When I was in Korea a few years back, I was struck that even in cities where very few people spoke English, “upscale” stores always had an English tagline under an English name. But the words didn’t seem to matter: most were incomprehensible, vague, or with uninteded double entendres (as below). Weirdly, these businesses seemed to have taglines simply for the sake of filling space under their name with letters, not because anyone would get information from them. You know what’s even weirder? It happens here too.
A global plague:
Lest we seem to be picking on obscure stores in non-English speaking countries, a couple of weeks ago, we pointed out this tagline from a local real estate agent – and we could have chosen many more from that industry alone.
And size of company doesn’t seem to matter. Check out this bit of tagline vapidity from a major international brand – spotted in July 2009. “Sychronizing the world of commerce” is actually less meaningful than “Fitting & Feeling” – and I imagine UPS has a few more people working on their materials than Teman.
Say something nice… or say nothing at all
Or rather, just say something useful.
Like every other aspect of your brand, a tag line is supposed to be a tool to help people understand something about your brand – some aspect of your service that will help them make a purchase decision in your favour.
A good tag line needs to inform me or help me differentiate you from your competitors; maybe it will make a leadership claim or offer me a guarantee; at the very least it should give me a clever “hook” to remenber you by; otherwise it’s just filling a space.
Here’s a secret that should never have to be spoken: a tag line isn’t a design element. It’s actually a set of words that happen to be occupying prime real estate on your sign, page, or Web site. So make sure they “pay their rent” by actually doing useful things.