engagement, Facebook, Getting Started, social networks, Twitter

Translating Taglines Into Powerful Status Updates

5 Comments 30 June 2009

status-update

What if organizations took the time to create meaningful, strategic taglines?  Taglines help your organization clearly communicate its strategic goals, and if used properly, should inform all communications. A tagline is the clear, distilled mission: of the organization, or of a position within the organization.

Are taglines a replacement for who you are and your company’s mission statement? No. But, in this day and age of Facebook status updates, “what are you doing” Twitter updates and social networks, a tagline is the quick informational message about your company. A tagline is the shout out for what your company can do for others. It’s the “micro-mission,” if you will.

Can you translate your company’s tagline into short, powerful status updates that move your organization closer to its goals?

Taking this a step forward, why shouldn’t we think of status updates on our social media sites as a version of the tagline, but related to the immediate matter at hand. For instance, if your organization’s tagline is “Addiction can be overcome, one person at a time,” then a status update on Facebook might say “another person has joined our campaign to eradicate additctions!” or tweet “Good link to study about causes of addiction.”

Status Updates are not just throwaways. They are your strategic messages, in 140 characters or less.

Nancy Schwartz, host of the Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards writes: “a strong tagline does double-duty — working to extend your organization’s name and mission, while delivering a focused, memorable and repeatable message to your base.” She invites nonprofit organizations to submit their organization’s taglines in a competition each year. The 2008 GettingAttention.org survey showed that 72% of nonprofit organizations do not have a tagline, or believe that their tagline performs badly.  Based on this information, she created the Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Report to help nonprofits build their brand in “eight words or less.”

Why write “we do good things” or “our 25th anniversary year” on your website, name tag or blog headline? Does it move your strategy forward? Does it engage? Does it move people to act?

Taking this idea one step further, the personal tagline is also important.  It’s the “micro-mission” of each employee at your agency. When employees (or volunteers) attend an event, update social media sites or write a blog post, they should be thinking about their personal taglines – it focuses the conversation online and offline. At the Breakfast with Jeff Pulver that I attended yesterday in Tel Aviv, Jeff asked everyone to write their name on a name tag and add a personal tagline underneath it. Some taglines were great (“Everyone Needs an Editor”) and some were…not very compelling (“I Love Games.”) A tagline is more than a conversation starter; people will glance at a tagline and decide if they want to speak with you or not. Or possibly read your blog. Or interact with your organization. You have eight words to get your message across convincingly.

I’m not saying that every single status update, tweet and microblog update has to be strategic and goal-oriented. Remembering your company’s mission can and should inform your status updates – and help you get the most out of all of the 140 characters allotted. Remembering your personal tagline can and should make your networking more strategic and informative.

Thoughts?

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  • Ooo–love this post. It’s got me wondering–what’s MY personal tagline? And all the opportunities with even changing your organizational tagline much like a social networking ‘status update’. Cool!

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Heidi- thanks for your enthusiasm! I like the idea of changing the organizational tagline, but I would worry about changing it too often – you want to get a consistent message across. Taglines are also marketing messages – think branding not just updates. I see status updates as supporting the overall tagline branding. However, I think changing the tagline up periodically to reflect new mission or strategic purpose is an interesting idea.

    [Reply]

  • Ooo–love this post. It’s got me wondering–what’s MY personal tagline? And all the opportunities with even changing your organizational tagline much like a social networking ‘status update’. Cool!

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Heidi- thanks for your enthusiasm! I like the idea of changing the organizational tagline, but I would worry about changing it too often – you want to get a consistent message across. Taglines are also marketing messages – think branding not just updates. I see status updates as supporting the overall tagline branding. However, I think changing the tagline up periodically to reflect new mission or strategic purpose is an interesting idea.

    [Reply]

  • I like the idea of changing the organizational tagline, but I would worry about changing it too often – you want to get a consistent message across.

    [Reply]

About

Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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