Resource for Non-Profit Taglines

 It’s nice when I can do a blog post by simply saying “Ditto” to other people’s great information.

Here’s a free down-loadable report from Nancy Schwartz for non-profits developing marketing taglines for themselves.

Of course, for fresh ideas and less stress, I say you should certainly try But I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little biased….

Great work, Nancy!


Do Ideas Come Quicker with Some Liquor?

 In today’s Ad Age, there’s an article about how the wet bar is making a comeback in the offices of some big-name agencies. <AD AGE ARTICLE> What’s old is new again.

Back in the day when I was the editor in chief of an upstart business-to-business magazine, I had a fantastic publisher who had the cadence of Murphy Brown. When it was time to really wrap our brains around a new marketing approach, the meetings were set for 5:30 PM, her office, “bring empty mug and ice.”

Soon after 5, the halls would begin to clear. And at 5:31, the meeting would start with her announcing that the book is doing great, and “the Skyy is blue!”

This was code for the bright blue bottle of vodka about to come forth from her lower desk drawer.

She poured. We’d sip. And great ideas began to flow.

Perhaps “thinking outside the box” can get some help from “drinking what’s inside the bottle.”

I’m not saying that you should go get all liqueured up before your next session of slinging slogans. But sometimes a little “social lubricant” can help. Sometimes getting juiced helps those creative juices flow.

Now, I don’t want to have a bunch of comments from people who are MADD or upset about my condoning the use of alcohol in the workplace. We know already. Consider it a tool for creativity.

When you want better results from your next brainstorming session, perhaps a little cocktail may be just the ticket. (Just be sure not to get drunk or you won’t be able to read your notes!) And be smart about it.

So when you’re stuck on the branding or wording of your current project, maybe it’s worth a shot.

Classic Words that Stick

I love the classics. developed a fantastic list of the best-ever taglines since 1948. What a joy to read, and to examine how each short line connects with its audience.


But further down on the page is the really good stuff. It’s a list of the best taglines prior to 1948. Some are so strong that they’re still in use today. Check out the year they were first used to truly appreciate the staying power of a carefully crafted message. You can get the complete list here: BEST TAGLINE LIST.  

Celebrated Taglines Prior to 1948

Only you can prevent forest fires. (U.S. Forest Service)
The beer that made Milwaukee famous. (Schlitz Beer)
Look sharp, feel sharp. (Gillette)
Better living through chemistry. (DuPont)
The breakfast of champions. (Wheaties)
The pause that refreshes. (Coca-Cola)
When you care enough to send the very best (Hallmark)
Good to the last drop. (Maxwell House)
Ask the man who owns one. (Packard)
Always a bridesmaid, but never a bride. (Listerine)
I’d walk a mile for a Camel. (Camel Cigarettes)
Say it with flowers. (FTD)
When it rains, it pours. (Morton Salt)
The champagne of bottled beer. (Miller High Life)
America’s most famous dessert (Jell-O)
His master’s voice. (Victor Talking Machine Company)
57 varieties. (H.J. Heinz Co.)
All the news that’s fit to print. (New York Times)
99.44% pure (Ivory Soap)


The Marketing F-word: Focus

  Many small businesses make marketing changes on blind faith. They read a business book, or hear the gurus say things like “Change is good.” So they ponder and plan, then launch themselves into uncharted waters.

One of my favorite cliches is “You can’t expect different results by doing things the same way.” But you do have to be smart about it. And there’s a single element that can make all the difference, for more intelligent marketing.

It’s called Focus. Pick your path… one path… and go with it.

Those trash-mouthed marketing folks throw this F-word around all the time. But for some small businesses, Focus really is a dirty word. They remain stuck in neutral because of fear – fear of the changes that come when honing in on a single specialty area, or fear that their business will suffer by not promoting all of their services. No matter what the experts tell them, they truly believe that changing their marketing, focusing on the one thing they do best is too risky, or too expensive.

