Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Branding With Your Tagline

Taglines. Many of you know what they are, but some may not have a clue. Here is a definition from Wikipedia:

tagline is a variant of a branding slogan typically used in marketing materials and advertising. The idea behind the concept is to create a memorable phrase that will sum up the tone and premise of a brand or product (like a film), or to reinforce the audience's memory of a product.

You know know a good tagline when you see/hear it. How about these:

"Just do it." ...Nike
"Takes a licking and keeps on ticking."...Timex
"Melts in your mouth, not in your hands."  ... M&Ms
"Reach out and touch someone." ...AT&T
"Snap, Crackle, Pop."...Rice Crispies
"Finger Lickin' Good."....Kentucky Fried Chicken

Taglines are your branding slogan. They are what makes you memorable. A tagline must include your mission and it must give the readers a taste of what you have to offer. It must also encompass the essence of YOU. 

Make is short and make it catchy. Shorter is easier to remember. Use clever puns. Use play on words. Make it memorable! 

I've been thinking of what I'd like my tagline to be. Here is a few of my ideas. What do you like best?
  • Faith, Fun, and Forever Love
  • Romance Full of Faith and Fun
  • Real Faith & Sigh-Worthy Love
  • Romance for the Hopeful Soul
Personally, I like the first one best. It shows my mission, to provide faith filled stories with humor and fun. And is shows that I write romance...the forever love. I think it also shows a bit of me...I love to laugh and have fun, and I love God with all my heart. It's also a little more catchy than the others. Of course, it is very similar to Kaye Dacus's so I probably should keep on trying to find something a little more of my own.

I browsed through writer and author sites and found some wonderful taglines:
I could have searched all night and found more wonderful taglines, but alas, I didn't have the time. I did search some of the New York Times Best Seller List and I discovered something interesting. None of the authors there have taglines listed on their sites. I suppose if you make it that big you don't NEED a tagline...your name IS the tagline. 

This brings up a question that I hope you will help me answer. Do all writers need a tagline? At what point do you need a tagline? Is it when you are submitting and putting your work out there? Is it when you are contracted and starting to market yourself? Or can you have a tagline just because you want one? What are your thoughts?



Diane said...

I use "That's What I'm Here For" because I hope that my blog and stories are relatable and make others feel better in their circumstances. :O)

Beth K. Vogt said...

Interesting about the NYT bestseller list. I didn't think you outgrew a tagline.
One of my favorite taglines is Brandilyn Collin's: Seatbelt Suspense: Don't Forget to Breathe.
And one thing I'm realizing: A nonfiction tagline doesn't necessarily transfer over to the fiction world.

Jeanette Levellie said...

I like the first one, too. It fits you.

I think you can have a tag line because you want it, and it helps define your path in your own mind. It also helps others know what you write and what you are about.

Mine is Nutty with a Dash of Meat.

Great post, Sherrinda! You made me think, and that's always good.


Pepper said...

Good mornin', Sherrinda.
Great post. And I like the first or last one of the taglines you listed.
Like I've told you, it took me a year (maybe longer) to really GET my tagline. My first one was "Faith and Fiction on Fire" - but then I thought it didn't quite fit, because I didn't just write drama, but a lot of humor :-)
I've played around a little more with my tagline and thought about 'spicing' it up a bit more. Like:
"Well-seasoned stories of hope and healing, peppered with grace and a dash of humor." LOL - but that might be taking the 'spice' motif a bit too far ;-)

Ralene said...

Fun post, Sherrinda. I have recently started using "Faith Without Limits" as my tagline, but I think I may be adding something to it to show more of the supernatural suspense that I write. *shrugs*

I like the first one as well. If you wanted it to differ from Kaye Dacus' a little more, maybe you could just slightly alter it to something like: Faith-filled Fun & Forever Love. It takes the list down to two items, but keeps the "fun" of alliteration.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Diane, I love it. It shows your giving spirit!

Beth, now I didn't even think about needing a tagline to encompass non-fiction and fiction! What a challenge that would be. Have you looking into other authors who write both? I wouldn't even know how to go about finding those who do!!!

Jeanette, thanks, my friend. And I LOVE yours...it suits you too!!!! You are always so much fun, but have so much to offer! It's perfect!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Pepper, I liked your first one, but your second one is brilliant! I love how you play off your name...which is cool in itself, but when you put it in your tagline, well, it is brilliant!

Ralene! Faith Without Limits is great...and it does "hint" at the "out of the box" writing. What exactly do you write? Both Pepper and I are starting to write paranormal...Pepper is writing a vampire book and mine has a bit of magic (not witches) in it. I'd love to know what you are writing.

Pepper said...

Oooh, Sherrinda -
What about
Sherrinda Ketchersid
Stories that stir the heart and tickled the funny bone

LOL - okay, sorry - I'm supposed to be working

Jannalou said...

I haven't thought about a tag line for my fiction. I have one for my editing service (Making your words make sense!) but that definitely won't carry over into the fiction world!

Dangit, now I'm going to have to think about this and figure out what will work best, based on the types of stories I write (which are many and varied). How annoying. ;)

Casey said...

I really do like your first one Sherrinda. It does encapsolate you. Do we really need a tagline? What do our readers think when they hear about us? Our name or tagline? I personally like them, it sums them up, and I like mine- for now, but wonder just how necessary it is. Maybe it is more for the publisher/ agent to know where you fit into the market. That would make sense.

