resonate with your target audience, they won’t trust it. You need to understand your audience, their beliefs, their pain points, and help guide their perceptions about how your organization will service their needs in a way that is unique to the competition.

Let’s take a look at some well-known taglines …

Las Vegas: “What happens here, stays here.”

Geico: “15 minutes will save you 15 percent or more”

Esurance: “Technology when you want it, people when you don’t”

Nike: “Just do it.”

Why do these taglines work? They create a distinctive frame of reference for their intended audiences. How many industry buzz words do you see in the samples above? None. They don’t try to be cute. They simply sum up who they are and the value they provide in ease-to-understand language.

3. Create a Balance

Imagine playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey if everyone was given different size tails. Even if they were stuck in the right place, they would either make the body look unable to support an oversized tail or it would appear insignificant. Similarly, your tagline needs to compliment the other elements of your brand identity — your organization or product/service name and logo. Your tagline must work in concert with the other two elements, adding additional value without being redundant. It must be concise, relevant, authentic, and current. When combined with an effective name and logo, you are creating opportunities for prospects to connect with your brand. It’s then up to you to deliver on your promise.

For more information about creating a great tagline that completes your brand image, call us at (410) 366-9479.

Dina Wasmer is President of Incite Creative, a marketing and graphic design firm that provides online and offline brand-building services and strategies for small-to-middle-market businesses and non-profit organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region. Additionally, Dina is an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore teaching typography and graphic design principles. For more information, log onto www.incitecreativeinc.com or contact dina@incitecreativeinc.com

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