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Dear Tig: Distinguishing the Differences Between Brand Promise, Tagline, and a Positioning Statement

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Dear Tig,

I need some clarity, please. We are using a cross-functional team to articulate a revised brand promise. The good news is that we are using market research to find promises that are customer-relevant, something rarely done around here. The bad news is that the cross-functional team is stuck arguing about what's the difference between a brand promise and a tagline. Everyone seems to just want to write taglines. My view is that a tagline simply flows from the broader brand promise, attempting to capture it in a succinct, meaningful, memorable way. What is your view? Can you help the team distinguish the differences between brand promise, tagline, and other key terms like positioning statement?

Many thanks in advance,


Dear VP,

Well, you came to the right place. Of course you asked this question to me because you knew that I'd be on your side. Not very fair, now, is it?

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Tig Tillinghast writes from the banks of the Elk River near Chesapeake City, Maryland. He consults with major brands and ad agency holding companies, helping marketing groups find the right resources for their needs. He is the author of The Tactical Guide to Online Marketing as well as several terrible fiction manuscripts.

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