5 Steps to Jumpstart Your Tagline Development Process

5 Steps to Jumpstart Your Tagline Development ProcessDeveloping a high-power tagline for your nonprofit can be a daunting task, especially with so many competing priorities.  Whether you are creating a first-time tagline or revitalizing an existing brand, here are five steps to jump start the process:

  1. Confirm that the tagline (or lack of one) is a problem. Feature a few talking points about your organization (or your tagline, if you already have one) in conversations with colleagues, members and volunteers.  Make a note of their reactions.  Does your messaging inspire people to dig in and ask more questions or get involved, or does it create confusion about your organization's work and impact?
  2. Get your colleagues on board.  Let your colleagues know that it’s time to develop stronger messaging for your organization based on what you’ve heard in your listening research, and that you’ll need their help. Be as specific as possible about your goals and outcomes, and how you’d like them to help.
  3. Uncover some audience intelligence, Sherlock Holmes.  Ask colleagues (and volunteers, if you need to) to insert your organization’s messaging (or current tagline, if you have one) in their own conversations in the field and report back to you what they find. Make it easy for them to report back in a way that’s easy for them and useful to you.
  4. Summarize the feedback you get and your recommendations for moving forward.  What does and doesn’t work? What does that suggest about revising existing messaging or shaping  a new tagline?
  5. Is more research needed? Decide if you need to take your audience research one step further or you’re ready to kickoff the tagline creation process with a brainstorming session.

These five steps are a proven stepping stone to developing a strong tagline for your organization. Supplement them with our free guide to powerful messaging for your organization: The 2009 Getting Attention Tagline Report features don't dos, must dos and over 2,500 nonprofit tagline examples to kick-start your message brainstorming.

By Amy Kehoe, Manager – Getting Attention

Flickr photo: Jeff Carlson

Amy Kehoe on November 24, 2009 in Branding and Messages, Nonprofit Communications, Taglines | 2 comments
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  • Hi Nancy,
    All of your blog posts are timely, to the point, well written and focused! I really appreciate your words and details at helping organizations get their messages together, and we certainly need help too!
    My only suggestion that would help me more would be to ask you for more details and examples of what specific organizations have done to that end. In other words, tell the story more, and give concrete examples of what they did that worked, what didn’t work, what was worth the time they invested, and so forth. Those would really help me a lot. Just having a list of stuff to do is great but with a few more stories and examples, we would really get a lot more out of it. It would be well worth the added length to your blog posts, too.
    Thanks for all your hard work!

  • Just an added thought, I would say that I know you do offer good examples in other blog posts, as I read on in your work, but I would love to hear about groups you have worked with and what that was like, too and how it changed their message culture!
    Thank you again!

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