Tag(line)! You’re It!
Here’s a hypothetical illustration. Let’s say your organization is the Main Street Homeless Shelter. You don’t want a tagline that says something like “Helping The Homeless.” Your name already communicates that fact.
A better approach would be a tagline that says something like “Renewing Hope. Rebuilding Lives.” Or perhaps your shelter’s mission is to provide a range of services beyond a meal and a bed, which would be important for potential supporters to know. In that case, a tagline such as, “Housing. Counseling. Community Support” would be a much stronger messaging element.
If, on the other hand, the name of your organization doesn’t allow people to quickly comprehend who you are or what you do, then apart from changing your name, a good tagline can do the heavy lifting.
One of our clients recently posed this challenge. For legal reasons, a name change was not possible for Lutheran Association of Missionaries and Pilots U.S. As you can see, the name doesn’t reveal much about what it is or what it does.
While “missionaries” does give you a hint, and “pilots” is actually a bit confusing, it’s impossible to know by the name alone that this is a Christian outreach ministry to Native Americans. So the tagline needed to perform the task, which is why we developed “Christ’s Kingdom. Every Native American Nation.”
With this tagline we are able to better define what it is and who it serves as a ministry. And we’re now using it as an integral part of the logo on every piece of communication — from corporate letterhead and business cards to fundraising direct mail, from church posters and print and banner ads, to the new Web site we currently are building.
Much like logos and other physical elements of your brand, taglines also gain equity over time. Once you settle on a tagline, you should plan to keep it indefinitely. It should only change if your mission has changed so much that your tagline no longer accurately reflects your organization.