“Did you just tagline me?!”

Elevator pitch, tagline, messaging
Don’t tagline someone at a cocktail party!

Last week at the Idaho Nonprofit Conference, I did a session on Mastering Your Message. We talked about the difference between messaging that is read vs said.

For instance, an elevator pitch is said and taglines are read. That’s why when you use your tagline as your elevator pitch, you end up “taglining” someone.

That’s right, thanks to an awesome workshop attendee, “to tagline” is now a verb. They were asked to share their current elevator pitch with their neighbors and as I wandered by one group, a woman looked up and said, “I think I just got taglined!”

Being taglined is no fun. It’s kind of creepy.

Take the American Cancer Society. They have a humdinger of a tagline: The official sponsor of birthdays. Now imagine you’re at a cocktail party chatting with someone who worked for them and they said: “I work for the American Cancer Society. We’re the official sponsor of birthdays.” Um, okay. Good for you. (Go away, creepy person who is coming on way to strong. That’s what you’d really be thinking.)

If you’re working on your messaging, start by perfecting your elevator pitch, then tackle your website copy and other social properties, and then your tagline. In that order.

Everyone wants to come up with the snazzy tagline. It’s way fun. And that’s why most organizations start there. But it’s much smoother, and completely un-creepy, to transition from messaging that is said to messaging that is read.

Have you ever been taglined?



Do you communicate as effectively as you think?


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?