From the March 2009 issue of Entrepreneur

Fly the friendly skies." "We try harder." "Don't leave home without it." That little plug after your company name or logo can give your customers more clarity about your brand and a fast-pitch sell in just a few short words. And there's no doubt a new tag line can give your brand a boost.

If you're an established business with a tag line that's a bit tired, there's hope for you yet, says Allen Weiss, founder and CEO of MarketingProfs.com, an online marketing know-how resource with approximately 320,000 subscribers. Weiss and his team recently went through a tag line change of their own for the website (the new line is "Smart thinking. Pass it on"). Here are a few tips he shares from the process:

  • Focus on benefits. Assuming you've mastered the Marketing 101 edict of "know your audience," the next step is to determine what you want to say. "You have to understand the benefits they care about most," Weiss says. For example, if customers care about a balance between performance and price, over-emphasizing either one could be a turn-off. They may believe that an inexpensive product won't perform well but that superior performance is too costly.
  • Start from scratch. Weiss says reinventing your tag line is different from re-inventing your brand. It's not necessary to stick to themes in your former tag, especially if your business has changed. If you started selling on price, then the business changed and customers cared more about service, changing the tag is fine. "You wouldn't just blow up the whole brand and start over," he explains, "but with the tag line, you can."
  • Get help. Weiss says it's a good idea to consult a professional writer or branding company to help craft your tag line, especially if you struggle with words. If your budget is a little too tight for that, he suggests visiting virtual watering holes where marketers congregate. MarketingProfs, for example, offers a free membership that grants access to its forums, where an entire section is devoted to tag lines. Weiss says that marketers often answer requests for help with tag lines there--gratis. Other free forums include copywriting.com and smallbusinessbrief.com.
  • Test it out. Before you order a three-year supply of stationery and business cards, make sure your tag line works. Weiss says it's difficult to apply metrics to tag lines. Success lies in whether or not people get it, so ask your customers what the new tag line idea means to them and weigh the results. At the same time, don't panic if some don't like it. "Some people just don't like change," he says. "You have to ask questions about what they don't like to find out if they're just reacting to change or if the tag isn't getting across."