A brand name and tagline are among the most critical marketing mix elements for any small business, including franchises. They can go a long way to making up for a small budget, and they work forever once you get them right.

Finding the right tagline

Most of the time, the name is already set, but there is either no tagline or the old tagline simply isn't working as hard as it could, so the search for a new one begins in earnest.

What a smart marketer quickly realizes is that "cute and catchy" taglines are useless.

What you need is a tagline that, in conjunction with the name, tells your target audience what you do, what unique and important benefit you deliver, and how you're different from, and better than, competition. 

That big idea is what customers will remember.

Forget "cute and catchy."

The dynamic duo

The dynamic duo - name and tagline - are really just an expression of the Positioning Statement, and most small businesses don't have a Positioning Statement either.

What they need is a clear and direct statement of the core benefit they provide for their customers, and the basis for that promise (often called the "reason-why"). 

There is a set of seven positioning principles that have proven effective over time, and they serve as a kind of checklist for positioning projects.

These seven positioning principles can then be extended into 3 levels, or hierarchies of benefits for the target audience. The whole positioning process provides a strong and valuable foundation for not only the name/tagline, but for the entire marketing effort. It's remarkably practical that way. 

Positioning for small business

Small business owners who have been through the positioning process always remark that they don't understand why they waited so long to think through their core positioning benefit ... or why they didn't question their tagline sooner. We have a tagline positioning checklist too!

This gives us even more confidence that we can do for you what we've done for them. Just let us know when you're ready, and we'll help you come up with a tagline that will promote your business every time someone sees - or even thinks about - your company name.

Michael Goodman is a senior marketing and management consultant with experience that spans the spectrum from micro-businesses and start-ups to the Fortune 25. He learned marketing at corporate giants Procter & Gamble, Frito-Lay and Playtex.

He has consulted with clients in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer; local, regional, national and international markets; and industries ranging from industrial chemicals and consumer packaged goods to financial services and healthcare.

Michael can be reached by email: [email protected]



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