Stephanie Torres Stephanie – Excellent!!
February 20, 2008
Brand Identification and Taglines
Out of the millions of brands that exist globally, what is it that makes a brand
successful and what are the contributing factors that can help make a brand recognizable?
Many brands compete for the almighty golden success award, but there are many attributes
that certain brands have versus those that totally flop. By the end of this review, we should
be able to comprehend why company branding is so important.
One major factor involves the brand identification process which all companies
must undergo. What differentiates one brand from the other are several different factors:
one involves the quality of the product, another is reputation, corporate responsibility,
mission statements, their advertising campaigns as well as a simple yet influential tagline.
What ultimately determines the success of a brand is the emotional connection a consumer
has with that brand; the emotions one goes through when engaging or even speaking about
a particular brand or product.
When one hears an organization’s name, sees its logo, or reads its tagline, one can
instantly feel some sort of connection. The name might be enough to generate either happy
or sad emotions, as well as a neutral one. In the marketing world, this reaction is known as
the organization’s branding effect. Consumers may either react positively (if the brand has
a good reputation) or negatively (if the brand has a bad reputation or has never been heard
of at all).
So how do organizations get branded? Many organizations are branded in
somewhat of a passive way. The public both forms opinions about them and spreads them
via word of mouth or TV and newspaper stories can give information that reporters think
will interest their audience.
Joel Zimmerman of Nonprofit World offers advice on how to actively engineer a
brand, “The 1st step is to define what your brand represents and what you want it to be.”
This is actually the most vital step one can take in the brand identification process. This
ultimately decides what the company is about and what one wants the consumer to think
whenever they hear or see the brand (also known as brand recognition). The next step
involves seeking to answer what the organization’s unique selling proposition will be; what
makes it special? This is when the positioning statement steps in. After that, one would
need to decide on how the brand differentiates with their competitors and how the public
perceives the brand. Public relations are the next step. Materials such as brochures,
billboards, annual reports and web sites should be developed in order to deliver the
message. Aside from those materials, a company’s message can also be delivered through
P.S.A.s (public service announcements), press conferences, posters, billboards and even
appearances in motion pictures or TV programs.
After taking all these steps, one should be sure to completely follow through on
each task; yet, one must be careful not to exaggerate the greatness of the product or
superiority of service. The goal is to promote and create awareness, not overstate (even if
one really does believe they have the best product in the world). The main reason for this is
simply because if a consumer tries the product and realizes it’s not all it’s hyped up to be,
the let down will be greater than expected. What will result will be the consumer
discouraging others from investing in the company. They will usually spread the negative
message via word of mouth; one of the strongest forms of promotion that can either work
for a company or against one.
“Authenticity is becoming the new consumer sensibility,” according to James H.
Gillmore and Joseph Pine II of Advertising Age. “Consumers purchase offerings based on
how well those purchases conform to their self-image.” According to the aforementioned
articles, in order to truly be perceived as real, every company should seek to form and
understand its own identity. They must decide and advocate what characteristics set it apart
from every other company out there. What one says about their organization and what it
has to offer must coincide with the reality consumers will encounter.
One way in which many brands spread their message to the public is by coming up
with memorable sayings or slogans. According to Stephen Winzenburg of Advertising
Age, “Historically, the best slogans or taglines have communicated the uniqueness of the
brand.” He then goes on in the article offering up examples of how AT&T’s “Reach Out
and Touch Someone” slogan tied an emotional connection to pushing phone buttons. He
also mentioned K.F.C.’s “Fingerlickin Good” motto which turned the messy encounter of
eating Kentucky Fried Chicken into a delectable experience.
Although most companies use taglines in the brand identification process, not all of
them do. Certain companies such as Starbucks, Converse and Mercedes Benz for example
do not use taglines. This is a rare communication strategy that can only be employed by the
most recognized brands. These brands are ones that are instantly identified. The minute one
sees the company logo or even hears the organization’s name, the emotional connection
automatically occurs. To these companies, branding has moved on and taglines are just not
important, being that the company logo itself may say it all. Slogans won’t always
necessarily increase business, but they can be used to help make a company stand out or to
help improve its image in the global market.
