Two Unique Approaches to Taglines

Yesterday I blogged about Brand Identity Manuals and cited two examples – Columbia College Chicago and BAE Systems.

Coincidentally, both of these organizations have unique approaches to taglines.

So let’s explore them with the idea that you might broaden your perspective and open new avenues of effective communication.

Set it apart, move it around

First, Columbia College Chicago. It’s “official” tagline, the one associated with its logo, is pretty mundane – see below. (Actually, I’d call it a positioning statement rather than a slogan.)

Columbia College Chicago logo and tagline

So they’ve come up with a “promotional” slogan that carries a active tagline-slogan for Columbia College Chicagoone-two punch, one the words, two the design. It’s just right for a college specializing in the communication arts. First, the words: “create…change”. They resonate with students and potential employers of graduates.Right-hand positioned promotional tagline for Columbia College Chicago

Then the way they’ve provided a visual punch to the slogan by making it look like a “page seal” and positioning it flush to the right or left side of the page, really makes it stand out and instantly recognizable. The neat thing about it is that it is not tied to the name, is not part of the logo so it can be placed in unusual positions and still effectively communicate the organizational message of innovative communications. Well thought out and well executed.

Twelve taglines for one company!

Then with the multinational BAE systems, a different approach was taken. The tagline resides under the logo in most applications. But the unique thing is that it can convey different aspects of the company’s competencies.

One of twelve taglines for BAE Systems

The way they approach that is to trade out the first-stated competency (in the example above REAL PARTNERSHIP) with one of 11 different attributes. They are:

  • Real Breadth

  • Real Capability

  • Real Commitment

  • Real Delivery

  • Real Innovation

  • Real Integration

  • Real Performance

  • Real Protection

  • Real Solutions

  • Real Support

  • Real Understanding

But the second phrase, REAL ADVANTAGE, always remains the same. Now for a multinational, business-to-business (or business-to-government) systems developer, it probably works, though I’m not sure when one attribute might be more appropriate than another..

The problem is that using all these attributes does not differentiate you. This scheme says you’re all things to your customers. When you’re building weapons and such, I guess that’s a good thing to be. Still, it just goes against my brand-oriented approach to corporate strategy. But it is a unique approach to corporate branding – multiple taglines with a common thread.

But as I said up front, these examples demonstrate that the tagline need not be just a tag-a-long under the logo. So perhaps stretching you tagline paradigm might be good for your brand as well.

In addition, I like that both taglines are short, and that neither makes me react with “Well, I should hope so” as do so many platitudes that masquerade as slogans.

Here are several additional sites that discuss taglines intelligently:

Impressive Taglines – Little Said, Greatly Felt!
Taglines – forget obscure and find a unique client benefit instead
Brandbuilding with Taglines
Brand Taglines

I invite you to suggest other examples of tagline uniqueness by adding a comment below. No prizes, just the warm knowledge that you might have helped another brander find a solution here.

Martin Jelsema

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