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The tail wagging the dog: making your tagline effective

Usually, the phrase “tail wagging the dog” conjures up images of chaos and bad leadership. It’s one step from “inmates running the asylum.” No one wants that.

If you treat your tagline like the “tail end” of your marketing, it’ll be just that. If it isn’t developed as an integrated part of your brand development, it’ll just hang out there like an uncoordinated appendage, sending a message that doesn’t express your value or support your message. Soon it may take on a life of its own creating chaos and brand confusion.

Too often the under-appreciated tagline is an afterthought, a marketing stepchild. (“Do we need a tagline? Jones & Associates has one.”) However, its potential to be an effective communication tool in the branding tool chest is huge.

When carefully crafted and used well, a tagline can drive a campaign.

A case in point is the wonderful tagline The Richards Group implemented for M.D. Anderson Cancer Center: Making Cancer History. Perfect on so many fronts:

These three little words are something of a miracle in themselves: they evoke a strong, positive and memorable response. Even though I’m sure M.D. Anderson paid top dollar, they got a bargain. This is the tagline that keeps on giving—it’ll be making history for a long, long time.

So, be sure when you are beginning your brand development to think about the end—the tail end. Your tagline should be an important, integral element that works with work your brand message, not against it. Don’t let the tail wag the dog!


Next Issue:

Leader of the Pack: Don't let your brand be bland

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