Test Driving My Tag Line



“They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.” — Confucius

I’m testing my new tag line and taking it for a test drive.

It’s Insight and Action for Getting Results.

I’ll share my story and what I’ve learned since it might help others whether you’re branding you, your blog, or your business.  Keep in mind, I’m not a brand master and I don’t play one on T.V. (though Robert Redford stepped on my foot while filming The Quiz Show, but that’s another story for another day.)

Effective Tag Lines are in the Eye of the Beholder

Anyway, I’ve been revisiting my tag line since Annabel posed the question: “Lifestyle design sounds far sexier than self improvement, personal development or self help, doesn’t it?”

It’s a good question, and it’s worth exploring.

Personally, I think sexy is in the eye of the beholder.  For example, if you’re on a personal development mission, then sites that use those words, become the apples of your eye.

Asking the Right Questions to Test a Tag Line

Unfortunately, when I started cycling through potential tag lines, I didn’t have a great set of tests for success.  Now I do:

  • What’s in the box?
  • What works well on a t-shirt?
  • What’s sticky in the halls?
  • What can you say to another person live without feeling weird or sounding hokey?
  • What can you say that promises a benefit in a nutshell?

Some tag lines passed the “pithy and precise” test, but didn’t resonate.  Some passed the technically accurate, but failed the “what works well on a T-shirt?” test.  For example, while I focus on personal effectiveness, that’s just a piece of the puzzle and some said it’s “cold.”  “Results” has sizzle (and sell the sizzle, not the steak.)

A Simple Way to Test a Tag Line

I’m a fan of asking the right people the right questions and testing results.  There are plenty of people smarter than me that are more than happy to share their know-how and expertise.

I just have to ask.

I asked people far and wide from every Joe’s to engineers to marketing maestros.  However, until I had my tests for success, I couldn’t pick a winner.

It was the tests for success that helped me parse the feedback.

Breaking Some Rules

Sometimes you just have to break the rules.  I’m breaking a couple of golden branding rules.  For example, “results” isn’t a well-known category like “personal development.”

I’m also going against the rule that the specific is better than the general and that you win by narrowing your focus.

I agree that’s true, but for me, I’d rather go Renaissance Man and generalize over specialize — and leave getting results wide open.

One of my mentors echoed that point, saying that I help anybody do anything better, and that’s my super skill.

The Winner (for Now)

For now, I’m test-driving “Insight and Action for Getting Results.”  My previous manager said that I’m all about “getting results” and that he’s never seen anybody learn and improve in a shorter time.  “Insight” is a fun little word, and coupled with “action” means we’re going to use this or apply it somehow.

Getting Results is pretty sticky and I bridge work and life.  I focus on mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships and fun, which I think are key hot spots for life.

If you flip through my past posts, you’ll find everything from lessons from Oprah, to improving decision making, to dealing with tough bosses, to skilled happiness, to using stress to be your best., to feeling good.  It’s an eclectic set of patterns and practices for success in work and life.

Why do I say, “for now”?  Because I’m a believer that branding is a journey of continuous learning and refinement … and sometimes it’s just a plain “do-over.”

Photo by Rene Ehrhardt.


  1. Well, this is exciting! I agree, effectiveness was a bit long and not that sexy. Words like winner, results or success have so much more appeal to the masses and let’s face it, we need to appeal to the masses or else our message may not be heard.

    I have to say I think you’re getting closer but not sure that you’ve cracked it yet. I had a vote on my blog once and let my readers choose their favorite out of 3 taglines and ended up very disappointed as they chose the old one! The other 2 ideas were fresh, new and exciting but they didn’t get a look in…

    Anyway, it would be fun to have a competition for a new tagline for you. Here are a few ideas of the top of my head. I love this type of thing and could spend hours on it…

    Winning insights for fast results
    Insights and actions that get results

    There could be a fun play on words between insight and incite too…

    Let’s keep thinking about it!

  2. Of the 33 Ways to be Remarkable from <a href="http://www.upgradereality.com/"Upgrade Reality, there is this nugget:

    3.Come Up With Your Own Sayings
    Come up with your own quirky and original sayings. People will take notice and it may even catch on. By coming up with your own original sayings you stand out from everyone else who just uses clichés.

