20 Aug 2015

If money could buy you love, you’d invest in a strapline

In the first of a two-part blog, MRA Marketing’s Kate Woodford explores the magic of straplines and what makes the perfect pitch. 

‘There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s…’

Straplines, taglines, slogans – don’t you just love them? They’re the lines of copy that sit under your logo, you slap them on your van sides, plaster them across your home page and put on your packaging to set you apart and keep you front of mind with your customers.

They need to be short, sharp and punchy and sum up your brand offer in as few words as possible. As any copywriter will tell you, they’re dashed hard to come up with and difficult to pull off, but when you do get them right, you really get them right. The little TM symbol next to the world’s biggest and best one-liners tells you there’s big money in snatchy slogans.

Who would think that one little line could hold such treasure? But many famous names have tried and hugely succeeded in communicating their brand in a short string of beautifully crafted words.

So what does make the perfect strapline? Here are the first of our tips.

Keep it simple.

There’s nothing like keeping it simple to exude confidence and reassure your customers that you and only you are the right choice for them. And the old ones are the best: ‘You can be sure of Shell’, ‘Guinness is good for you’ probably wouldn’t wash nowadays, but in their day, they were pretty convincing. British Airways’ ‘The world’s favourite airline’ has the kind of calm superiority about it that you’d expect from a premium brand. But the best and most simply reassuring line of all time has to be Ronseal’s ‘It does exactly what it says on the tin.’

Make it memorable.

You might never have known Audi meant ‘Advancement through technology’ but how could you forget ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ or ‘The ultimate driving machine’ from BMW? Both perfectly sum up the brands they are selling and speak to their respective audiences with a powerful promise packed right in. Hard for other car companies to get a look in but that didn’t stop VW who did it brilliantly and in fewer words with their famous line: ‘Think small’.

Pack in a benefit.

They always say, sell the sizzle not the sausage. In other words, don’t sell the product sell the benefit to the user. ‘Let your fingers do the walking’ from Yellow Pages (for those of us old enough to remember the days before the internet) sold the benefit of the product in just six words. The modern equivalent would be Tesco’s online offer: ‘You shop. We drop.’

‘Access. Your flexible friend.’ made credit friendly and Levi’s ‘Quality never goes out of style’ reminds you that some things are (apparently) worth bending that flexible friend for.

Dare to be different.

Sometimes in marketing you have to confront your demons. But it’s a really resilient brand that can turn a perceived weakness into a resounding strength. The prize for that one has to go to Skoda who created a whole campaign out of their strapline: ‘It’s a Skoda. Honest.’ Witty and smart, it challenges perceptions and leaves a smile on your face. ‘Full of Lidl surprises’ as another resilient brand knows only too well.

‘Just do it’. ‘Think different’. As Nike and Apple would say.

Want a new strapline? Need help to make your company stand out and grow? Talk to Tom Rigby on 01453 521621 or tom@mra-marketing.com

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