Thoughts on Brand Claims and Taglines.


One of the things I learned as a young-un working at ad agencies was that it was poor form for an account person (project manager/business manager) to offer up creative ideas to creatives. Agencies, have evolved to be somewhat more inclusive these days, but I’m sure it’s still a thing. Anyway, at my brand strategy practice, whenever I present a brand claim to a client, I go out of my way to explain the claim is not a tagline or a piece of creative. It’s just the main, operative strategy statement.

Yesterday, while hiking, I was thinking about some of my past brand strategy claims – claim being only one quarter of the brand strategy — proofs planks being the other three quarters.  And while looking for snakes and cogitating over past claims I realized something:  The claim is very much the brand strategy while the tagline or creative is the result (or output) of the claim.

For instance, North Shore-LIJ Health System’s (now Northwell Health) claim was “A systematized approach to improving health.” The result of that claim or tagline was “Setting New Standards in Health Care.”  For web startup Zude, the claim was “The fastest, easiest was to build a website.”  The results was tagline “Feel Free.”

The creative people (Fergus O’Daly, Pat Peduto, etc.) have been right all along. Taking something prosaic and delivering it with humanity and emotion is the smartest approach.  That said, campaigns (and taglines) come and go, a powerful brand idea is indelible.