FromThe Nuancing GroupcomesTag Lines as a Marketing Tool
By Elizabeth J. GoodgoldChief Nuancer, The Nuancing Group, San Diego, CA, USA
Marketers in the packaged food business today are missing a critical element in their communications mix: the correct and consistent use of a strong tag line. In an industry fighting sensory overload,
shrinking mass-market opportunities, and thousands of "me too" products, tag lines are an opportunity to seal your positioning in the consumer's mind.
What is a Tag Line?
Yet, what is a tag line? A tag line is the phrase that follows your brand name. It explains your unique selling proposition and is such a natural outgrowth of the brand positioning that the two are inextricably linked.
Remember "N-E-S-T-L-E-S: Nestlé makes the very best chocolate?" Or Good Seasons' "You make it fresh, you make it best?" Both of these are memorable tag lines that differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Narrowly Defining Your Positioning
Often, a good tag line is quite simple, such as Tyson's "We're chicken" or Polaner's "Real spices -- real fast." Within this simplicity, however, lies their greatest strength - a narrowly defined positioning.Both Fruit-Fresh's new tag line of "The secret to keeping fruit and veggies fresh" and Total cereal's "One bowl, one great source of calcium" have attempted to broaden their appeal with new tag lines.
If you remember that Total was introduced on the premise that it provided the total amount needed of 10 essential vitamins and minerals, you quickly see the problem. By switching their tag lines, both products now contradict their positioning and even their brand name!
Creating a Reference for Consumers
Tag lines work especially well when introducing a new product. They act as a quick reference system for the consumer. Pringles with Olean is "The fat free potato crisp."
Listerine toothpaste is " The toothpaste that kills germs for a cleaner, fresher mouth."
Tag Lines Vs Slogans
Are tag lines and slogans different names for the same things? No! A slogan changes with the campaign whereas a tag line remains virtually static for many years.
"Shouldn't your baby be a Gerber baby?" still resonates with consumers as does "Choosy Moms choose Jif."
Utilizing the Package
The packaged goods industry by its very nature has a key advantage that is virtually overlooked: the package. Yet, most manufacturers in every area except the cereal and baby-food aisles are missing the opportunity to reinforce their message. Kimberly-Clark always adds "Cleans like a wash cloth" to its Huggies baby wipes. "Snap, crackle, and pop" will always grace Kellogg's Rice Crispies, as will "More, please" on Cracklin' Oat Bran. Even a new introduction like Smart Start has its "Seize the day" on the back of the box.
Bertolli recently launched a new marketing campaign for Gentile al Palato with an indistinguishable tag line of "For those who know the difference". Besides a difficult brand name to pronounce, its neck tags proclaim a different message with "Now tradition has a new taste..." Only in small type does the consumer ever learn that this product is olive oil and is manufactured by Bertolli.
Avoiding Generic Flu
Many food companies fall victim to the rampant generic tag- line flu. They erroneously believe that talking about taste will distinguish them from their competitors.
From Hain Oil's "Taste the difference" to McCormick's "The taste you trust" to Forest Glen's "Taste it all", no ownable benefit is identified.
Tag Line Guidelines
How do you carefully craft and employ a tag line? Although there's no secret formula in this highly subjective area, here are a few guidelines:
Ensure that it is consistent with the brand name and positioning
Convey the message in consumer language
Communicate one simple idea
Opt for a few, short words
Always use the tagline on the product, in advertising, and in any other consumer communication
Test the tag line with consumers
Create a tag line that is "ownable" and could not be usurped by your competitors
Avoid all acronyms or initials
Taglines as a Post Script
Since taglines are often at the end of a commercial or at the bottom of an ad, they act as your PS: the last best hope to propel your message.
Employed properly, your consumers will understand your brand and its unique point of difference.