Is There a Cure for Slogan Envy?

I’d love to have a dollar for every time I have heard a line like, “what we need is a slogan like ‘I Love NY’ or ‘Virginia is for Lovers”. Well, it happened again last week when I received a call from the mayor of a community in Virginia.

So often this type of comment comes from elected officials or government employees who are making their first foray into place branding and are seeking a magic wand to transform the image of their community on a small budget. Slogan envy like this can be an alert that the branding effort may be off the rails before it starts or is underway and entering hazardous territory.

Effective taglines (and logos) are always challenging to craft. But they should never get underway before thorough research, competitor analysis, and outreach to stakeholders. And even then it will have a limited role in building brand awareness and brand equity.

It’s well worth considering whether a tagline or slogan will actually add value at all or whether it will be a distraction. In other words you may be in a better position to not have a tagline and use your brand to focus stakeholders, product development and investment, and get your brand messaging right for specific target audiences. There are severe limitations to what a slogan or tagline can achieve.

And don’t forget, both New York and Virginia had immense advertising, pr programs and in the case of NYC huge celebrity support which enable them to achieve awareness to leverage vast earned media coverage and word of mouth.

A more realistic challenge for communities is to enable customers to know their brand without them having to see a logo or tagline.

Image: Governor Cuomo, New York State

Produced by: Total Destination Marketing

Best Selling Book:  Destination Branding for Small Cities

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