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  • Writer's pictureValerie Passerini

Tag You're It: Taglines that don't make you want to run away

As I was snowshoeing today I was thinking about my North Face boots that I have had for 15 years. North Face's tagline is "Never Stop Exploring." I love it because it's only three words (easy to remember), it's aspirational and it reminds me of Journey's song, "Don't Stop Believing."

This led me to look at some of the top outdoor brands to see what they're doing tagline wise.

REI - Find out. Thule - Bring Your Life. Prana - Clothing for Positive Change. Darn Tough - Socks For Life. Topo Designs - Made for Anywhere on Your Map. Arc’teryx - We Build Tools to Enable and Inspire.

We want to be inspired

Ok, we get it. Inspiration sells. But let's dig into the psychology behind how inspiration is the driving force behind marketing the outdoors. Two psychologists, Todd M. Thrash and Andrew J. Elliot who know inspiration like Freud knew the ego, that is to say, they are well acquainted. Thrash and Elliot developed the “Inspiration Scale,” which measures the frequency with which a person experiences inspiration in their daily lives. They found that inspired people were more open to new experiences. People aspire to be inspired. It's as simple as that. Inspired people take action and grab life by the horns (wait, wouldn't that be Western gear?) They are peak bagging, trailblazing, adventure seeking and you better get with the program or accept a couch potato lifestyle, right?

When was the last time you were inspired? What is an inspirational outdoor experience? For my husband, who drove the 10 hours to Wyoming in 2019, it was seeing the total solar eclipse. Meanwhile, back in Lakewood, CO, I settled for a 94% partial exclipse. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all. I have been inspired by a Michigan summer sunset as much as I was when I saw my first muskrat (Colorado River - July 2020) It's all relative, really.

Does your business inspire you? Are you looking for an inspirational tagline?

People want to be inspired and we perceive inspiration as something that just happens TO us.

One of my favorite activities, after coming up with names for businesses, is to create a tagline. Especially if business have chosen a name already and the crux of their why is hidden. We can't all be Apple or Windows. If your business name is Green Gurus, are you a marijuana retailer, a landscape gardener, or a fix and flipper of homes to turn a quick profit? Your tagline can be your saving grace and help flesh out what the heck it is you do.

Other tips for taglines:

- Keep it 5 words or less

- Look for double meanings (ask a Millenial since things are always changing)

- Alliteration is great - but stay away from metaphors

- Don't do something that is pop culture centric, no matter how much you love it.

What I Mean By Pop Culture

You're not Wendy's. Remember"Where's the Beef?" Cute. But don't jump on that bandwagon and do something like, "Where's the Data?" when you provide off-site data storage. When I was thinking of my own tagline, I really liked (and still do) the concept of "Your Words Have Power" and I thought. "It's Time to Take Your Power Back" Recognize the popular culture connotation? If so, I'm sure we'd be fast friends. Without Tom Morello's (could I be any more obvious?) guitar, it just didn't have the same panache as it did in my head.

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