The Jewish warriors of the Chanukah story were no match for the military might of the Ancient Greeks. But they used their blazing faith in G-d to rally their spirits and send a clear message of their intentions to the world.
In doing so, they may have been the first in history to leverage the power of branding. By that I mean they gave themselves a name and a tagline that powerfully and succinctly conveyed their essence and purpose to the world.
According to the story tape my kids were listening to yesterday, Judah son of Mattisyahu the High Priest, the leader of the Jewish rebels, engraved four Hebrew letters onto his shield.
So were the ancient Jewish warriors the first organization in history to leverage the power of branding?
The Story of the Maccabee Brand
There are 2 common approaches to the source of the Maccabee brand:
1. Some say it is an Acronym for “Mi Kamocha B’Elim Hashem” – “Who is like You among the mighty ones, G-d.” This phrase is taken from Exodus 15:11, where it is part of the Song of the Sea, sung by the Jewish People to praise G-d for his victory over the Egyptians after the crossing of the Red Sea. This Torah verse strongly conveys the Maccabee message of faith in victory despite being vastly overpowered by the enemy, as well as a stark acknowledgement that this victory is Divinely ordained.
2. Some say the word Maccabee is derived from the Hebrew word “Makevet,” which means “hammer.” This conveys a more war-like message, designed to inspire fear in hearts of the Greeks and confidence in the hearts of Jews.
In any case, the Maccabees’ struggle against the Greeks dates back 2,200 years, could be the first time in history that a person or organization used a clever slogan to maximize the impact of their message.
Meanwhile, Two Millenia Later…
Nowadays, I see many business and organizations struggling to clarify what their slogan or tagline should be. So many don’t even have a tagline. This is a shame because that simple thing can have a big impact on conveying your brand message immediately and powerfully to everyone who visits your website or encounters your marketing material.
According to Website Optimization Expert D Bnonn Tennant, we are all conditioned to glance at the top left-hand corner within seconds of arriving on a new website, in order to answer the question: “Where am I?” That’s why your name, logo and tagline need to sit right there. That’s why your name, logo and tagline need to clearly convey what it is that you do.
Considering that your Tagline should be only 2-6 words long, you don’t have space for flowery puns and other shtik. Just tell us what you do in concise, clean language.
It’s true that big established brands can successfully give themselves poetic, funky taglines, but that doesn’t mean that it’s right for everyone. For example, long ago Coca Cola branded themselves as “The Drink that Refreshes.” After a few decades everyone already knows what Coke is, and such a descriptive tagline is redundant. Nowadays they are “The Real Thing,” or whatever their latest tagline is. (Actually in the chareidi neighborhood of Jerusalem where I live, Coke brands itself as “The Essence of Shabbos Enjoyment” or some such marketing nonsense that we are slowly starting to believe!)
So don’t make the mistake of thinking you are Coca Cola (yet). Choose a tagline conveys who you are and what you do with clarity and simplicity. Don’t get fancy. Don’t. use. Periods. In. Between. Words. (as is currently the fad.)
We’ve all had the experience of landing on a website and not being able to figure out where we are.
It’s bad for business!
A good tagline solves this problem in an instant.
And What About This Blog?
Currently the tagline of this blog is “Business and Marketing with a Soul.” Two years ago I thought that was oh-so-clever. Now I see it is just confusing. What on earth does that mean anyway?
Something different to everyone!
I’m going to take my own advice. I’m hereby officially changing the tagline of this blog.
In truth, when I created it I wasn’t sure what direction this blog was going, so I purposely kept it vague. But over the past two years, I have developed a stronger brand for this blog, so the time has now come to give it a tagline that conveys its message instantaneously.
The new name and tagline of this blog is now: My Parnasa: The Jewish Business Blog. (Just give me some time to update the header and everything )
It took me some brainstorming to come up with my new tagline. But since I settled on it, it seems perfectly obvious that this is the essence of my blog. And I love it!!
So give yourself the gift of high-impact branding this Chanukah!
Get a new tagline that tells the world what you’re about!