In order for a tagline to truly pack a punch, it must serve as the foundation for a
company’s advertising message. The basic definition of a tagline, according to T.L. Stanley
of Brandweek is “a short statement poised to deliver the brand message in a memorable
way.” “For a slogan to stick, it’s not just coming up with five catchy words or less,” said
Landor & Associates’ managing director Allen Adamson. It’s important to spread the
message through all communication mediums and promote the essence of the brand itself.
“It has to be the right promise, with the brand living up to it,” Adamson said. An example
that was pointed out in the article included General Electric’s “Imagination at Work” as a
triumphant slogan because it’s more than just a catchy saying, “It’s the business strategy,”
Adamson says. “It’s the mission of the company.”
If brand identification is as simple as just knowing the brand and coming up with a
unique message, then why is it that so many company taglines fail to communicate their
message properly? One reason, according to Mike McGinty of Brandweek is because “the
advertiser fails to understand his/her own unique selling proposition- the one attribute that
differentiates his brand. If that advertiser can’t define his brand for himself, how often will
he be able to pull off the feat for another audience? Never.” A slogan should leave
consumers with a good impression of the organization. A successful slogan should be one
that puts the brand on a pedestal and is able to differentiate it from competitors. It must
answer the two most important questions in a consumer’s mind, “who are you and why
should I choose you?”
After all the creativity and frustration has taken place in coming up with that perfect
slogan, one might tend to wonder if it was really worth all the effort? According to one
article, “The Trouble With Taglines,” “they are comparable to buying a lottery ticket.”
Jeannette Hanna, vice-president of brand strategy at Spencer Francey Peters in Toronto
says, “In the past, people felt like they needed to have one and sometimes slapped one on
without a lot of thought.” Adding, “that doesn’t cut it in today’s business environment
where companies are more closely scrutinized. Taglines have got to be really hard-working
and communicate something of value.” One must remember not to base their whole entire
communications plan on a tagline, but use it instead as a promotional tool.
All of these sources that were found in a communications database, agree on one
thing: undergoing the brand identification process is vital in determining the success of a
company. Slogans can be a major influence in promoting what your company does and
what its advantages are, but they are not always necessary, especially if you have an
established brand. The keys to a successful tagline are memorability and truth. The general
consensus of the previous articles mentioned agree that in order to have a successful brand
one must truly recognize and promote company ideology.
Gillmore, James H. and Joseph Pine II. “Stop Dishing Out the Phoniness, Marketers.”
Advertising Age. 10 December 2007. Vol. 78, Issue 49; pgs 18-20. ProQuest.
Florida International University Library. 14 February 2008.
McGinty, Mike. “Got Tagline? Not a Good One, You Don’t.” Brandweek. 10 September
2007. Vol. 48, Issue 32; pg.27. ProQuest. Florida International University Library.
14 February 2008. <http://proquest.umi.com>.
Stanley, T.L. “Taglines Lose Their Starring Role in Ads.” Brandweek. 26 November 2007.
Volume 48, Issue 43; pg.4. ProQuest. Florida International University Library. 14
February 2008. <http://proquest.umi.com>.
Warren, Michelle. “The Trouble With Tag Lines.” Marketing. 6 March 2006. Vol. 111,
Issue 9; pgs 8-10. ProQuest. Florida International University Library. 14 February
Winzenburg, Stephen. “Your Advertising Slogans Are Crummy. Can’t You Do Better?”
Advertising Age. 14 January 2008. Vol. 79, Issue 2; pg. 15. ProQuest. Florida
International University Library. 14 February 2008. <http://proquest.umi.com>.
Zimmerman, Joel S. “The Nonprofit Branding Exercise.” Nonprofit World. Jan/Feb 2008.
Vol. 26, Issue 1; pgs17-21. ProQuest. Florida International University Library. 14
February 2008. <http://proquest.umi.com>.