“Just do it.”
“Can you hear me now?”
Sound familiar? And you probably can also envision the logo that goes with each. Those are taglines that have been embedded in our memory, and quite effectively. Ideally, a tagline should become synonymous with the brand — but more importantly, it’s a message that resonates with the core emotion of the brand. Shoes, services, sodas, cars, and — yes — art can all have effective taglines.
5 STEPS FOR DEVELOPING A GREAT TAGLINE
1. KEEP IT SIMPLE
Successful taglines tell the story simply. Your tagline should be six words or fewer.
2. IT NEEDS A REASON TO BE USED
Don’t have a tagline just because it seems like it would be cool — or because successful people use one. It needs to bring meaning to your brand. If it doesn’t, skip it until you land on one that does.
3. MAKE IT CLEAR
No ambiguity here. This is not the place for gimmicks, puns, or anything that confuses. It’s a simple, clear statement. Test it out and if it doesn’t resonate, go back to the drawing board.
4. BENEFITS SELL
No matter the brand or product, buyers love to hear about benefits. So make it part of your tagline if it adds value. With artwork, creating an emotional connection is always a benefit that will get a positive response from collectors.
5. TELL A STORY
A tagline that tells a story — and your story is key to your overall marketing message. If your tagline tells a story, it reinforces your brand and messaging.
GETTING IT DONE
Actually creating the tagline can be difficult or quite easy. Much depends on where you are with your business and marketing already, as well as on your creativity.
1. START WITH YOUR BUSINESS GOALS
Where are you now, where do you want to be? What do you hope your art, your gallery, you, and your business mean to people? What does it inspire in people? Write the answers to these questions down and look at the words you’ve written.
2. WHAT’S THE EMOTIONAL PLAY?
What’s the emotional reaction that you’ve seen people have? Or hope people have? Happiness, joy, excitement, surprise, serenity, wonder, awe, love, pride — and how do you turn those emotions into a key phrase to describe you and the work? Start with a list of words that describe reactions along with key emotions the work evokes. This will give you a good start and it may even be a combination of words from the list that form a perfect tagline.
3. CREATE MULTIPLE, THEN NARROW IT DOWN
If you are clear on who you are, what the work is all about, and how you want people to react and feel, then you are on your way. Here are a few artists’ taglines that tell their story:
- John Scanlan: Windows to the World
- Samir Sammoun: Today’s Monet
- Gebhardt Gallery: Integration of Strength and Beauty
- Kristen Naugle: Poetry in Nature
- Kent Wallis: From Soul to Canvas
- Shima Shanti: Inspired Artworks
4. LOOK AROUND
Think about how this article started — with a few memorable businesses’ taglines. Look around for others that may get your creativity and inspiration flowing. Here are a few more:
- “A diamond is forever” – De Beers
- “The pause that refreshes” – Pepsi
- “Can you hear me now?” – Verizon
- “We bring good things to life” – General Electric
- “Be your way” – Burger King
- “Think different.” – Apple
- “Open happiness” – Coca-Cola
And, by the way, did you know a tagline is not forever? McDonald’s has changed its more than a dozen times over the years. And some businesses, artists, and galleries included decide to just not do it. It’s up to you, but it can be a terrific tool that resonates with your brand and makes the artwork and you memorable.
Linda Mariano is the Editor-in-Chief for Art Business News and Managing Director of Marketing for Redwood Art Group. With a career that spans 30 years, Mariano is a leader in marketing, brand management, e-commerce, and promotion initiatives for major retailers, specialty retail, art industry, licensing partnerships, media, and entertainment, as well as entrepreneurial business environments. For Redwood Art Group, Linda oversees the marketing and brand extension efforts of the company.