When you’re a small business trying to make a dent in your market, it’s vital to take a clean, focused approach. Of course part of you wants to cling to old ways and old ideas. So you hesitate… you want to hedge your bets… cut your losses. Bad idea.

Only when you focus in a single concept in your marketing messages will you begin to see better results.

Advertising and marketing is all about teaching your audience about your brand. It’s kinda like college. Offer a lecture of too many topics and your “class” of clients will glaze over, zone out, and forget everything you just said. But stick to a single focused topic and you have a much stronger chance of the message taking hold.

Focus also goes beyond mere slogans and tagline messages. Better results come from having a strong identity… knowing what you do best, and for whom. Marketing that reveals your confidence, along with a clear message, only strengthens your marketing approach.

That tricky F-word can make all the difference.

Playing with Heartstrings

 This morning as I was slinging slogans for a client, I went through my sheets of ideas to list out the ones they might like best.

After a few hours of brainstorming, all kinds of thoughts had splashed down on the page. But from dozens of ideas, only a handful were strong enough to pass along for consideration.

So what made the difference? Why did some wording ideas seem stronger than others?

For this project, it was all about heart. The project involved the marketing of a fundraiser campaign. To motivate their specific audience into action, the message had to make a direct, emotional appeal in a sophisticated way. It had to tug at their heart – showing the donor that they can directly benefit in some way by making contribution, without stating it directly. It requires subtlety – that also packs a wallop!

In today’s economy, giving the talking points about your wonderful organization isn’t enough. The break-through messages are the ones that give the the donor (or client) a reason to feel great about giving (or doing business with you). It really doesn’t matter that you’ve been serving your community since 1962. What really matters for your message is how their donation can make a difference – making them feel good about themselves in some way.

Touching their hearts can open their wallets. Playing their heartstrings is key.

The Zen of Marketing

 Sometimes we become an obstacle to our own success. The trick is to get out of your own way to allow great things to flow. For marketing messages, this means the flow of ideas… of creativity… of uniquely effective wording. When crafting better marketing, what we think we know (our assumptions) ends up limiting us from potential brilliance.

Over the weekend, I picked the book “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind,” by Shunryu Suzuki. My friend Monica Day recommended it to me a couple of months ago. She once told me that I should approach each project with a “Beginner’s Mind,” a fresh outlook. Ignore your past impressions, stereotypes, experiences and prejudices. See the thing as it truly is – as if you’re seeing it for the first time. Once I did this, amazing things began to flow, to the delight of my clients!

When you consider your marketing, you may find that your approach has evolved from the campaign before it, and the campaign before that. But when you examine your message as it is today… without regard to its history… is it as strong a message as it could be?

Taking a “Beginner’s Mind” approach helps you see things in a fresh light when evaluating a fresh marketing approach. When working with your creative team, remind them of the “knowns,” but don’t limit them.

Encourage them to have a Beginner’s Mind as they work on your campaign. Only then do you see things as your customers do. Only then can you invite the flow of fresh creativity you deserve to help your business grow.

Making the Grade with your Online Content

  Every night after work, my cute husband and I relax together on the couch and catch up on the news of the day. When we first married, our faces were often lit by candlelight. But today, it’s by laptop – each of us tapping away on our computers, our faces bathed in the cool glow of our screens. 

Now more than ever, people are on their computers, doing their “homework.” Before they buy, before they meet, before they call. The Internet gives us the opportunity to really check things out in advance, before we develop a relationship with the person, brand or business. Your online presence gives an impression – good or bad.

Be sure you use it to your best advantage.

Making the most of the trend of online research means offering more information for your customers than you may have in the past. Consider what information they need when making a buying decision, then give it to them. Tell them about what you do, your industry, your history, what makes you unique. Start a blog to share insider tips and advice to help them. Focus more on what they want to know… and less about what you want them to hear. It’s not about you – it’s about them.

People don’t buy a drill because they want to own another power tool. People buy a drill because they want to make a hole. Remember that.

The words you choose need to reflect the fact that you “get it.” Show that you’re the best choice for them.

As people do their homework online, make sure you’re the one who gets an A.