A marketing strapline can be the perfect tool for building a memorable brand. Alongside the company name and logo, a strapline is a brand’s first chance to engage with customers and secure their loyalty. Get it right, and it will even pass into everyday speech - consider consumer brand straplines such as Just Do It (Nike), Because You’re Worth It (L’Oreal) or I’m lovin’ it (MacDonald’s).
You may wonder what relevance big brand straplines such as these have to the our B2B marketing space, where straplines are relatively uncommon. It’s true that your business is unlikely ever to be identified solely by a snappy slogan, but there are good reasons to consider one.
1) It can help explain what an unknown or obscurely named company does.
Think FinTech or cryptocurrency trading start-ups which are often names, initials, numbers, or a combination of all three.
2) It can help your company communicate its mission, differentiate itself from the competition and demonstrate its value.
In a competitive B2B marketplace, anything that helps your organisation to stand out at first glance should be considered.
“If you can't state your position in eight words, you don't have a position.” -Seth Godin
Eight words is, with a few notable exceptions four or five words too long for a successful strapline. You don’t have time or space to be funny or (too) clever.
When a potential customer is searching for a new product or service, he or she might quickly scroll through search results, clicking through briefly to your website. You only have a few seconds to capture the business. Your strapline needs to sum up your company and its values briefly and concisely.
DO use the language of your customer base. Your strapline needs to fit in with existing branding and make sense to your customers. If you are targeting C-Suite bankers, don’t try to be clever with teenage cultural references or aggressive undertones.
DON’T just create a meaningless or lazy strapline for the sake of it (Chiltern Railways’ Nice and Fast springs to mind). A worthwhile strapline should describe clearly the value that a company or product brings to its customers. If you can sum up your business and make it clear what your vision is in only a few words, you are already ahead of the competition - and if you can do this succinctly, so will your customers.
DO look to the future. Businesses often change their missions, goals or products over the years, so your strapline needs room to adapt. In ten years’ time it needs to reflect the business as it is – not as it was at start-up.
DON’T underestimate the internal value of a good strapline. When your mission statement is reduced to a few words, it is easier to ensure that you and your employees are on the same page – and this will do wonders for both staff motivation and customer service.
DO think globally. If your strapline is ever likely to be translated, keep it simple and be culturally and linguistically aware. The advertising and marketing industry is littered with slogans that bombed outside domestic markets (the Chevy Nova failed to sell in Mexico because no va means it doesn’t go in Spanish; nothing sucks like an Electrolux was guaranteed not to appeal to speakers of American English…and I could go on).
A strapline isn’t just a fancy piece of marketing to keep your agency busy. It should be developed with a view to creating an idea or theme about your business which your current brand is not fully doing. If your company name or logo says it already, then congratulations – there’s no need to over-egg the pudding.
A good, timeless strapline, however, can achieve instant brand positioning in just a few words and can help your company to stand out from the competition. It needs to be simple and clear, to connect with your customer base and to be built on the solid foundation of your brand.