I’m the Guy Who Writes the Best Blogs

29 Oct

“I’m the guy who can make the hardest math problem seem easy.”

“We are the most trusted bank in the east coast.”

“I’m the best-looking guy in my entire management class.”

Taglines are a useful way to say a lot about oneself in very few words. A good tagline can make a candidate stick out for an available job. A good tagline can make customers remember a certain company. A good tagline can create a memorable image for a person or business of any kind.

But a bad tagline can be a Public Relations disaster.

The Danger of Taglines 

Marsha Friedman discusses in her article What Should Your ‘Promotional Tagline’ Be? how taglines can backfire and create the opposite image of what was intended. If someone describes him or herself as a “genius,” what is your first impression of that person? A genius? Probably not. A cocky narcissist? Most likely.

If you’re trying to make a name for yourself, calling yourself “the best” or “the most trusted” doesn’t do much for you. What reason does somebody else have to believe you? If you’re trying to make a name or image for yourself, the best way to do it is through somebody else. If my friend tells me that he is the smartest guy in his math class, I probably wouldn’t think much of it. If somebody in my friend’s class tells me “Wow! Gerald is so good at math!” I would be more likely to ask him to help me with my homework.

Likewise, if Citibank sends me an email describing how they are the best bank, I would not be more likely to trust it with my money. I might even become more hesitant to use Citibank. However, if my colleague tells me how helpful Citibank has been for her, I would probably think twice before opening a new account with Bank of America.

The Way to Use Taglines Efficiently 

Despite the bad that can come of trying to create your own label, creating taglines should definitely not be avoided. As long as cockiness and arrogance are absent from this tagline, it can be one of the most useful tools for a business or potential employee. A tagline can be one of the best ways to become memorable. A tagline can make you stand out from the crowd or competition. A tagline could be both your biggest strength or your biggest weakness, depending on what you make of it.

http://bx.businessweek.com/business-communications/view?url=http%3A%2F%2Femsincorporated.com%2Ftagline-2%2F

by Ross Taube

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5 Responses to “I’m the Guy Who Writes the Best Blogs”

  1. Jake Lazarus October 30, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

    Do you have an example of a real-life bad tagline? I agree with what you are saying, as there is always a line between effective and cocky, but I was just wondering which companies have had issues because of their tagline?

  2. Jeff Lin November 1, 2011 at 2:05 am #

    I agree with your points. In essence, it is similar to the idea in Made To Stick about obtaining credibility. Opposite to what Jake asked, do you have an example a company that has had an exceptional tagline?

    • Jake Lazarus November 1, 2011 at 7:07 am #

      I feel like some of the best taglines are the ones that everybody remembers, like Nike’s “Just Do It,” and Burger King’s “Have it Your Way.” After doing some research, some of the worst that I have found are those that just don’t do anything to enhance the company or make you want to learn more. Examples include Exxon’s “We’re Exxon” (duh?) and Delta Airlines’ “We Get You There.” That’s kind of the point, Delta…

  3. Ross Taube November 4, 2011 at 5:04 am #

    Hey guys, sorry for the late response–

    Jake–One company in particular that I found has a lackluster tagline is Ames Rubber. “Excellence through total quality.” This tagline doesn’t only make the company seem a bit cocky, but it really just doesn’t mean anything. It is basically saying “we are the best because we are the best.”

    Jeff–The most effective tagline I have come across is Apple’s: “Think different.” I know Apple is always an obvious choice for an example in the business-world, but that’s just because they sell their brand so well. “Think different” is simple, elegant, and easy to remember. Most importantly, these two words are able to define the entire company. It shows that they don’t have to claim to be the “most popular” or the “most successful”; Apple simply states exactly what it is and what its customers want it to be: Different.

  4. Robert Knapel November 29, 2011 at 6:48 am #

    Ross,

    I do think that a tagline is a very important thing to have when you are trying to differentiate yourself from others. Rather than saying that you are the best at something, the tag line should mention something that you have accomplished in that role. Whoever you are talking will be more impressed with your accomplishment than your claim that you are better than everyone else at what you do. It also provides them with something that you have actually done instead of a objective claim.

    Robert

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