Taglines have long been the cornerstone of good branding. A bad tagline is like a bad pickup line. Lately, I kind of wonder what you’re all smoking. 🙄
I have 4 daughters, and I know good and well, before settling on a name, I went through hours of any way these names could be used against them.
Why, then, when in a branding exercise, do some destinations and communities settle on the ridiculous?
Here are 5 sh*tty taglines, though we won’t name names. But, hey, call me – I’m a good brand therapist. 😉
- Welcome home.
- What in the living blue hell is wrong with you? You are marketing to travelers. Operative word being travel. If I wanted to be home, I’d just do that. This one tops my list as the most insane decision. I can picture the room and that conversation. “Everyone feels so comfortable here and they identify themselves with our city.” Ok, fair enough. But, let’s poke that box a little, shall we? “Find yourself”, “Let X city introduce you to the real you” and “Meet the you you’ve dreamed of.” are all better than, “welcome home” for travel. “Welcome home” as in, I can walk around in my underwear?
- Like no where else.
- Another turd of a line. First, if you have roads, trees, sky and people – that gauntlet thrower holds no water. Second, how is this a selling point?!? Hell is like nowhere else, but you can save my invitation.
- Uniquely (insert destination name)
- This one, which is RAMPANT, pushes my bore button almost as hard as it pushes my lazy button. Some branding agency, who could not find anything redeemable about your place, decided to sell you “unique” for a good 6 figures for 6 minutes. Unique is what you call the weird kid, the smelly band geek, the person who’s personality is so alarming. But, “bless their hearts, they are “unique””. If your city sucks, fix it. A truly good partner in marketing won’t tell you otherwise and take your money.
- Simply (insert destination name)
- Simply is slightly better than uniquely, but still a pile of day-old pizza. Simply does a better job than the former, as it conjures natural assets. But, I can throw a dart at a map of the US and hit the “simply” tag line 100 times. It lacks being “unique”.:-P
- Visit (x)
- Another lazy one, and by far my most loathed. About a decade and a half ago, we finally figured out that no visitor on the planet knew what a CVB was. A whole damn slew decided to change their official names and “Visit XYZ” blew up. Like, really blew up. Like “Jennifer” in 1974, (thanks Mom) blew up. So, this is fine if that’s what you have as your official name, but some of the violators have gone further – they dropped a tagline all together. As if, merely pulling an Ike Turner, and demanding they visit, will make them comply. It’s lazy, it’s demanding and it’s getting no brownie points. Why am I visiting, what am I going to do when I get there, why do I have to visit? I have questions.
I realize that some of you DMO leaders were saddled with a tagline approved by a committee. Because, we all know committees make the most creative decisions. 🙄 At least use your campaigns to emotionally connect with your audience. I visited a website of one of the “Welcome Home” violators, and as I was browsing the web for other things later in the day (most likely, “My kid swallowed a dime, what to do”), up served were remarketing banners from said city. First, a big kudos for working the pixel. My delight changed to anguish as I read the ad. The ad did not ask me if I’d like to pick up where I left off choosing attractions. It did not give me an incentive to return. You know what it did? Repeated the tagline and generic city shot. XYZ City. Welcome Home. Cheese and rice on a cracker! How is this enticing, why would someone re-visit or finish planning a trip?
I am self-aware that my latest bits are getting preachy and maybe even a little aggressive. For that, I apologize. But, I will not apologize for the truth encased in them. It’s the first step to change. It’s the one who challenges you that will make you better. Be better, demand more of yourself and your community. Really test how that tagline plays for your brand, and make sure to compare it to others using the same.
Today, it is not your brand, it is not my brand.
It’s our brand, yours and mine.
The users, the visitors, the tweeters and the grammers. The brand belongs to us. Let’s talk about it.