30 Replies to “The Unrecognizable Taglines of the Community Platform Space”

  1. These results are quite interesting. I am a bit surprised so many of the respondants acturally recognize the taglines. It leads me to believe that the marketing departments have done a pretty good job to get the taglines out there. And, most of them have used new media methodologies, vs. ads during the superbowl to “just do it”. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jeremiah,
    The power of taglines lies in their ability to quickly identify a company’s position in a marketplace. A product made for resellers can identify itself as such, rather than something for consumers. Taglines can also help differentiate products/services. What you have really identified very well here appears to be abject laziness — these taglines are all me too. Only twitter stand out from the crowd by asking a consumer-oriented question (even if we users never actually answer that question any longer). I disagree with the idea that taglines are not useful — these just don’t work.
    Arthur Germain (@ahg3)

  3. Until companies learn to craft taglines like professional ad agencies do, what would we expect? These are product descriptions (aside from Twitter’s, which I don’t consider their tagline but more of an associated phrase.) Great taglines create emotion in the heart of the customer or potential user… Just Do It, Nike says. There is an atmosphere created where the brand becomes the life coach, because they know of our tendency to sit on our rumps, or if active, not reach our full potential, unless pushed a bit. The more alarming concern I see is not that people are unable to associate bland words with the various companies that mix them up in uninteresting ways, but that these companies are in sore need of a brand-maker and molder who can add some personality into the offering. People remember personality and attitude, far more than specific descriptions of an offering. Create a brand, not just a product or company, to stand out among the masses. Just Do It! 😉

  4. This is amazing! If you allow for the fact that most people knew Twitter and there were clearly some people in the pool that did know at least one vendor well – it seems that the math works out to an even odds across the board.

    Of course this is marketing’s perpetual challenge – who really remember’s any given product’s tagline unless they pour millions into commercial advertising like a Nike (Just Do It) or Staples (That was Easy).

    For the companies in this space that have much smaller budgets that kind of investment makes no sense at all. I would argue the better investment is to build the best products and solutions possible and to stay on top of an incredibly dynamic market. That is the way to differentiate and grow.

    @crbrowning

  5. Are the taglines purely for recognition? I think they are to allow you to direct the energy/meaning of your company name and logo to your current mandate or strength.

    Its pretty obvious from our Awareness Inc tagline that we are focussed on “Social media marketing”. This is a change from the term we used a few months ago “Enterprise Social media”

    Mind you I think its different for giant consumer brands like Nike.

  6. Great to see them all lined up like this — makes you realize the herd mentality that takes over. Everyone wants to be a leader. I’m struck by how declarative they all are, rather than opaque or emotive. Time for marketing folks to “think different” and take some risks.

  7. I think you have just proven that taglines really aren’t that important, especially for small companies, since no one can remember them. It is not until a company gets mass appeal that people begin to remember a tagline.

    I agree companies need to differentiate and be unique in a crowded market but taglines aren’t going to do that.

  8. Jean
    You wouldn’t believe how many briefings I get where they’re positioned as the leader in X space, or Y space or some made up quadrant where they vendor puts themselves in the right right.

    Ian
    A good interpretation, a young market (to David’s point above of Awareness) is that maybe descriptions are important in an immature market.

  9. I think this proves that companies think they “have” to have a tagline, and thus the unenthusiastic and somewhat obvious, boring taglines. But do they need one? A second part to this interesting survey would be surveying the companies without taglines and finding out what it is that influencers and leaders in a space most remember about the branding: the logo, the ad, the tweets, the website design, etc.

  10. One of your findings is that “I threw twitter in as the first question just to get people feeling good, and it’s somewhat of a control sample, they are clearly in this space. It is interesting that 90% of them clearly could recognize this call to action.”

    I actually strongly believe that you biased this question with the hint in your initial blog post “The first one is easy.” I did not know the tag line for Twitter, but was primed that Twitter was the answer, given your experience and activity on Twitter. Therefore, it is my feeling that the 90% is, in fact, over-inflated.

  11. Gayle

    You’re right…yet the twitter question really doesn’t matter so much in this poll, the crux of the matter was to get recognition patterns of taglines within the community platform vendors.

  12. Jeremiah,

    Good thoughts as always.

