Using Taglines to Build Stronger Brands - Part 4

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Posted Mar 19, 2012
Susan Gunelius

Conducting Brand Tagline Research

As you learned previously in the Using Taglines to Build Stronger Brands series, taglines must be meaningful to consumers or they're useless. Follow the links to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the series if you missed them. Now, it's time to learn about the consumer research you should conduct in order to develop the best brand tagline.

brand taglines

In Part 2 of this series, you learned about the steps you should take to come up with a list of potential brand taglines. Once you have this list, it's not up to you alone to choose the best one. Your customers and the broader consumer population of potential customers should make that decision with your strategic guidance.What does that mean? In simplest terms, you need to present your various brand taglines to consumers so they can provide their thoughts, feelings, and reactions to those taglines. The tagline you think is amazing might be useless to them, and the tagline that you think is so clever no one will ever forget it might not communicate anything of value to consumers.

Remember, consumers build brands, not companies. Therefore, consumers should play a significant role in developing your brand tagline. That's where research comes into the picture.You should survey both your existing customers (if yours is not a new brand) and potential customers to test your taglines and gather feedback. Ask respondents to rank taglines and to explain what messages are most important to them. You need to discern which specific differentiating message is apt to strike a chord with your target audience. You can't please everyone, and if you try to please everyone through your tagline, you'll end up with a watered-down, generic message.

Be sure to ask survey participants to provide their own descriptive words and phrases to describe the important things that your brand offers to them. You might get great new ideas that are even better than what you originally came up with!

Of course, it's also important to ask consumers to rank your taglines based on believability and in comparison to competitor taglines. It's important to determine whether consumers believe your tagline is yours alone or if it could belong to any other company in your industry. You need to create a tagline that you can truly own.

And don't forget to ask them to share what each tagline option means to them. You might be surprised by the interpretations of your potential taglines. A message that you think is clear and simple might not be interpreted by consumers in the way you expect it to be.

Be sure to present the tagline in ad mockups and show survey participants the ads to get their reactions. Opinions might change when consumers see the tagline alone versus when they see it in a real-world situation such as an ad concept.

Most importantly, make sure survey respondents are required to articulate what they like or don't like about each tagline option. Simply recording whether or not they like a tagline doesn't give you the information you need to develop the best possible tagline. Use both closed-ended and open-ended questions to pull the information from them. Help the process along by using side-by-side comparison and preference questions.

choose one

For example, show two tagline options and ask the consumer to pick the one he or she prefers. Ask him or her why that choice was made, and then show two more side-by-side tagline options. Continue the process until one tagline is left and ask what the respondent likes and doesn't like about that tagline. This is a great way to gather information about opinions that the respondent can't easily articulate himself.

After you conduct your consumer research, it's very possible that you'll need to go back to the drawing board, create new tagline options, and test them through additional research. In fact, it happens more frequently than you might think. The important thing is that you end up with the best tagline, because it will be a valuable piece of brand equity for many years to come.

If you missed previous parts of the Using Taglines to Build Stronger Brands series, follow the links below to read them now:

Images: kristja, Gary Mcinnes

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