If Christmas had a strapline

By Angela Bensemann, Director Halo Communications

Merry Christmas everyone and happy holidays to all. I thought I’d take a seasonal approach to my thoughts on the difference between a strapline and a key message.

For whatever reason we often struggle with proper key messages that explain what we’re doing, it can be easier to fall back on short sharp one-liners (straplines).

To me the strapline is a clever tool for positioning your brand (think Nike: Just do it) or explaining who you are or what you do when your logo or name is a bit obscure (think: Urbanplus: property that builds communities).

The dictionary says a strapline is a short, easily remembered phrase used by an organization so that people will recognize it or its products.

That really captures the fact that a strapline is a marketing device.

Key messages, in my opinion, capture the authentic explanation of who you are and what you’re doing. It’s your chance to use the type of language that reflects your brand and resonates with your audience.

Your tone might be informal and fun, or it might be authoritative and formal. You might want to engage with your audience like a close friend or you might be wielding a big stick and telling people what they need to do to avoid getting into trouble.

So how does this relate to Christmas?

Well if Christmas had its own strapline it might be; Christmas: the most wonderful time of the year.

It’s a catchphrase, it’s something the marketers can roll out and reuse time and time again.

Key messages for Christmas would be somewhat different and might be something like this:

  • Christmas is a Christian celebration recognising the birth of Jesus
  • It’s usually observed on 25 December and is often a public holiday
  • There’s lots of different customs for celebrating including Father Christmas leaving a stocking for children, family get-togethers, present giving, Christmas decorations, Christmas trees and lights

As you can see there are quite different purposes for key messages and straplines, and both have their place.

Merry Christmas and remember whether you believe in the origins of Christmas or not – it’s the most wonderful time of the year!