Ideally companies are driven by a single mission, to be expressed in a single tagline. But life is not always ideal and a situation may come about where you have multiple missions, each one begging to be expressed. What do you do?
Essentially there are four choices. You can:
- Choose one of the missions and elevate it to “most important status,” expressing only that in your tagline
- Choose two or even three of the missions and express them all in the tagline
- Go higher-level than all of the missions and express a vision
- None of the above—just say something memorable
Strategy #3 seems to be the most popular if you look at the “top 10” taglines described at http://sbinformation.about.com/b/a/257130.htm (quoted below; my interpretation after the dashes)
“1. Got milk? (1993) California Milk Processor Board – very direct and product oriented; no vision here
2. Don’t leave home without it. (1975) American Express – vision-oriented; the idea of being “indispensable”
3. Just do it. (1988) Nike – vision-oriented
4. Where’s the beef? (1984) Wendy’s – just memorable
5. You’re in good hands with Allstate. (1956) Allstate Insurance –vision-oriented
6. Think different. (1998) Apple Computer –vision-oriented
7. We try harder. (1962) Avis –vision-oriented
8. Tastes great, less filling. (1974) Miller Lite –mission-oriented
9. Melts in your mouth, not in your hands. (1954) M&M Candies –mission-oriented
10. Takes a licking and keeps on ticking. (1956) Timex” – mission-oriented
I myself prefer a more literal tagline, one that sounds almost like a mission statement, if only because a company name rarely describes what it does, and it’s a crowded market: you have about two seconds to make it clear what value you contribute, and your name probably doesn't signify what you do. (Not everybody can be a superbrand and go abstract.) But I can see where option #3 works – it has a unifying quality that brings out a higher-level purpose to all the diverse things the company does.
Bottom line: If you’re stuck for a tagline, go higher. But try to keep it memorable AND distinctly related to the product or service.