In Taglines

A la Nick Usborne (in his classic book Net Words) we use the term “velocity” to describe the power of taglines.  What’s a tagline you say?  Some call it a slogan, some call it a memory hook, some call it a motto … think “Just do it”.

Velocity, in this case, is a combination of two attributes;  MORE information and emotion and LESS words and letters.  The farther you take each of these attributes, the more velocity you get.  So, let’s look at “Just do it”.  There’s a huge amount of emotional energy and meaning behind just 3 words and 8 letters.  WOW!  From a velocity perspective, this could be the best tagline on the planet.  No wonder that when you bring up the topic, most people will use this as the example that first pops into their mind.  Coincidence … I don’t think so.

BUT, if we’re going for short, what about one word taglines?  Some examples:

  • Hewlett Packard: Invent
  • Honda: Thinking
  • United Airlines: Rising
  • Hertz Rental Cars: Exactly

Let’s Compare Honda’s “Thinking” with Apple’s “Think Different”.  There’s something about the combination of two or three words that adds nuance and extra meaning.  It’s the juxtaposition of those two special words that adds one of the key elements to the velocity of the tagline … information.  Don’t get me wrong, if you’re going to go short for the sake of making things easy to remember then using a single word works.  It’s just not  fast enough for my liking.

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