Branding, a business not cattle, plays a huge role in a company’s success. Part of the branding package is a company’s tagline. That’s the phrase or motto that sticks in your prospect’s head and it serves as a permanent (or at least long-lasting) impression of your company’s mission or purpose.

Here are some famous taglines; I’ll bet each company’s name comes to your mind quickly:

  • You’re in good hands
  • The king of beers
  • The happiest place on earth
  • That was easy
  • Finger licking good
  • Just do it

Nike’s Just do it tagline has been around since 1988, so yes, quite long lasting.

The food service company where I spent the bulk of my career had an alliterative tagline that I liked: Keeping Kitchens Cooking. Our trucks showed happy chefs cooking in a busy kitchen so that the visual image reinforced the tagline.

Although I don’t recall ever personally staying at a Motel 6, their long-term tagline of We’ll leave the light on for you is my personal favorite. Adlibbed by Tom Bodett, the brand-new spokesperson for the chain in 1986, this tagline began a reversal of a five-year decline in occupancy. By 1987 their rate was actually up 6%.

Now THAT was effective branding! Consider what the phrase We’ll leave the light on for you might evoke emotionally in people. It could be memories of safety, caring, welcome, and comfort. Did your folks leave the front porch light on for you when you were old enough to stay out after dark? Do nightlights help navigate your way in the dark? The small light that stays on 24/7 in my foyer shines through the glass side panels of my front door to give a comforting sense of welcome.

So yes, even though Motel 6 has more recently acquired a not-so-great image of a place to stay, I still appreciate that original tagline.

My own company’s tagline is four words long. Say something that matters. I chose that for my speech coaching and children’s book company because I am a words person, and I truly believe that our words matter. And while it may be just four words, it’s a two-part phrase.

Say something…as in speak up. Don’t keep your thoughts, ideas, feelings bottled up inside. That matters…Don’t ramble, don’t speak in cliches. Be specific and on point. Have a meaningful message. Speak from the heart.

Our words can lift up or tear down. With our words, we can bring forth smiles or laughter* or instead we can evoke anger or hate. The words coming out of our mouths can be truths or lies. We’re in charge—no one else—of what we individually say.

Say something that matters is a personal admonition to myself as well. When I coach or teach, when I write or have a conversation, even when I respond to a Facebook post where someone is obviously hurting, I do my best to make my message meaningful.

Life is short. Say something that matters. And my light is always on for you.


Old Motel 6 commercial

*And because I do like to make people laugh, here’s what prompted me to write on this topic: an ad for “instant underpants.” You just add water to a compressed pellet, and voila! One of the product’s slogans is, “Better to have damp undies than no undies at all.” Uh, OK.