By Jenny Fujita and Joy K. Miura, Fujita & Miura Public Relations

When we hear, “We Love To See You Smile,” we immediately think of McDonald`s, and “Just Do It” conjures up images of Nike’s swoosh. Taglines capture a company’s essence, mission, and style in one clever little phrase. They are invaluable public relations (PR) tools for concisely communicating critical business information and developing brand and name recognition.

Originality is crucial when it comes to developing an effective tagline. Today’s consumers are wading through piles of promotional clutter and businesses are fighting to distinguish themselves from one another. To compete, some companies are incorporating their business’ name into their tagline and using semantics to create an entirely new meaning for that name.

Yahoo!, the Internet search engine, and Bank of Hawaii (BOH) have both utilized this method. Yahoo!’s tagline, “How Do You Yahoo!?” evolves the company name from a noun into a verb. Transforming “Yahoo!” into an action word and using it in the form of a question stimulates people to think about the company and its products, as well as the experience of using the service. Although this tagline does not provide any insight about what type of company Yahoo! is – after all, Yahoo! is already well-known — it sets Yahoo! up as the search engine of choice for customers who want to research and buy anything online at any time from any place in the world.

Taglines can also promote special programs. BOH’s new Bankohana program features the tagline “We Bankohana You.” Again, by changing “Bankohana” from a noun into a verb, BOH helps people focus on what Bankohana can offer them. Also, both this tagline and Yahoo!’s use the term “You,” which is a skillful way of speaking directly to customers.

Creating the right tagline can take your business to the next level and motivate current and potential customers to choose you over competitors.

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