Three word taglines for nonprofits: Creativity. Is. Dead.

I feel like I’m seeing three (period-separated) word taglines everywhere I turn. I don’t know if they are making a comeback, are gaining popularity, or have just been a prevalent (and boring) staple for years, but I can’t seem to escape them lately.

Without naming organizations/individuals/campaigns, here are a few three word taglines I’ve seen in the last week – without seeking them out.

  • Wisdom. Power. Change.
  • Young. Professional. Connected.
  • People. Planet. Profits.
  • Live. Learn. Cure.

This one doesn’t exactly fit the criteria, but I’d say it can safely be grouped in:

  • Give. Gift. Feel Good.

I was going to write about the overuse of this format. But then I found this great 2010 post from Tate Linden targeted specifically to nonprofits, with many excellent arguments against the three word tagline. If you are considering such a tagline, please read Tate’s article first!

All I can add is that the three word tagline seems to be in a further downward spiral. Look at the ‘People. Planet. Profits.’ example. Nouns? With adjectives, we know what you’re saying (whether we buy it or not). Verbs tell us what you’re doing (though they can get confusing – are you telling us what to do, or what you’re doing?). But when an organization starts using nouns, it is just too lazy. A tagline is an opportunity to communicate your brand – not have your audience try to figure it out for you!

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