When it comes to brand development, I am often asked what the difference is between a brand's tagline and a slogan. Are they the same thing? Are they different? Do they work together? Sometimes, yes, maybe – the answers to these questions can be somewhat confusing… especially for the small business owner. However, understanding these nuances will make all the difference in building your brand and promoting it effectively.
What is a tagline?
A tagline is a short (usually 7 words or less) and powerful phrase that is associated with your brand. It encompasses your brand's values, mission and identity that is used to reinforce the brand and differentiate it from the competition. It lives with the brand's logo and should be visible in all marketing efforts. The only time it would change is when and if you choose to redefine your brand. Your tagline should be memorable and instantly recognizable.
One of the most iconic taglines in the history of branding is Nike's "Just Do It"… which started out as a campaign slogan in 1988 (more on that later…). Other significant examples are Subway's "Eat Fresh" and Apple's "Think Different."
|All logos/taglines are registered trademarks of their respective brands.|
So what is a slogan?
A slogan is similar to a tagline in that it's a short catchy phrase. How it differs is that it is used to represent and promote a specific product/service of the brand. Slogans have a shorter "shelf-life", meaning they are more temporary – depending on the length of the campaign.
Apple recently (2014) used a great slogan to promote it's iPad products: "What will your verse be?"
Nike produced a moving, emotional advertising campaign, "Find Your Greatness," to inspire people's personal achievements – this one focusing on Nike+Running – that launched during the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
When using slogans and taglines, slogans are generally woven throughout a campaign (print, radio, tv, web) to support the product being promoted via graphics, voice-over, jingles, music, etc., depending on the media. Taglines come into play briefly at the end of the campaign in conjunction with the brand's logo.
Since 2008, Subway has had a successful series of the "$5 Footlong" promotions and is a good example of how slogans and taglines are used together in a campaign.
Can a tagline and slogan be one in the same?
This is where the confusion comes in. Short answer – yes, sometimes they can. Case in point – Nike "Just Do It" started out as a campaign slogan in 1988 to promote their products (shoes & apparel). The slogan was so successful that it quickly evolved into one the the core components of Nike's brand and has become one of the most iconic taglines in history.