TaglineGuru It's your brand on the line. (sm)

Hi, my name is Eric Swartz…and I'm a man of few words. I write taglines and slogans for a living. And I like to think and speak at length about them.

Since sloganeering is a blend of art and persuasion, my inspiration comes from the world of advertising, politics, entertainment, popular culture, and, of course, everyday language.

I enjoy distilling the message and meaning of big ideas and then crafting compelling and memorable ways to communicate them. That gets my juices flowing.

Words are my stock-in-trade. But it goes deeper than that. I like to think of myself as a verbal branding professional – someone who uses concepts, names, slogans, phrases, and messages of all kinds to define, build, and cultivate brands.

I started out as an advertising copywriter. That led to grantswriting and TV writing, and then to the world of marketing. I spent a total of 17 years working at SPRINT, Ziff-Davis, and Thomson building a career in market management, international marketing, and marketing communications (e.g., advertising, direct response, public relations, etc.), in addition to dabbling in sales promotion, sales development, and sales management.

Looking back, I think I was meant to be a marketer and professional communicator. My academic background was well-suited for it. Nope, I didn't go to business school. Instead, I studied communications (both grad and undergrad). My coursework ran the gamut from rhetoric, linguistics, and semiotics to psychology, cultural anthropology, and visual communication.

There's an art to marketing, which makes it one of the more creative and synthetic of disciplines. Of all its aspects, marketing communications was the area in which I excelled the most. That's because I never stopped being a wordsmith or working copywriter. I always made it central to my job. As the go-to message guy, I was often called upon to craft the company vision and position into language that was rhetorically persuasive and strategically competitive.

In 1996, I decided to leave the corporate workplace and start up my own branding agency, The Byline Group. One of the first things I did was to create a discovery tool for auditing, assessing, and analyzing my clients' brands. Since that time, I have conducted well over a hundred brand audits, which have proven to be successful in building and renovating brand identities, articulating and clarifying messages, and strengthening competitive positions.

The short-form copywriting I started doing in 1975 also grew into a full-fledged business, which I named Tagline Guru (now a division of The Byline Group). I can't recall exactly how many slogans and other types of brand expressions I've created over the years, but they number more than 40,000.

My tagline work has been enthusiastically applied to companies, products, non-profit associations, government agencies, public corporations, cities, regions, destination marketing organizations, universities, movies, books, magazines, newsletters, blogs, contests, events, politicians, television characters, and even stand-up comedians.

To formalize my branding work for destinations, I created another division called Great Destinotions, which serves the aspirations of communities and public consortia involved in promoting tourism, recreation, and economic development.

I lecture occasionally (The Commonwealth Club of California, Golden Gate University), write articles, conduct surveys, and contribute to magazines and blogs. I still get a kick out of being interviewed by newspaper reporters and online columnists who have discovered the joy of taglines and want my opinion on the subject. I'm always thrilled to share my passion because I love what I do.

To make sure I keep honing my language skills and mastery of the bon mot, I pay considerable attention to punchy ad copy, funny headlines, and bouncy jingles, and enjoy reading reference books replete with witty proverbs, pithy quotations, clever catchphrases, and memorable movie dialogue. I'm also an avid Scrabble® player.

Guess you could say I scratched an itch…and found my niche.

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