I’m not sure if you’re aware, but there are universally accepted differences in the marketing community between a tagline, a slogan, and a company mantra. Do you know what they are?
In short, taglines and slogans are for your customers, while mantras are for your company. And it’s what your customers don’t see that really defines who you are.
Taglines and slogans are marketing
Taglines are short written statements that describe companies as a whole. They are usually powerful and memorable, two to four words, and often appearing inseparable from a logo. BMW’s Ultimate Driving Machine is a classic example.
Slogans, usually two to four words as well, are phrases associated with ad campaigns. They can be short lived, or they can last years—some to the point of becoming part of our cultural consciousness. Everyone has seen or heard Coca Cola’s It’s The Real Thing ad, first introduced in 1969, but if you read about Coca Cola’s slogan history, it might surprise you that they’ve had 20 more slogans for other ad campaigns since then.
When a slogan is really successful, it often gets promoted to a company’s tagline. Got Milk? for the California Milk Processor Board is an oft-cited example.
This means that even though taglines and slogans have different meanings and purposes, they do share one important thing in common–-they are external facing. They are part of your brand identity in the marketplace.
Mantras are values
Company mantras—unbeknownst to many—are internal facing. How many of you know that Nike’s mantra is Authentic Athletic Performance? They say this mantra drives all of their business decisions, including coming up with their incredibly successful Just Do It ad campaign slogan.
The word mantra has Sanskrit origins. The most literal translation is “instrument of thought”. Mantras are handed down by gurus, and repeated over and over by disciples to facilitate transformation. They too are usually two to four words.
Companies therefore use mantras to state and repeat core values that define who they are as people and as an organization. The best company mantras are truly guiding lights, which reflect the near-religious origins of mantras. Sometimes mantras define an organization so well, that the mantra becomes their tagline and slogan as well. Apple’s Think Differently and Google’s Don’t Be Evil are two examples that come to mind.
My wish as Jimdo grows up
At Jimdo, Pages to the People! is our tagline, slogan, and mantra. It’s in our corporate imagery, it tells others what we do, and it’s definitely a chant we repeat often. It defined Jimdo in 2007 when our three founders started the company, and it does the same today with 180 team members. It really means all three things to us. That’s awesome in my opinion, because it says Jimdo is focused.
Yet Jimdo is maturing as a company. As we continue to grow, I think it's inevitable that either our tagline, slogan, or mantra will change. If any one of those three do change, I hope we keep Pages to the People! as our mantra. There is the obvious reason—it is core to our product and service offering. There is also an intangible reason—it represents our passion for our culture, each other, our product, and our customers.
It’s the intangible reason that excites me. At Jimdo, we speak and act often on our passion. The press often writes about our culture, and not just our products. But our passion is also unspoken. It’s in our DNA and floats in the air at the same time. You don’t have to work at Jimdo to know that Pages to the People! is part of our branding or that we’re passionate. But you really do have to work here to understand what those four words mean to us as people on a profound level.
Simply put, it’s a guide and continuous reminder of why we’re here.
That— in my opinion—is the definition a company mantra.
Pages to the People!