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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Branding issues? 3 steps to ensure your tagline works

Branding -- it's as important for school districts as it is for higher ed institutions, non-profits and businesses. But, in public education, the effort to brand -- or rebrand -- often gets the short-shrift. And that's not good.
If you want your community to identify the local school district with more than your sports mascot or benchmark scores, you should look at your branding efforts.
While branding is really a comprehensive effort, one aspect where we've seen school districts and other organizations struggle is with their slogan, or what we call their taglines. Taglines should be short, memorable and capture the essence of the district. Think Nike and Just Do It.
Take a look at yours. Is it catchy? Does it reveal the personality and mission of your organization? If so, you're off to a great start!
Here are are some easy-to-fix tagline issues First Class Communication has come across during our work --
1. It's the wrong tagline -- it's not catchy, it's too long, and/or it doesn't adequately capture what you're about or what you're trying to do. The best way to develop one? Spend some time researching what all your various stakeholders already think or know about your district. Think through and determine what you want them to think or know. Find the words to make a phrase that both sings and zings.
3. It's hardly seen -- use your tagline lots and use it consistently. It should appear anytime your organization's name does, so put it proudly on your website, your letterhead, your business cards, newsletters. 
2. It could be this one or it could be that one -- when you get a tagline you like, make sure it's the "official" one and that all old or competing ones are out of the picture. We've seen web sites that have two or three bombarding people at the same time or letterhead that still has an old tagline on it. Don't make your constituents work so hard to figure out what you are trying to tell them.
Remember, after developing the right message, consistency in using your message is key, and that's especially true with taglines.

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