Part 4 of Build an Awesome Brand Month. See all other articles here: Build an Awesome Brand
By Jim Morris
A brand only exists to the extent that it exists in the minds of others as a bundle of impressions, associations and predispositions. And within the mind, a brand exists along three continua: duration, intensity of emotion and positivity/negativity of emotion. These are all variables related to the lifespan of a brand, and every brand has some ability to control these variables, and thus control its lifespan.
At this point, brand immortality is still a theoretical concept, because brands per se haven’t really been around long enough to test the concept’s validity. Nevertheless, positing brand immortality as a goal, albeit a perhaps unattainable, idealized goal, seems like a useful thing to do. It is helpful in thinking about how to ensure your brand’s longevity.
If your brand represents a product or service that meets a genuine need or desire, I’d call that a necessary but not sufficient condition for achieving or even aspiring to brand immortality. Beyond that, there are any number of factors that contribute to or diminish a brand’s strength and longevity, i.e., the quality and value of the product or service, the quality of customer service, how effectively public relations are managed, the power of the marketing and advertising, etc.
One variable within the marketing/advertising arena that is often undervalued when assessing contributions to a brand’s longevity is the tagline. Obviously, absent the other factors mentioned above, a tagline can have little or no impact on longevity. But, given a healthy brand, a good tagline does a remarkable amount of work in contributing to both the duration and positive emotion connected to that brand. Just consider how long a handful of words can, by itself, keep a brand alive in our minds. There are brands that no longer exist, yet their taglines live on. Jays Potato Chips. Can’t stop eatin’ em. This is not your father’s Oldsmobile. Sugar Pops are Tops. Zenith. The Quality Goes In Before The Name Goes On. And on and on.
When mentioning many brands, the first thing that pops into your mind is, yes, the tagline. Fill in the tagline:
Bounty paper towels. The _____ _____ _____.
GE. We ____ ___ ____ __ ___.
There’s _____ ____ ___ Jell-O.
Morton Salt. ____ __ _____, __ ____.
____ _ ____ ______, State Farm __ ____.
We could do this all day. What other factor, variable, component or element of a brand has that kind of focused, persistent staying power?
The fact is, if a brand can ever be deemed immortal, the chances are that what will be immortal about it is just one thing. The tagline.
Jim Morris is a tagline specialist. You can find him on the web at TaglineJim.com
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