What’s in a Good Tagline?

Ah, taglines – you either love them or you hate them. Although they are short, they can cause a lot of grief. Coming up with a tagline can often be a lengthy process. You can choose to be humorous, serious, informative, or straightforward with your tagline. No matter which angle you chose, your tagline will set the tone and feeling for your brand. (No pressure!)

However, when it comes to creating a tagline, there are a few guiding principles to help you. Your approach to creating a tagline will vary from business to business, depending on what it is you do and who it is you serve.

Here are five guidelines to follow when crafting a tagline:

Be clear/functional

This is so important! Many people get caught up trying to make their tagline catchy or memorable that they ultimately lose sight of what it is they were trying to say. An unclear or vague tagline will only confuse your potential consumers and make them less likely to engage with your business. To avoid this, your tagline needs to be functional, direct, and appropriate for your industry.

Tell a story

What is your company story? Does it conjure up a certain emotion or feeling? Use your unique story as an integral part of your tagline. Having a story makes it easy for consumers to understand and relate to your brand. Communicating that feeling in your tagline, in an authentic way, makes for a great branding strategy.

Short & simple

When in doubt, keep it short and simple. Don’t overcomplicate your message with lengthy or intricate tagline statements. A potential customer should be able to read your logo and tagline and understand exactly what it is you do or provide. Most consumers won’t understand or enjoy a wordy tagline, or worse, they may not even bother to read it.

Experiment with different versions

So once you narrow down a concept or theme for your tagline, try scribbling out a few different versions. Change up the wording, test different formats or sentence structures, and see which version makes the most powerful impact. It also helps to get feedback from other people or employees to gather multiple opinions. Finally, try giving it a read out loud. You might be surprised (in either a good or bad way) by how sounds when spoken! These are all things you want to test and consider beforehand.

What is your why, or your “true” value?

Taglines can present an amazing opportunity to speak directly to your audience and share your true value, your motivation. Consider the Nike tagline, “Just do it.” They sell shoes that allow you to walk comfortably and play sports, yet their tagline is motivational – push your self, excel, be bold. That is the true value and message behind the brand. Apple does the same thing with their tagline, “Think Different”. Yes, this works for the big brands, but how do you apply this to every brand? Maybe you sell financial services, but what you are really selling is security. Or if you sell tomato sauce, you may be selling family recipes or creating traditions. Use your tagline to connect on a higher level with your audience, in a meaningful and authentic way.

Don’t write it and leave it – incorporate it!

Once you craft your final tagline, consider ways in which you can incorporate it into your existing logo design. If you want the tagline to be closely associated with your brand, then this is a good way to create that linkage. Taglines can usually be tucked into or around the logo in an aesthetically pleasing way. This way, your brand’s visual identity will support the language.

What are some of your favorite brand taglines? What stands out or is memorable to you? Do you have any other guidelines that you follow? I’d love to hear from you in the space below.