Take another look at the list you created while thinking about your potential client’s wants & ask yourself:
Can we turn our customer's wants into a statement?
Now that you have the beginnings of an answer, dive into today’s session. Click the play button below to listen.
3 Big Ideas
Before taking the next step to revise your answers, revisit the major concepts in this session:
Selfish marketing is bad marketing.
→ Too many gyms - too many businesses, really - spend all their energy trying to make the case for why their service is better, different, or more effective without any consideration given to the individual they’re trying to reach & influence. But here’s the thing: We are all exposed to upwards of 3,000 marketing messages every single day. That’s an incredible amount of noise. The only way we make it through a day without losing our minds is that we’ve learned to shut most of those messages out. We've learned to look right past them in an effort to burn as few calories as possible.
An effective tagline is born out of what your customers want, not what you want.
→ When you build your tagline with your prospective customers’ wants in mind, you take a very real step in avoiding this common mistake. You make your marketing about them & not about you. He doesn’t care about you. He cares about himself. Let’s meet him where he is.
Your branding should to strive to tell one specific story throughout the entire business.
→ Does how you’re communicating your expertise match your tagline/one-liner combo? Is the process you have to start speaking the same language as your core values? Does anything feel out of place, like a single kettlebell sitting atop a rack of dumbbells? Good editing is all about removing the extraneous bits & pieces standing in the way of clarity & cohesion.
All the Words
In the last session, we went through the process of editing our What & How statement with an eye toward simplicity, brevity, & clarity. Today’s session is going to be similar. This time around we’re going to look at the list of your customers' wants in pursuit of a short, pithy statement that will serve as your gym’s new tagline.
Why is your tagline important? Here are three reasons:
In later sessions, we’ll work to reduce the number of words on your website & marketing materials by what will feel like an astronomical amount. When we do that, we’ll see that every word we choose will begin to matter immensely. A smart, precise tagline will grab the reader, create a little bit of tension, & encourage them to keep exploring.
You can & should share your tagline everywhere - from t-shirts to car decals to banners in the gym. For this reason, it needs to be short & descriptive of your gym’s mission.
Creating one gives you the opportunity to make sure your branding is cohesive across every possible area of your business. Your tagline will serve as the hub of the wheel that is your Brandwork document.
The process for turning your customers' wants into a tagline looks a lot like the one we walked through during our last session.
The first thing you want to do is find the one big idea inside your list. Then you want to start exploring options within the given constraints. This time around, you want to create a tagline that is seven words or less, & formatted as a declarative statement. Some of the most well-known taglines worth modeling include: “Because I’m worth it,” from L’Oreal, “Impossible is Nothing,” from Adidas, & “Yes We Can” from Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. A quick Google search of “best tagline ever” will give you even more examples.
Given that the process is like the one in our last session, we're going to focus today on why we're building it this way & what to do with it once you've got a tagline you love.
You’ll notice that you’re building it from your list of customer wants & not from, say, the answer to the question of the change you’re seeking to instigate. The reason for this is simple: Your marketing & messaging needs to be obsessed with the people you’re seeking to serve. It needs to be obsessed with their wants, their beliefs, & their problems.
Too many gyms - too many businesses, really - spend all their energy trying to make the case for why their service is better, different, or more effective without any consideration given to the individual they’re trying to reach & influence. But here’s the thing: We are all exposed to upwards of 3,000 marketing messages every single day. That’s an incredible amount of noise. The only way we make it through a day without losing our minds is that we’ve learned to shut most of those messages out. We've learned to look right past them in an effort to burn as few calories as possible.
It's easy to do because most marketing is selfish. Selfish marketing is less effective because every single person who encounters it is also selfish. Every single person is asking herself: "What's in it for me?"
Selfish marketing doesn't give her an answer she can work with.
If you don't want to simply add more noise to the universe, you need to obsess over how to answer that question in your messaging.
When you build your tagline with your prospective customers’ wants in mind, you take a very real step in avoiding this common mistake. You make your marketing about them & not about you. He doesn’t care about you. He cares about himself. Let’s meet him where he is.
Let’s not stop there, though.