    Which seems to fit here quite nicely. You are being yourself and trying to find a way to frame that. While I can understand that it will evolve, you will also and maybe what you like will shift and this is a way of keeping your eye on the prize perhaps. I’m kind of surprised that there isn’t a right now on the end of the tag-line to imply that you try to give people things that can be used now and don’t take years of work to bear fruit.

  3. I applaud your courage for going against the grain. You’re right, “Results” isn’t a conventional category. But it ought to be. And from my perspective, it’s one sexy moniker. This wouldn’t be the first-time you’ve broken ground & hit a gold mine. I *know* there’s gold in them thar hills–my application of your work has liberated me. It was the key to Operation Seize My Life Back. Good luck!

  4. I agree with your manager!! You are one of the most amazing and wonderful fast learners, and sharp to assess the good stuff I know!!

    I would say adding the word “Positive” to your tagline would be a nice touch, since Sources Of Insight is an extremely positive land. “Positive Insight For Giant Results” , “Insight And Action For Positive People” ,”Insight And Action For Positive Results”. Just a few that come to me.

    However, by any tagline name, this blog would still be as super-sweet for inspiration. “Super-Sweet Sources Of Positive Stuff” ? 🙂

  5. This is a pretty good tag line. I didn’t even noticed it before you mentioned about it. What was your tag line before? I think the information on your blog has a lot of good insight and is well-suited for getting results.

  6. @ Annabel

    I like your suggestions. It’s interesting too that you focus on the plural — a few of my effective marketing friends suggested plurarl (insights and actions) over singular (insight and action.)

    I didn’t realize how important the work + life blend is for me. A lot of my posts are about leveraging lessons from work for skilled living.

    You got me thinking.

    @ JB

    That is a golden nugget and it does apply!

    There is definitely a now-ness, efficiency, and effectiveness to what I do — I’ll have to think about that. I think I rationalize it that getting results is an on-going process — a journey and destination.

    @ Jimmy

    Thank you. You’re right — there is gold in them thar hills and I’m a miner 49’er!

    @ Jannie

    Thank you!

    You’re top notch at teasing out the unspoken ambiance. I do try to set the stage for positivity and finding a way forward. When people land here, I want them to have a sense that they’ll find the answers they’re looking for to make the most of what they’ve got.

    “Giant Results” … I like that! It connects well with my mantra “Stand on the shoulders of giants!”

    @ Hulbert

    Thank you.

    It was “Proven Practices for Personal Effectiveness.” I can’t take anything away from it … it’s specific and defendable. I’m just not sure that “proven” has the right tone, or that “effectiveness” has the right zing.

  7. J.D., I like your new tagline! 😀
    I think its suits well, just one opinion but anyway I think its catchy, unique and Real! 😉

    I was thinking of you tonight as I was researching more ‘focusing on my strengths’ and bumped into Marcus Buckingham and The Ritz Carlton and Guy Doud and you popped into my mind too! I appreciate the wisdom you share here and the resources.

    I’m at the point in my life where I must think differently and immerse myself –steep myself in strengths or it won’t work. I know I must start living more boldly and clearly even before I feel that way. Thank you for your positive influence in my network


  8. @ Jenn

    Thank you!

    Buckingham is the man when it comes to strengths. Martin Seligman has some great research on strengths too.

    A simple frame that helps guide me is … follow the growth, play to your strengths, and create the experiences you want.

  9. Creating your brand is really finding out who you are and what you stand for. I’m in the process of doing this myself. I’m trying to make my mission as clear as possible, so people know what to expect. It’s not as easy as some people make it look. I love Leo of Zen Habits tag – Simple Productivity. It helps you understand exactly what you are getting.

  10. @ Annabel


    @ Karl

    It definitely is a process. Interestingly, now that I’ve latched on to “getting results”, more things are clicking and falling into place.

  11. JD, I stumbled on your site sometime ago and I Keep coming back. LOVE IT! Love the insight and knowledge that you share. As far as your “Test Drive” Tag Line. It’s good in my opinion, but if you want more brainstorming ideas….your last line of your post above….slightly edited…..it really does comes down to patterns, huh.

    Patterns and Practices for an Extraordinary Life

  12. @ Deborah

    Thank you!

    I like that … it connect to my patterns and practices core, and I’m a fan of extraordinary.

    Yes, so many things do come down to patterns.

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