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Tag Line Calisthenics
Punctuate your company name with a memorable tag.
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by Marcia Yudkin
Named at Last

Marcia YudkinA terrific tag line sets you apart from other businesses
and provides a memorable and appealing reason to choose your firm over other options. The tag line should trail your company name like a shadow everywhere - in ads, on your web site, on business cards and in on-hold telephone messages, to name a few places.

Before assessing your own tag line, warm up by looking at a category of Yellow Pages ads or flip through your local business paper. First, you'll undoubtedly notice an epidemic of companies whose tag lines are missing in action. Rate those you do see from the viewpoint of a potential customer.

Here's my ten-spot workout from looking at ads in BusinessWest, the twice-monthly paper covering Western Massachusetts business.

1.  5 points - honest. expert. driven 
This ad featured a picture of a vintage Cadillac, compounding my confusion about what kind of business this is. 5 points does not do car repair, however. It creates custom web-based applications. So thumbs down; the business name and tag line together should make it crystal clear what the company does.

2.  Charter Business - The Way Business Works
Not as misleading as #1, yet the tag line is just too vague
to help the reader understand what line of business this
firm is in, much less why one should select them over
competitors.

3.  Spa on the Green - Organic Skin Care & Body Treatments
Nicely specific. I know what they do and how they differ
from other spas. If they're not the only spa in the area
featuring organic products, though, this tag line isn't
distinct enough.

4.  Richard A. McCullough, Inc. - Building Homes of
Distinction Since 1953

We know this is a high-end residential builder with more
than 50 years of experience. The tag line could have a
little pizzazz to be more appealing, but it gets a passing
grade.

5.  Southbridge Savings Bank - Preserving the past,
building for the future. Since 1848.

Although there's a nice ring to this one, from the
customer's point of view it's not clear why we should care
about the architectural consciousness alluded to in the tag
line. Preserving whose past? Its own? Downtown Southbridge's? Not quite on target.

6.  PeoplesBank - Great relationships start here.
Oh, so if I'm looking for romance, I should get a job at
PeoplesBank? Do they have a matchmaking service? This tag
line too doesn't narrow in enough on the types of images
evoked.

7.  Wolf & Company, P.C., Certified Public Accountants and
Business Consultants - Insight and Integrity

What a sad commentary on today's business environment, when
a CPA firm feels the need to say that it has integrity.
Even so, honesty and integrity are qualities that no
company can ever credibly claim about itself.  Only third
parties can attest to an individual's or company's moral
virtues. In addition, when you bring up integrity as an
issue, you get customers thinking about complications you
don't want them to be pondering while considering hiring
you.

8.  Mercy Medical Center - Our mission is to heal. Our
passion is to care.

Rah-rah! Mission statements should be used to rally your
own troops, not to motivate customers. The people you
serve don't care about your aspirations, only about the
benefits you actually deliver. So for the target market,
this tag line evokes skepticism.

9.  Springfield Day Nursery - Early Care and Education at
its Best... Since 1883

This tag line was so startling that I looked very closely
to see if I had read the date correctly. I rate this tag
line highly because as a whole, it sparks curiosity. As a
potential day care parent, I'd want to know more about this
place and how it's survived and updated its care for kids
over such a long period of time.

10.  Westbank - On your corner.  In your corner.
Finally, a winner. This tag line is crisp, snazzy and
persuasive. It gives me a memorable rationale for choosing
this bank over competitors.

Now that I'm all warmed up from assessing tag lines, it's your turn!


Marcia Yudkin is the author of 6 Steps to Free Publicity
and ten other books hailed for outstanding creativity.
Find out more about her new discount naming company, 
Named At Last, which brainstorms new company names, 
new product names, tag lines and more for cost-conscious organizations, at www.NamedAtLast.com





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