Respect The Unexpected
A great tagline can be a powerful thing, reinforcing a company’s look and logo, and driving the brand message home. Some of the best ones get woven into the fabric of our popular culture. But my favorite taglines are those that stick with you, give you something to think about, and maybe even offer a nugget of philosophy, a moment of clarity when you least expect it.
One of our favorites around here is the short phrase we came up with for that fiercely independent little record label, Plowboy Records. While firmly rooted in time-honored Nashville tradition, they’ve managed to grow an artist roster that gleefully and willfully ignores prescribed genres or categories of any kind. Plowboy’s tagline, “Respect The Unexpected,” came to us in a flash of inspiration and perfectly captured the label’s raison d’être.
A few weeks back, with a frenetic work schedule in front of me, I was awakened by a Monday morning phone call. I was urgently needed, a thousand miles to the north, to take care of a family matter (don’t worry, all’s well!).
If you’ve never driven through Iowa on a sunny, snow-covered, blue-sky day, you really ought to give it a shot. It was just me, the barren cornfields, the occasional semi-truck, and miles and miles of Iowa, and it was great. I hit the satellite radio, stepped on the gas and found myself truly relaxing for the first time in quite a while. I may have had to postpone a few meetings and appointments, but I conjured up some good ideas on that long ride, including another killer tagline. In other words, I made the best of it.
I can’t remember a day (or a week or a year) that went exactly as I planned, so when things do come along completely out of nowhere, as they almost always seem to do, it’s sometimes best to just give those out-of-left-field surprises the deference they deserve, and gain a little clarity in the process. Here comes that tagline again, “Respect The Unexpected.”