Are you the first, the largest, or the only one doing what you do? 

Creating a winning tagline not only clarifies what you do and how you are different from others, it positions you in the marketplace and claims a space that is yours alone … or is at least perceived that way. Keep reading to learn what I mean. 

If you are the first, the largest or the only, then that’s your tagline. But the truth is that most of us cannot claim the first, largest, or only of what we do. You could possibly hem in that statement to your geography and you have a better chance–the Longest-Running Performing Arts Group in Long Beach is valid, impressive, and easier to qualify than World’s Best Cup of Coffee. Remember that scene in the movie Elf when Buddy (Will Farrell) is congratulating each diner that has claimed Wold’s Best Cup of Coffee? It’s funny and demonstrates the importance of your tagline needing to mean something. If everyone is saying what you’re saying, then your tagline isn’t doing its job. 


Claim What’s Yours

If you won some competition and were truly named the coffee shop with the World’s Best Cup of Coffee, then yes, say that and make sure no one else claims what’s yours.

What is true about your business or organization that no one else can say?
Are those attributes important in the marketplace?
Are they enough to make people want to support and use you? 
You might need to reframe these facts into benefits. In other words, make it relevant to the user. 

Making it Relevant 

Years ago Anheuser-Busch started advertising that they had “born-on dating.” Meaning that you could see how long ago that Bud came out of the bottling plant. They were the first brewery to say it. Here’s the the thing, the Food & Drug Administration requires all packaged food to include a date when they were packaged, but they use a code that the general public doesn’t understand. This is different than the expiration date. Anheuser Busch simply decided to eliminate the code and instead just add a date. It wasn’t unique to adhere to the conditions of packaged food, but they translated it into a benefit for the consumer. They made it relevant.

Look at your winning attributes and explore how these are important or impressive to your target audience. 

What is true about your business or organization everyone else can say? 
Can you say it better?

Rarely “The Only”

Be humble, the public will fill in the rest. The truth is that there are few things that are “the only” of anything. If you are the ONLY ONE, fiercely defend that title and keep evolving to stay in that top spot. If not, don’t worry. You can still position yourself in a way that stands out from the crowd with your tagline. 

My #1 example of this, but not the only, is Denver, CO. The tagline of this locale is “The Mile High City.” The elevation of Denver is exactly one mile above sea level at 5,280 feet. Wow, that’s high! If you’ve ever told anyone you’ve been to Denver, then you know that one of the first questions is, “How did you do with the altitude?” 

Knowing this tagline, I filled in other assumptions in my mind and considered it the only city at a mile high elevation, at least in the United States. It isn’t. We took a family vacation to the Grand Canyon one year and I noticed that the little town of Williams, AZ was over a mile at 6,765′. In fact, the Grand Canyon is even at a higher elevation at 6,840′. When I came back from visiting the Grand Canyon nobody asked how we did with the elevation. Not one. They asked about the view, and they asked if we took the Brady Bunch trip down into the canyon. As in other states, there are also several cities in Colorado that sit at an elevation over a mile as well, including a city called Alma, CO that is over two miles high at 10,578′. 

See what Denver did there? It’s the exact truth. They don’t exaggerate, it is irrefutable. They made it concise, catchy, easy to understand, and easy to remember. We fill in the rest. 

Your turn. Follow suit and start with what’s true then make it shine! 

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Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. 30 years ago to provide marketing and public relations services to small businesses and nonprofits. She is the author of Laws of Promotion, a 50-page marketing guidebook for people with little or no marketing experience, available on Amazon in English and Spanish.

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