Our thinking Quick reads Build brand equity in a tag line
 
Loud & Clear
May 2022
2 min read

Build brand equity in a tag line

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When the words “Just Do It” were first written down, they meant nothing. Today, they are obviously extremely valuable.

Tag lines like “Just Do It” are nothing more than the entry point to a given company’s story. We are of course borrowing the words made famous by Nike. Today there is immense depth behind this tag line. Year after year, Nike has invested in building supporting story lines, imagery, and aspirations underneath these three simple words.

Building brand equity in language requires three things:

1. The language has to be original

It is critical you avoid any industry rhetoric and/or jargon. There also can’t be any existing association with the phrase or tag. It has to feel and be refreshing. You need to be able to “own” the language – literally. 

2. You have to commit to it – think 50 years out

Value in language builds over time, as more and more people become familiar with it. You can refresh the visual identity around the language and the supporting story lines can evolve, however, the language needs to last. Nike’s “Just Do It!” was first put to work in 1988, and it is still going strong.

3. You need to build supporting storylines under the tag

Again, a tag line is just an entry point to a more involved story. You still need to build this story. A tag line is simply intended to remind people of the deeper story. Like Nike, when you ask someone what “Just Do It!” represents, people can speak quite passionately about what Nike’s intention is with the language. Appreciate that this didn’t happen by accident. If you adequately support language with deeper storylines, overtime the tag is known to represent this more involved story, which is exactly what you are shooting for.

The entire goal of a tag line is to create a shorthand account of something bigger and deeper. If done well, the language itself becomes hugely valuable and this help to further build brand equity.

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