    BTW One way to measure the impact of tag lines on brand awareness would be to use a cloud tool such as BrandTags. You can see quickly which words from the tag line feature prominently in the cloud. For example, this tool shows that “just do it” has among the greatest awareness when associated with the word Nike. (Interestingly, the words “jordan” and “fast” are also very prominent.)

    http://www.brandtags.net

  13. Humorous concept for an analyst survey! Fun stuff… I assume you meant it as a light-hearted post.. I think all of the players you mentioned did the right thing and focused on trying to help our prospects and customers understand what we do, rather than writing a pithy tagline. Mzinga’s (for example) is clearly not a tagline but rather an attempt to help our website visitors make sure they came to the right spot. We felt claiming “leadership” in the line is a waste of text and not credible, so chose words that would resonate with the end user (or tried to anyway!).

    Do the readers of this post think we should go for a unique, pithy, “marketing-differentiated” tagline or help our prospects know what we offer? let me know

  14. Patrick

    This isn’t light hearted at all, Patrick.

    It makes sense to be descriptive in a young market where people don’t get fully what you do. Nike, Coke, and Apple don’t have that problem as their markets are matured.

    The risk is, taglines that are descriptive end up not just describing you –but your competitors, and that’s why they all look the same.

    Here’s a few dozen responses from the survey respondents, read here:

    http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/about/what-would-you-do-if-you-were-the-cmo-of-a-community-platform-vendor/

    Keep in mind out of the 60 respondents, 11 were already customers of community platforms, 17 of the were researching this market, and 1 said they were ready to buy. That’s nearly half of the respondents that have indicated they are your market base.

  15. I guess I will come out of the closet as the CMO that Jeremiah referenced as a catalyst for this conversation. Having recently joined Lithium — and this industry — my observation was that everyone was using the same, generic words, whether it was tagline, boiler-plates or other. These results definitely bear that out :-).

    Taglines or boiler plates or marketing messages can typically do one of 3 things…1) make aclaim like ‘leadership’, 2) describe the compnay or space, or 3) say something about the VALUE to a customer.

    I agree with others on the thread that say “leader” claims are meaningless and don’t help customers or prospects. We are partial to #3…what is the value…that is of course why people should be writing a check.

    For all of us in the industry — we owe the market and the customers better.

    So, a question to those influencers, decision-makers, and buyers out there…what is the VALUE that you are most seeking from online customer communities?

  16. Hello Mr.Owyang,

    I think you are on to something with this survey. I work for one of your chosen tagline vendors in this post. I think the study would be very interesting if it was on a larger sample set and segmented by geography. I am on the sales side so what we see on a daily basis is the competition for projects changes by geography. By no means is this accurate for all deals but a heavy majority. When working on opportunities in the Southwest, especially Texas where there’s a lot of activity, we see a dominance of Pluck, Telligent, Small World Labs. You rarely hear about Awareness, Jive or Mzinga. You go into California & Northwest and you hear a lot about Jive, Pluck and Kick Apps. In the Midwest, only in Chicago do I hear about Jive as you mostly hear LiveWorld,Leverage, and Lithium. In the Southeast, you hear Mzinga, Awareness, Leverage and KickApps. Northeast, Awareness and Mzinga. Just my two cents from the frontline.

    Cheers,
    Jason

  17. Jeremiah, thanks for instigating some healthy conversation on the topic. The only issue with this experiment though is that it assumed that what’s in your HTML title bar is in fact your tagline. That’s not often the case though. Consider Home Depot, whose brilliant tagline is “You can do it. We can help.” That’s quite different from what you’ll find between their HTML title tags, and for good reason… Positioning a brand is somewhat different from positioning a web document.

    In Pluck’s case, we’ve left our HTML doc title as-is based on its historic contribution to our SEO strength. While typically market our business through the tagline you see under our brand mark on the home page and throughout the site: “Pluck – Integrated Social Media for Publishers, Retailers and Brands”

    Wanted to point out this important distinction, and hope this helps to clarify how we position the company. Having said that, you’ve sparked some productive conversation on Pluck’s positioning internally, and we’re taking a look at how we might improve.

    Thanks as always for keeping Pluck, our customers and our competitors on our respective toes!

    Best,
    Adam

  18. Adam

    I lookrd for tag lines, in many cases, I didn’t find them so resulted with the HTML title tag.

    To your point, if everyone’s suggesting the description is the same –that still leads for little differentiation.

    So, whether we measure descriptors or tag lines –the differentiation still isn’t apparent.

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