There are that handful of words that appear underneath a logo. They’re often called a brand tagline — which I contend is a terribly inadequate name. After all, these few words sum up who we are. They should be incredibly well thought through. And meticulously crafted to capture our essence. Not something that is tagged on. Too often, that’s what happens. And these expressions end up being an afterthought. Innocuous words that describe who we are or what we do. A squandered opportunity.
This should be where a rallying cry takes shape. The crucial realm where a brilliant thought captures the imagination and aspirations of those we hope to serve.
Trading a brand tagline for a rallying cry
There are the usual suspects when it comes to illustrating what a rallying cry can do. Nike told us to Just Do It. Apple to told us to Think Different. Both tap into our imagination and aspirations. One helps us believe we could reach a new personal best. The other has us embracing a fierce individualism. Most importantly, each is specific to the organization that owns the rallying cry. Nike’s shoes and equipment become the conduit to reaching the aspiration. Ditto for Apple’s equipment and software.
Most of all, they are far from timid. They don’t offer nice platitudes. They are emotional and inspiring. They are mic drops.
We could protest, “They’re Nike and Apple. It’s easy for them.”
Before we choose to hide behind that excuse, let’s go look at all the athletic shoe and computer manufacturers out there. Look at the forgettable statements loitering below their logo. What’s keeping them from capturing our imagination?
Here is the secret. Those companies have to realize they are not in the footwear or computer business. They’re in the human potential business. That’s what Nike and Apple understood.
Do you want to get to that elite state? Think about the business you’re in. Then think about those you hope to serve. Now rather than telling me what you do, tell me what you enable. Make it inspiring. Make it aspirational.
Make it a mic drop.
Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the forthcoming book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail — a brand innovation company, helping organizations find their unique, undeniable and unshakable sense of purpose and create innovative experiences that bring it to life.