Straplines

More mature readers will remember “The Best Outboard Motor for the World”. An image might even pop into your head of a stripy-shirted sailor with a kitbag on his shoulder carrying a Seagull outboard.

The product eventually became outdated. But you couldn’t fault the strapline.

“The Ultimate Driving Machine”, “Finger lickin’ good”, “Every Little Helps”. Straplines like these can work wonders.

They provide a hook that helps to cement a brand in the consumer’s mind. I’m just surprised how little they’re used, particularly in today’s marine industry.

A good strapline should naturally convey what the brand stands for. But it must also be distinctive and preferably original. Clichés like “Simply the best” or “Setting new standards” are too overused to have any hope of being associated with your brand rather than any other.

Similarly, a simple bunch of words like “Performance, Quality, Value” won’t lodge in anyone’s mind. Whereas “Grace, Space, Pace” or “Vorsprung durch Technik” have a distinctiveness and memorability that gives them a much better chance.

When you’ve got a good strapline, stick with it. Don’t be tempted to change for the sake of it, or because someone suggests it needs “refreshing”.

A good strapline bears plenty of repetition, familiarity is the strapline’s trump card.

And lastly, as ever, make sure it’s customer-focused. A strapline should address what customers want, not what the company wants to say about itself.

“We’re number one” might appeal to the boardroom, but “You’re number one” has more appeal to the customer.

And if you’re fortunate enough that your strapline finds its way into everyday language, you’ve really hit the jackpot.

“Simples”.

Robin Petherbridge

rp@cp-uk.com