As I said at the start of the last session, you're at the place in this process where it makes sense to pause, look back at what you’ve got so far, & make sure that everything is lining up. You want to look at your Brandwork document with an eye toward clarity & cohesion. Your new tagline is ground zero in that effort.
Let’s use one of our example gyms to show you what I mean.
At our Community Gym, they’ve created this tagline: “Better Health, Together.” As a reminder, they’ve also condensed their What & How Statement into a one-liner that reads: “Welcoming, encouraging, & supporting the whole family through fitness.”
The first thing you want to do at this stage is ensure that these two elements of your messaging speak the same language. They need to feel unified without being redundant.
A tagline like “Forging Elite Fitness” certainly doesn’t work with their one-liner. Neither would anything that speaks to increased work capacity or strength-gain. They’re not wrong or untrue - just inappropriate for this gym. Stylistically, they wouldn’t want a tagline that mentions fitness or family, since they’ve already used those words in their one-liner. Something like “Making Families Fitter” is great, but redundant. When we only have a few seconds to grab attention, we want to make sure we’re using each word to their greatest potential.
So we’ve got a one-liner & a tagline that agree with each other. The next step is to use this pairing to look back on the work you’ve done in Sections One & Two of this program. Remember that the first draft of anything often isn’t great. Only upon reflection can we start to refine our marketing.
The first place you should look is your list of core values. Can you draw a straight line between your values & your tagline/one-liner combo?
As a reminder, our Community Gym’s values are: Inclusivity, Fun, & Approachability. How do they match up? I would say they’re looking pretty good. I might argue that, of the three, “fun” stands out as being unrepresented in their tagline/one-liner combo. This leaves me asking two questions: First, does it run counter to the other values & to the tagline? In other words, is it at odds with them? If not, my second question would be whether it was necessary.
In the case of this gym, “fun” isn’t running in the opposite direction of the other values or to the tagline/one-liner combo. It doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. So that's good. But is it necessary? That’s where personal preference will come into play. For the operators of this gym, I imagine keeping it as a core value would be important, so we’ll leave it on the list.
From there, turn to your answers from Section Two. Start with the Public, Private, & Principle Problems & go through the same process we just went through. Then turn to the rest of your answers from that Section. Does how you’re communicating your expertise match your tagline/one-liner combo? Is the process you have to start speaking the same language as your core values? Does anything feel out of place, like a single kettlebell sitting atop a rack of dumbbells?
Good editing is all about removing the extraneous bits & pieces standing in the way of clarity & cohesion. As Seth Godin might say, it’s about transforming our marketing from a wandering generality to a meaningful specific.
Imagine if the filmmakers behind “Titanic” had included scenes about all the decisions that were made during the design & construction of the doomed ship? They might have been interesting! But every time the filmmakers cut away to them, they would've killed the momentum & the cohesion of telling their one, specific love story. The love story was the story they wanted to tell. Everything that wasn't about it had to go, no matter what.
Likewise, this process of reflection & revision is meant to get your brand telling one specific story across every aspect of your business.
I don’t for a second want to imply that it’s easy to do. It’s not. It’s a challenge to reduce something down to only its essential parts. It’s difficult to say no to things you love when they’re not the things you need.
But that’s one of the most important parts of your job: To learn how to filter through the million possible options in pursuit of the rare right ones.
It’s not easy, but it is worth it.
Time to Do Work
With what you just learned in mind, revisit your original answer. Open up your Brandwork Doc & create a memorable tagline.
Now that you’ve got a new tagline you feel good about, stress-test it against these questions:
Be honest: Is it more about you than it is about them? Remember that you are not the hero of this story - they are. Your tagline needs to reflect that.
Does your new tagline/one-liner combo work well together? Avoid using the same words in both - you only have so much space; make sure you take advantage of every syllable.
Do they reflect & build upon your stated values? Grab a piece of paper & put your values on one side & your new tagline/one-liner combo on the other. Stare at them. Does anything feel off?
You’ll be diving into Section Two in the next session with the aim of creating a series of customer-facing, tension-building questions. Here’s a quote from the writer Warren Berger:
"[Q]uestions challenge authority & disrupt established structures, processes, & systems, forcing people to have to at least think about doing something differently."