An ad agency approached me one Tuesday morning with a real emergency project. Their client, a surgical instrument company (name changed for privacy), was just about to launch a new marketing initiative. But the word had just come down from the top that their existing tagline was too outdated, and wouldn’t be used.
They needed a new tagline, they needed it yesterday, and the client didn’t like anything the ad agency had come up with in-house. Could I help?
Absolutely, I said. How soon can you get your client on the phone?
That afternoon, we had a conference call (where I was introduced as a “new member of the team”). The client was understandably agitated about the tight deadline. They needed something by the end of the week, and everyone was out of ideas.
I couldn’t resist asking, “So, your current surgical tagline just won’t . . . cut it?”
After a few grudging chuckles, the tension was broken, the client relaxed, and the whole story came spilling out. They were launching a new flagship line of surgical instruments. They needed a tagline that really resonated with all of the decision-makers involved.
As I walked them through an informational interview, asking questions about the company, their products, their competition, and so on, I began to see where everything had gone off the rails.
Their current tagline essentially said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “We’re an economical choice, so why not save a few bucks and switch to us?”
That was not at all the message they wanted to send. Not anymore.
Their new line of surgical instruments were top-quality. Precision devices. Better than anything that was currently on the market. Not only that, they worked faster and more efficiently than the competition.
That meant surgeries would be shorter, recovery time would be quicker, and patients could get back to their normal lives sooner.
These were not only the very highest-quality instruments, they ultimately improved the lives of the patients, and that was the real value.
Over the next few days, after brainstorming more than 100 taglines, ranging from the solemn (“When Every Minute Counts”) to the plainspoken (“Designed for Today’s OR”) to the just plain ridiculous (“We Don’t Cut Corners!”), I sent the ad agency a dozen of my best ideas.
Almost immediately, the client chose my favorite tagline: “Instruments For Life.”
It speaks to the fact that not only are these instruments so high-quality that they come with a lifetime guarantee, but more importantly, they improve the quality of life for the patients. The client was 100% satisfied, and the new initiative launched on time. That’s a win-win all around.