A tagline is a short, punchy sentence (sentence fragments are okay, too) that quickly and memorably communicates what your business is about. It’s often (but not always) used along with your brand logo. A tagline is not a slogan. A slogan is a temporary “tagline” used in marketing campaigns. Those marketing campaigns may run for a long time, but slogans are attached to specific campaigns, not the brand name or logo. Taglines are more permanent than slogans, but sometimes slogans perform so well that they become taglines.
They are hard to write. If you get it wrong, you’ll have to live with your terrible tagline being what’s memorable about your business.
That said, a tagline can also force you to focus your business in just a handful of words; it can serve as a reminder to both you and your audience about exactly what it is you do; and, when done well, it’s an easily-repeatable, word-of-mouth marketing tool.
Note that some of the companies mentioned in this article have updated their branding. I’ve mentioned their most popular taglines, but not necessarily their most recent ones.
You don’t even realize you see a company’s tagline as much as you do.
- I’m lovin’ it (McDonald’s)
- Just do it (Nike)
- Think different (Apple)
Companies advertise their slogans repeatedly and everywhere – it’s on their advertisements, packaging, websites and storefronts, and in their jingles.
You may not have the budget to advertise like crazy, but it doesn’t cost anything extra to use your tagline everywhere your brand is present.
Why Would You Need a Tagline?
There’s an interesting quote from Andy Crestodina, Orbit Media’s strategic direction, in this article on Enchanting Marketing. He makes a case for getting rid of their company tagline “digital design and production,” saying that they didn’t see any value in keeping it and it seemed to create visual clutter more than anything else.
Fair, but re-read that line: digital design and production. I would argue that this isn’t truly a tagline. It’s not catchy or creative; it’s just a description. Maybe they don’t need or want a tagline – but IMHO they haven’t experimented with one yet, either (at least not in this case).
How to Create Tagline?
Understand Your Audience
Before creating a tagline for your business, you must understand your target audience. If the best taglines tug on the emotions, then you must first understand the emotional pain points of your customers. Your customers are mostly working moms, then an issue they face might be lack of time to finish everything. If your tagline shows how your product solves that problem, you’ve hit gold with those few words.
Brainstorm Your Business
Writing an effective tagline and summarizing your business in a few words is quite a challenge. Take the time to figure out what your business is about. One of the simplest ways to figure out words that define you as a brand is to get a large piece of paper or a whiteboard and start writing what comes to mind. Connect related words with lines and circle the ones with power.
Once you have a sheet with some words, start drawing on what you have and putting them together into a phrase that defines who you are, what you do, or the problem you solve.
Meow Mix has an easy-to-remember tagline that gets right to the heart of what it does — create good-tasting food for cats. The tag-line reads “So good, cats ask for it by name.” You’ve likely heard the line used in its television commercials along with cats meowing as though asking for the food.
Study the Competition
A tagline is your opportunity to stand out from competitors. The last thing you want is a tagline that is eerily similar to one already in use.
Take the time to make a list of all the taglines your competitors use. If you know what they’re using, you can ensure you don’t accidentally create a similar tag-line. Make a list of the most powerful words used by competitors and double-check you aren’t using similar words or phrasing.
Know Your Business Goals To Create a Tagline
Know your business goals and the purpose of your company so you can reflect this in everything you do, including your tagline. If you want to change the world one product at a time, your tag-line should reflect that far-reaching goal while also explaining the product.
A tagline says a lot with a little, but you must first know your direction and the unique selling proposition (USP) of your company so you can communicate it to consumers.