Branding

Invisible Taglines

Sam Frentzel-Beyme Follow Managing Partner & Strategy Director

The Short of It

  • What you say is only part of how others perceive you.
  • Consistency between saying and doing brings clarity.
  • Lack on consistency can hinder a brand's success in telling a compelling story.

I was walking through my neighborhood the other day and came across a sign for a local construction company that was placed in front of a house that they had apparently remodeled. The tagline for the company was “ Building. | Redefined.”

What stood out was how ordinary everything appeared (including the sign). Instead of the home being a showcase for redefining home remodeling, the sign simply pointed out how big the contrast was between what they were saying and what they were doing.

And this got me thinking about the concept of invisible taglines. These are the taglines that are unwritten, but eventually conveyed through what an organization actually does or doesn’t do. In the case of the construction company, the invisible tagline was, “We’re doing the same thing as everyone else.”

And that could be okay. Maybe instead of a strong visual flair they were cheaper or faster. But if that’s the case, why tell the public that they are somehow redefining the building industry?

So here’s a quick test.

  1. Describe in a few words how you think your company actually works internally
  2. Describe in a few words how you think the last client would describe you
  3. Write down down your organization’s guiding values

Now compare all of those words to your organization’s tagline (if you don’t have one, take a look at your latest sales materials). Is there consistency?

If so, you’re probably on your way to building a strong brand (or have one). If not, it’s possible that the lack of consistency is hindering your ability to tell a strong brand story that really connects with people. And that means potential clients probably don't really understand why they should use your services/products instead of those of your competitors.

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