The Tagline: Your Scaled-Down Value Proposition

If you are a big fan of marketing jargon, raise your hand. We can’t see you, but we understand if your hand has remained steadfastly by your side. Marketing jargon can be pretty superfluous. Take ‘value proposition’. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Your entire value proposition can be encapsulated in a clever tagline.


We like to call the tagline a scaled-down version of the value proposition. But perhaps this explanation is still too jargon-like. Let us put it in even simpler terms: every company needs a simple, clever slogan that captures what makes it unique.


Nike’s tagline and value proposition are one and the same: “Just Do It”. And of course, we all remember the Verizon guy asking, “Can you hear me now?” In both cases, the tagline is the value proposition. Both are so simple yet so effective.


Market with Your Tagline


Now, let’s get one thing straight. You don’t come up with a tagline just because you need something to take up a little extra space on the company letterhead. You do it for marketing purposes. To illustrate the point, let us talk about post card marketing.


You are going to send out a ton of direct mail postcards to a dozen neighborhoods in your local area. Great. You need to give them something that will grab their attention. Your postcard has to say something important. That something needs to be more than the actual message you want to get out. It has to say something about your business as a unique entity. The tagline does the trick.


Think about it. If you pulled a direct mail postcard out of your mailbox and saw only the phrase “Just Do It” printed on the front, you wouldn’t need to read the back to know who it was from. You would think Nike the minute you saw that phrase.


The thing is that your company is just as cool as Nike. You have something your customers want, something they might want more if you could figure out a way to embed reminders of your company in their minds. You actually can with a clever tagline.


Characteristics of a Great Tagline


We are guessing that by this time we have made the point about taglines effectively enough. You’re ready to move on. Fair enough. Let’s talk about the characteristics of a great tagline. There are five of them:


  • It’s Simple – Taglines aren’t complicated. They are simple. That’s what makes them so ideal for postcard marketing – and any kind of marketing for that matter.


  • It’s Clear – A great tagline is clear. It is not ambiguous or so out-of-this-world that nobody gets it.


  • It Means Something – A tagline is effective when it actually means something. With that in mind, a good tagline doesn’t rely on jargon.


  • It Screams Benefits – Taglines should scream benefits, not features. You have plenty of other opportunities to talk about features.


  • It Tells a Story – Despite being brief and simple, great taglines tell stories. Nike’s tagline tells the story of athletes who set everything else aside and just go compete.


Let us wrap this up by going back to postcard marketing. Taglines are effective with all sorts of marketing tactics. We have chosen to focus on postcards here because they are so visual. Direct mail postcards take a visual message, transform it into in a tangible object, and put that object into the hands of your customers.


A clever and effective tagline can turn an average postcard into a killer marketing machine. Just remember this: your tagline is your value proposition scaled down and put into simple English.