More Than Just Words: Bringing Taglines to Life
February 12, 2016
Editor’s note: This post was contributed by Matt Rissell, CEO of TSheets. Matt’s posts provide insights on topics such as leadership and business strategy, as part of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions: Financial Services’ new editorial series focused on diving deep into topics that matter most to financial marketers.
As I discussed in my last post, creating a great tagline for your business can be labor-intensive. It’s not something I believe you can hire an outside agency to do for you and, as the leader of a company, the onus is on you to decide upon and develop your business’ core and foundational purpose. (In other words, you’ve got to put your heart into it).
I live and champion TSheets’ tagline, “We ♥ employees.” It serves as a constant reminder to our team that we’re here to change employees’ lives and, ultimately, the world. It also tells our current and prospective clients that we’re more than just a time-tracking company. We’re a company that cares. A company that isn’t afraid to put a heart in our tagline. A company that values employees and recognizes that their time is more than just a number on a timesheet. Consequently, we’re a company worth remembering.
Now, I also — and proudly — admit to have once said, “There’s no way we’re putting a heart in our tagline.” And I meant it. But if you take a look at our logo, you’ll discover that I lost that battle, and it may have been the first time in my life I was okay with losing.
I want to reflect on that experience and empower you see the full effect of your tagline in action — to help you talk the talk and walk the walk. It’s not magic. A tagline, while beneficial, isn’t enough on its own to push your company over the edge of success. But it is easier fulfill your potential if you can select a tagline that’s true to your core.
Begin by practicing what you preach.
Let’s start with the basics. If you don’t practice what you preach within your own company, how can you expect to deliver for your customers? It all starts from within.
Take a look at FedEx and its killer tagline, “The World on Time.” Would they be able to deliver the promise of that tagline if, internally, their systems and processes were disorganized and slow? Or if their employees were late to meetings and lacked in punctuality? I don’t think so.
Here at TSheets, “We ♥ employees” is upheld internally as much as it is externally. We adore our employees. We believe in them, we entrust them to do the best work of their lives, and we do everything within our power to help them succeed—which is exactly what our tagline promises. If we proclaimed, “We ♥ employees,” but our very own employees couldn’t attest to it, our customers and their employees wouldn’t be able to trust it either.
In short, if you want to spread your message to the world, you have to first infuse it within your own company. If you don’t walk the walk internally, you’re eventually going to experience a breakdown externally.
Require employees to have your tagline memorized.
Your team should know how your core values read, what they mean, and believe in their message. They should be able to speak to your company’s true mission anytime, anywhere—and no matter who’s asking.
Ask anyone at TSheets what “We ♥ employees” means, and I guarantee no one would tell you, “I don’t know,” or start preaching about the importance of timesheets. Instead, you would see our Customer Experience team members’ eyes light up as they talk about a recent customer success story or our company culture and collective desire to improve the lives of employees worldwide.
This attitude all stems from one of our core values: “Players: Attract and develop the best.” When it comes to pursuing our core purpose, we hire only the best and the brightest—and we hire them only if we truly believe they fit the TSheets DNA. If your employees can’t buy into your mission, your purpose, or your tagline, you’ve got a problem, either with your employees or your tagline.
Keep each decision in sync with your purpose.
Again, when your company is aligned with your purpose, practicing what you preach comes as second nature. But take it from me: As your business continues to grow, it’s going to become harder and harder for you to oversee every business decision. And the break between “aligned” and “not aligned” can become blurred.
This is the reason we hired a “Chief of Customer Defense.” It’s a C-level position, and this person is responsible for ensuring that every discussion we have about our product roadmap and every major decision we make as a company is in the best interest of the very people who use our app—employees. This person asks the tough questions and owns the responsibility of making sure our customers’ needs are met. As a result, we have never strayed from our purpose and have stayed true to our core. It’s that important.
Once your team is on board and your tagline’s nailed down, spread the word.
Marketing professionals will often tell you that you can’t appeal to everyone. But you can (and should) appeal to the individuals and groups that are core to your business. I suggest you start by appealing to the “connectors” within your industry. This group of people uses their rare combination of charisma, charm, and good intentions to make the world buzz—and they’re exactly who you need to spread your message.
In our arena, for example, those people are accountants—but no ordinary accountants. They’re driven bookkeepers and exceptional accounting professionals building successful and dynamic businesses on the strength of best-of-breed back-office technology. They know how to network. They recommend products to clients. They move and shake things up.
From surprise-and-delight welcome gifts to tradeshow-turned-party booths at major accounting conferences; from big-reward referral contests to daily social interaction, we continue to make a real connection with this core group. Every interaction emphasizes the heart of TSheets, and we’ve even been told that our employees seem to “bleed TSheets”—but that’s because their energy and genuine passion runs in their veins.
Great messaging that can stand the test of time is both harder and easier than it looks. It takes soul-searching, strategy, and precision-guided tactics, but once you’ve nailed your tagline and have a deep understanding of who you are, you can expect great things. Don’t get me wrong. Like I always tell my team, you’ll still have to work your face off. But I can say from experience that it’s worth putting your heart into it—in our case, literally!
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