I am sure when you ask organizational members if they can recall the essence of the vision or mission statement of their company – the answer most likely is ‘no’ or ‘not very sure’. But they do remember the tagline very well. A tagline is a common tool to promote brands. However there are several examples of tag lines adding more appeal to a company’s mission statement. In such cases a tagline becomes a punch line which strikingly sums up what a company believes in.

Absolutely – Positively – Overnight!

The original tagline of FedEx used to be “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” Just the three words absolutely – positively – overnight best described Fred Smith, founder, president and CEO (FedEx) strategy and business model and perhaps served as a mission statement. The tagline had a powerful emotional appeal FedEx Delivery Van to all the stakeholders. Its employees everywhere could imbibe and live the spirit of the mission. Come what may they had to play their own roles to ensure integrity of ‘the three words’. To the customer it became a value proposition.

In 1992 when FedEx decided to expand overseas it changed its tagline to  FedEx Air image “The World on Time.” Here the tagline not only drives the brand but also powers  its mission as – speed and efficiency globally.

Can the tagline of KINGFISHER Airlines, Fly the Good Times with KINGFISHER Airlines also serve as its mission statement?

Kingfisher airline tagline

Kingfisher airline tagline

The answer will depend upon whether Kingfisher can build its group strategy and business model on the tagline. After the merger with Deccan a low cost airline it had to create Kingfisher Red, known formerly as Simplifly Deccan and prior to that as Air Deccan, is a low-cost airline. Therefore strategy formulation on its tagline will can pose a challenge as the focus will be difficult to maintain.

Examples of taglines that power the strategy

Wal-Mart – Always low prices

McDonald’s – I’m lovin’ it

Nike – Just do it

Disney – To make people happy

Mission statement aligns better to the company strategy

A mission statement is the bedrock of a company strategy and a tagline can only in exceptional cases irresistibly project  the mission and strategy  of the company.  If the brand tagline focus is on the customers then a mission statement is directed to the customers and employees – in fact to all stakeholders.

Therefore it is best to us these ‘strategy drivers’ in their respective classical context.


About Dilip

An open mind! Love to share my thoughts and a keenness to learn. An engineer and a MBA I had a wonderful innings in the Army and later moved to consultancy and teaching. My current interests are music and growing culinary herbs. Love to play golf and do yoga regularly. I am serious on "Living life less seriously". A warm welcome to you be well and be cheerful always.

5 responses

  1. Ashish Mahto says:

    Absolutely Sir, Tag line is the first thing which attracts me as a consumer. I believe it describes the whole business, their values and the intent of customer satisfaction. Also, it can do wonders for the company if it can fit the bracket of their mission statement as well.
    Ashish Mahto


  2. Dilip Naidu says:

    Interesting comment received in my discussion post at the India HR Forum at LinkedIn from Mr Vishvanath Godbole, The Founder CEO of MI Initiatives and Outbound Training – Pune are given below for viewers benefit:

    “An excellent article, Connect between Mission and a Tag line is very nicely brought out. A case of Kingfisher is also rightly conveyed.

    Every time one doesn’t send across their Mission Statement with each mail but to convey the same to the customer, tagline certainly would come handy and FedEx has understood it well and able to deliver it well, in a simple manner.

    “However, isn’t it the case with many corporates, the Mission remains to be little ambiguous or may be there is a little connect between Mission and their actual work, may be it takes time for the organisation to stabilize and understand itself before going ahead with real Vision and Mission. Though I have given here another topic for discussion!!!

    Thanks for sharing your valued thoughts”


  3. Dilip Naidu says:

    Thanks Navinder! Your suggestion is super indeed. My interactions with corporate too reveal the need to ponder and gain deeper insights in understanding the purpose of vision and mission,



  4. Navinder says:

    A nice article on the tag lines and the mission statement. Maybe another article explaining the difference between the Mission Statement and the Vision Statement would serve the purpose.