One Cliché at a Time

Why your startup's tagline sucks and how to fix it.

March 3, 2020

Saving the world, one (blank) at a time.

Are you really? What is your metric for doing so? How are you different from companies x, y, and z that are also saving the world, one (blank) at a time? Lastly, what good does it do for me, your intended customer?

You weren't thinking of that when you first wrote that tagline, were you? Probably because it's bullshit and it's not really why you're in business. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you don't care about whatever cause you want to help, but if this phrase has crossed your lips in trying to build your brand, it means you are not diving deep enough.

You are choosing to piggyback off a phrase that has no intrinsic meaning other than being a cliché that won't offend anyone.

You can do better. You and your brand are worth more than a worn out phrase void of passion.

How would you fix it? Take a look at some of the best taglines ever written:

Think Different.

Just Do It.

Belong Anywhere.

Open Happiness.

What do they have in common? They're simple, they break from convention, and they encourage the user to be something more. To be more creative, to be a champion, to feel secure, to be happier. These taglines don't impose the idea that a user needs your company, they inform the user that this company has a shared aspiration whether they use their product or not.

They're not salesy, they're not imposing, and they are not trying to make it about themselves. These taglines are calls that signal the user to a new adventure.

You want people to be inspired by your tagline? Don't settle for cliché bullshit. Dig deep and think about how you can encourage a user to be something they never thought they could have been. Most importantly, do it in a way that brings your unique flavor to it.

More you say?

Keep Playing

The absolute worst thing you can do amidst COVID-19 is quit.

3.16.2020

I'll keep this short.

Things are weird right now, but you have two options:

Keep playing or quit.

You might fail if you keep playing, but I guarantee you will fail if you quit.

Get in the game.

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Branding and Design

They help each other out, but they are not the same and you need to know the difference.

1.30.2020

I'm currently working on a new website or San Diego Startup Week. Yesterday, the former director of the program looked at the new site and commented on how much it had improved from the previous rendition. Obviously, I was flattered. But at the same time, I felt a void within that work.

What is missing is personality, voice, and character. The cherries that make the entire sundae memorable. The new site works and has a streamlined flow to it. But it has no personality other than being well designed.

It's as if design has a brand in and of itself; sterile, refined, clean, simplistic, lots of white space, you get the picture. The next level is using design to communicate a unique feeling that reflects your company.

That's the difference between design and branding. Design is a set of principles that any creative wields as second nature. Using it to build a brand is the ability to bend those principles toward a personality.

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