Evaluating Brand Equity through Taglines
Posted by: Labbrand Consulting Co., Ltd.
Date added: Wed 07 Dec 2011
In time, a brand comes to embody a promise to consumers about the quality and performance of the products or services it provides. Successful brands are unique brands. They naturally stand out in the imagination of consumers, and taglines are one of the most effective ways of improving brand equity.
What makes a good tagline?
Because taglines are supposed to capture the essence of a brand, in many cases it takes years to establish a good one. Eric Swartz at “Tagline Guru” has compiled his list of The 100 Most Influential U.S. Taglines since 1948. The ranking was based on the following branding criteria:
a) Longevity: Have they endured the test of time?
b) Equity: Have they become synonymous with a company or a product?
c) Portability & Memorability: Have they exercised an influence on culture, media, and language?
d) Originality: Have they broken new ground in the advertising industry?
Looking at the list Swartz compiled one can notice many familiar brands.
Apple’s 1998 “Think Different”, was not only stressing the concepts innovation and creativity, but was also using a syntactic error to convey the idea of being out of the ordinary.
In 1988 Nike introduced a tagline that has since become a motto for athletes around the world. Ideated by the advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy, the simple“Just Do It”, suggests that Nike products are more about winning and being successful than just competing
Changing with Time and Culture
However, taglines also have to adapt to different times and cultures.
One of the most recognizable and profitable taglines in the car industry is BMW’s “The ultimate driving machine”. Used for years in North America, the tagline defined the stature of the brand. However, the 36-year-old tagline, which labeled so well BMW’s conspicuous success in the 80s, had to give way to new concepts and ideas. The new tagline “Sheer driving pleasure” focuses on BMW’s excellent performance and targets affluent and successful professionals who have been responding well to the advertising that taps into their desire for superior experiences.
Li-Ning, a Chinese sportswear brand that many consider one of China’s first truly global brands, has had to solve some major brand positioning problems. If on one hand the redesign of its logo (too similar to Nike's ‘Swoosh’) helped it improve its image, on the other hand, changing its original tagline "Anything is possible" (too similar to Adidas' "Impossible is nothing”), meant changing part of its brand identity. The new tagline “Make the change” shifted the brand’s target group from a general youth target to the more specific “post-90s generation” in China, which in mainstream media has been often times negatively portrayed. Obviously, this may lead domestic consumers to abandon the brand and choose less controversial competitors.
All in all, taglines often grasp the essence of a brand and play an important role in building brand equity. If a brand is the packaging of multiple concepts, then a tagline can be understood as the ribbon that ties the package and provides the final decorative touch.
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