The Chinese have been credited with the creation of many important inventions: paper, acupuncture, the Open-spandrel segmental arch bridge (fully stone). It is thought that the Chinese also generated the world’s first tagline when they promoted their newly finished wall as “The Great Wall: Protecting the Chinese Empire or its prototypical states against intrusions by various nomadic groups or military incursions by various warlike peoples or forces since the 7th century BC.” Not quite as pithy as “Behold the power of cheese” but it was a seminal influence on Calvin Klein’s famous “Between love and madness lies obsession” tagline.
What is a Tagline?
Merriam-Webster defines a tagline thusly: “a memorable phrase or sentence that is closely associated with a particular person, product, movie, etc.” Wikipedia expands upon this by noting that it is a “means of drawing attention to one distinctive feature (an aspect of a product). The purpose is to emphasize a phrase that an entity wishes to be remembered by; Particularly, for marketing a specific corporate image; Or, connection to a business product or consumer base.”
What Does a Tagline Have to do With Your Intranet?
Is it obvious to your staff and employees what your intranet is and does? If it is not, there is not much chance employees will actually use it. After all, if they are not really sure how the intranet can help them, why bother? An intranet site tagline can be the hook that leads to the creation of that most mythical of beasts: the engaged employee.
As a follow up to my last blog, here are some “do’s” and “don’ts” to consider when creating your intranet site tagline.
You need ideas – good ideas. Where do they come from? Some are chemically-induced while others seem to come from those large lightbulbs mysteriously floating above some peoples’ heads.
For many people the creative process is like turning on the water in the morning; first there is the brown dirty sludge, then the murky cold water and finally the nice, clean, hot water you wanted from the start. The point is, you have to go through some crap to get to the good stuff. The first thing out of the brain tap is not likely to be gold – or hot water for that matter. Even if you do happen to like it, there is a good chance it is because you heard it somewhere else before and are copying – another “don’t” which I shall address momentarily.
You need to do a full brain bump – get your ideas out on paper. Then get more ideas. And some more.
Of course if that sounds like too much work, you can always run a “Create an Intranet Site Tagline” contest on your intranet, much like an “Intranet Naming Contest”. It may save you some work and engage your colleagues at the same time. Birds. Stone. BLAMMO!
Don’t: Be Cliché
While people may understand certain words and phrases due to popular use, it does not necessarily make them meaningful. Overused words become ineffective words. By using cliches you are telling employees that you lack originality. You might feel like you are “thinking outside the box” but really you should go “back to the drawingboard”.
Don’t: Be Boring
Many taglines are bland and boring. While the tagline may not offend anyone, it is also not likely to excite or even interest anyone either. At one point Denny’s slogan was “A Good Place to Sit and Eat”. You probably don’t remember because neither did I. That is because it is not memorable. Make your intranet site tagline memorable.
Don’t: Be too Literal
This has plagued tagline writers since the very first tagline which I mentioned above. Great taglines often make use of double or unexpected meanings to grab attention. One of our customers, who is in automotive sales, used “information comes standard” as a tagline for their intranet. It bears a nod to Chrysler, which they sell, so it works.
Although imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery, you don’t want to play “so whose (tag)line is it anyway?” Your intranet site tagline should be unique to your company. Even though your tagline will be used internally, it is not a great idea to take a slogan that belongs to someone else. Unless you are running the intranet for the Magic Kingdom, you may not want to call yours the “Happiest Place on Earth”.
Once you have your sparkling new tagline, try Googling it and see what comes up. You may be surprised to find that you aren’t quite as unique as you thought. Remember, “there is nothing new under the sun” (- God, Ecclesiastes 1:9).
Do: Be True to Your Organization
Does your intranet site tagline reflect your corporate culture? Does it express something unique to your organization? One of our healthcare customers used the intranet site tagline, “sharing, caring and connecting”, which works well in healthcare, but may not work well for a professional wrestling company. Your employees should get a sense of what the company values are just by reading your intranet site tagline.
Do: Test your Intranet Site Tagline
Ask a selection of colleagues for feedback on your tagline. Do they like it? Does it move them? Can they improve on it? Is it memorable? Does it even make sense?
Your employees are the ones using your intranet so the tagline should be something geared towards them. Getting their feedback ensures that the answer to all the above questions is “yes”. Feedback can, of course, be a double-edged sword. I generally ask my wife what she thinks. I refer to her as “Joe Public” because if she gets it, pretty much anyone will. She isn’t terribly fond of being called “Joe” but that’s what she gets for marrying me.
How Effective can a Good Intranet Site Tagline Be?
Many big organizations can be recognized solely through their tagline. See how many organizations you can name from the taglines below. The first one to respond in the comments section with all the correct answers will be awarded a special prize – my undying respect and admiration.
- There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else there’s __________
- Don’t leave home without it.
- Where’s the beef?
- Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.
- Finger-lickin’ good!
- Let your fingers do the walking.
- What can Brown do for you?
- That was easy.
- Eat Fresh.
- What happens here, stays here.
- Betcha can’t eat just one.
- It Gives You Wings.