Anywho, great post I really liked it. :)

Kaye Dacus said...

Chip MacGregor talks a lot about branding with his clients as well as at writers conferences, and when I took his branding class in 2008 as a contracted but not yet published author, I learned something very interesting . . .

It doesn't matter what title you give yourself before you're published---Queen of Amish Vampire Fiction, The Best Dang Writer of Christian Murder Mysteries---you won't really know what your brand is until after you're published. The reason: it's your readers who decide what your brand is (and the marketing department at your publishing house in which direction they choose to market you).

I discussed at length how I finally came up with my tagline---Humor, Hope, and Happily Ever Afters---in this blog post: http://kayedacus.com/2010/04/19/business-cards/

The long and the short of it is this: until I read a number of reviews of my work from people who didn't know me and hadn't read my stuff before I was published, I didn't know how it would be received or what threads (other than romance, of course) readers would pick up from reading several of them.

So don't take time away from your writing to try to come up with a tagline. As an unpublished author, it's more important to be able to tell a prospective publisher or agent what genre you write and to have finished, polished manuscripts for them to look at.

You can read more about branding on Chip's blog, here: http://chipmacgregor.typepad.com/main/2010/02/what-is-a-brand.html

Julia M. Reffner said...

Hmmm...something to think about. I like the first one, I guess I can be attracted to alliteration. I don't have one yet, but you're making me think about it. I like Mary Connealy & Camy Tang's the best because they are quite specific and I think a more specific tagline might brand us as more unique and is easier to connect with a specific individual. Just my thoughts.

Jill said...

At the risk of being redundant, I too like the first one. And it leaves me wondering what kind of tag line I would give myself. And that's in addition to White Platonic Dream's blog, in which she thought we should brand ourselves with a scent. Wow, how I stink at all this!

Ralene said...

Well, I don't really know how I would classify my latest novel (first in a series). The series has a little bit of God-given magic, sword-weilding angels, 21st century demons, and giant nephilim...combine and conquer for the next best-seller. hahaha...

Jan Marie said...

Great post! A couple of taglines that I really like are:

Lisa Lickel's: ’What if’ stories with a twist of grace - and

Janice Thompson's: Bringing you love, laughter, and happily ever afters.

Both of these give you a really good feel for the author in just a few short, catchy words.

As for yours, I agree with the others that the first one is best - I am a huge fan of using alliteration because I think it registers and stays in the mind better.

Now I just have to come up with one of my own!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Pep, you are too funny! Neglecting your work, are you? Actually, that tagline is pretty good! Now, quit playing around and get back to teaching...or talking...or whatever it is that you do! :)

Jannalou, if you write in various genre's then it might be harder to create a tagline. Check out the site's Kaye listed in her comment. It is good stuff to check out.

Casey, I like the thought that it is the publisher who needs the tagline. Certainly, they need it to help "brand" you. Good point!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Kaye, I should have had you write this post! Thank you for pointing us to your post on how you came up with your tagline, as well as Chip McGregor's post on branding. Both were excellent!

I am coming to the opinion that we don't really need one until we are submitting. And I do like some of the tags that can encompass different genres...that way you are tied into any one category. Of course, I realize publishers like authors to write in one genre until they are established, but there are those who do both...LIKE YOU!!!!! It can be done...if you are really good at what you do.

Thanks for your great thoughts, Kaye!

Jan Cline said...

I think that having a tag line keeps you focused on your vision for your writing/speaking future. Im not sure mine is right, but it's what I have for now..."What's Your Dream?"

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Julia, yes, Mary and Camy's are great in that they are specific in their focus. I think that is probably best if you know your niche and stay in it.

Jill, we should brand ourselves with a scent? I wonder what that means? Can you explain it? ;)

Ralene, that sounds wonderful!!! How exciting to write the adventurous type of book! My own has sword fighting and tournaments, so I love a good adventure. :)

Jan, oooo, both Lisa and Janice's are good! Like you, I really like the short ones with alliteration. It really stinks in my brain...and anything that sticks there is a good thing! lol

Tana said...

I really wish I could think of a tag line that describes my writing. I like the first and the last! Now I'm going to spend the rest of the day trying to think up one of my own. As if I didn't have anything else to do.. :)

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

T. Anne, you are so creative in your tweets, I'm sure you can come up with something fun. :)

Linda Kage said...

Wow, you found some amazing taglines. I write taglines for my book, but I've never written one for me...hmm. Might need to do that.

I like the first and third tagline you wrote best, but they're all really good.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Linda, you should have one! I bet you can come up with something snazzy. ;)

Jamie D. said...

I never needed one until I started getting ready to publish my first book. Then I needed something short and to the point for promotional materials that would tell people what to expect from my work (since I don't really have the option to include an excerpt on, say, a business card). So really, the tagline was only born when I really started marketing seriously.

Mine is "Scintillating adventure, sizzling romance," which sums up my work nicely without boxing me in too much.

But until you're ready to start selling, I don't think it's really necessary. Even with a tagline, your name is still your main brand, IMO.

Jannalou said...

@Sherrinda, it could be hard to come up with a tagline, yes, but I don't think it's impossible, even with multiple genres. Or I could have one for each genre that ties in some way with the other taglines. Hm. That's an idea...!