The Art Of The Tagline (+ its blood-cousin, the haiku)

At our creative copywriting agency, Irene and I are the word architects (No, really. That’s our tagline: the word architects. It took some quality time to come to, and we kinda dig it.). Not only is it our JOB to create bomb-ass taglines for incredible companies we believe in, we also LOVE doing it. And, as we’ve already mentioned and will continue to do so, we’re poets. This means we believe in the art of the tagline AND we write the occasional haiku or two… hundred. 

Whether through tagline or song or by way of haiku, connecting with an audience through just a few words—words that stick to the identity of who someone is or who someone wants to be—can be a beautiful thing. Here are (a few) reasons why: 

  1. Someone actually feels something (a connection). Hoorah. 
  2. You cultivate non-fear based brand loyalty (more on that in a future post).
  3. Community growth happens organically.
  4. Hopefully, fingers crossed… the connection creates an opportunity for a person or a people to find (further) meaningful connection and then shift the way they think or feel about something. Whether that something is shoes, the meaning of life, or their cat.  
  5. To spin off of #4—someone can experience self-affirmation or challenge through your words, in a good way (which hopefully prompts them to examine, explore, and inquire).

There are a lot of reasons why taking the time to choose your words is important. Let’s veer to the left a little, though, and go to the self-professed tagline guru, Eric Swartz. Eric has a lot of good (and true) things to say about the art of the tagline (He's created an ENTIRE site dedicated to the tagline. That’s dope.) To borrow from Swartz: 

The successful tagline is one which communicates brand affinity—an ability to find common ground, stretch expectations, and appeal to basic needs for comfort, safety, assurance, excitement, love, acceptance, or, ultimately, self-actualization.

On his Tagline Guru site, the following excerpt from Swartz sits directly under the sub-heading The Haiku of Branding. Generally speaking, haikus are the bomb. They’ve been around for ages, they get straight to the point in emotive, connective, textural ways. They also usually speak volumes through minimal word count. Back to you, Swartz:

When conceived and crafted persuasively, a tagline can become an enduring symbol—elevating your brand message from the mundane to the memorable. Its task, though, is daunting: to distill the meaning of a corporate vision, competitive position, brand promise, product benefit, or customer experience into as few words as possible—less than seven or eight, optimally speaking.

Huh. So what you’re saying is that haiku is blood-cousin to the tagline? That’s what I thought, glad we’re on the same page. 

While the traditional 5-7-5 (or any other haiku form) is not necessarily employed for the creation of a tagline itself, the act of ultimate distillation is. And here, in the world of branding and content strategy and messaging and product persona, it’s the getting to the heart of something—distilling it to its most essential qualities—that’s important. It’s also what works

When you put effort into crafting the best taglines ever (or when you pay the natural born + bred tagliners to write one for you), the time or the $$$ spent is always #WorthIt. Based on the mileage alone (think about how much use Nike’s Just Do It gets—it’s nonstop), a bombshell of a tagline should be one of your biggest investments. 

So, let’s raise a glass of fizzy water with lemon—to taglines, to haiku, and to words chosen with intention. Want to learn more about carefully chosen words? Bottoms up to that and let’s connect (wink).