“The ultimate driving machine”
“Just do it”
“The happiest place on earth”
“A diamond is forever”
“You’re in good hands”
I’m sure you recognize most, if not all, of these taglines and can name the companies behind them (read to the end if not 😉). They’re often held up as the best examples of what every business wants to achieve from a branding perspective: unforgettable messaging that defines them in the marketplace.
But all of these taglines are for B2C companies. Is the same kind of impact even available to B2B technology companies? That’s what I want to talk about today.
Why is there not a memorable B2B tagline?
Take a moment and see if you can think of a tagline for a B2B technology company. They’re out there, for sure, though a quick web search on “best b2b tagline” returns none that are nearly as memorable as the ones above.
Why is that?
In my previous post, I pointed out that B2B technology companies often struggle to develop concise, effective messages for three reasons: one, they usually need to explain a complex technology; two, they’re under pressure to sound like everyone else; and three, their industries are constantly changing, which requires their messaging to change, too.
The B2C taglines above suffer from none of that. They’re marketing products that are easy to understand. They make claims that stand out from their competition. And they’ve all been used consistently for decades.
As you continue to search for an example tagline to prove me wrong, you may bring up Apple’s “Think Different” or Intel’s “Intel Inside”. These are definitely great — but they’re not B2B taglines. In both cases, they were advertising slogans used only for a short time and mainly targeted the consumer audience.
So as the hunt continues for a killer B2B technology company tagline, I want to ask a different question…
Do B2B technology companies even need a tagline?
It’s not easy to create a brilliant tagline that lasts. For B2B technology companies, I recommend they stop trying, especially if they are a startup. A tagline isn’t required to build a brand or long-term success, and it’s difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in the B2B space what a consumer tagline can.
A tagline isn’t required to build a brand or long-term success, and it’s difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in the B2B space what a consumer tagline can.
Let’s look at what makes those five famous taglines great. First off, they are all short and use simple words. Second, they have been used for years, in fact decades, by their respective companies. And third, they create a strong emotional feeling about the brand that differentiates each business.
It’s understandably much harder to explain a disruptive B2B approach or innovative technology in five words or less. Given the pace of technological and industry change, a B2B tech tagline can get stale within a year — forget about lasting decades. While it would be great to inspire an emotional response in your audience, let’s be honest: most B2B buyers want to solve an immediate, practical problem, not fulfill a wish or “feel” something.
The other fact to face is that consumers relate very differently to brands and advertising than business buyers do. An evocative, inspirational tagline may actually be seen by a B2B buyer as “too marketing”, not credible, and do more harm than good. A technical audience may have an adverse reaction to anything that is not detailed or accurate enough to be meaningful—and taglines tend to be neither.
So if your B2B technology company doesn’t need a tagline, what do you need instead?
B2B messages built for purpose
Your goal from a messaging perspective is to own a space in the mind of your target audience. As I explained in my previous blog, to achieve that, you need to be simple, differentiated and consistent in how you talk about what you do. But in the B2B arena, you want to do that without the restrictions a tagline imposes on length, or its requirements for creativity and emotional appeal.
Practically, that means working out a short description of what you do, your value proposition, your differentiators and maybe more for each audience. Instead of a single one-liner, those pieces together become a framework you can apply across all of your content, media and marketing initiatives.
Instead of a single one-liner, those pieces [a short description of what you do, your value proposition, your differentiators] together become a framework you can apply across all of your content, media and marketing initiatives.
This messaging framework can evolve into a sales script, corporate boilerplate, web copy, ad headlines, presentation slides… the list goes on. It’s the set of puzzle pieces you need to build your brand and develop any asset for any marketing campaign.
Creating clear, compelling, purpose-built messages based on this kind of framework will have a far bigger impact on your success than a catchy tagline that only appears under your logo.
Think beyond B2B taglines
Of course, any B2B tech company would love to have a punchy little tagline that captures hearts and minds. But the markets, audiences and underlying drivers are just too different for B2B companies to replicate what B2C brands do.
However, you can spin a solid messaging framework into all kinds of creative applications that tell your buyers what bucket you’re in; how you’re different from the competition, and your value. It should also help everyone within your business tell the same story in the same way, appropriate to your context (more on this soon).
If you need help creating your messaging, register for our upcoming “Spell it out!” webinar on October 11 at 11am EST. We’ll teach you the four steps to create clear and compelling messages.
P.S. For those that didn’t know, the companies behind the taglines above are: BMW, Nike, Disneyland, DeBoers and Allstate.