Taglines are a powerful weapon for businesses to draw in customers and showcase value as a brand. Depending on your industry, business name, niche, specialty, and other factors, it can serve as a laser-focused tool to help connect with your audience.
With that in mind, creating a tagline for your business isn’t always easy. It needs to be specific enough to convey what your company does (differently from the competition), yet it needs to be concise and straightforward.
So how do you create the perfect tagline for your business? Check out our top ten tips to get a feel for the process and start taking the necessary steps to hone in on your brand’s future.
Table of Contents
- Why Are Taglines Powerful
- #1: Create a Brand Identity Sheet for Inspiration
- #2: Focus on Clarity
- #3: Avoid Generic
- #4: Convey the Benefits
- #5: Add Some Personality
- #6: Is There Time for a Story?
- #7: Play Up the Linguistics
- #8: Google is your Friend
- #9: Ask for Help
- #10: Take it for a Test Drive
Taglines provide a phrase for owners and marketing professionals to draw inspiration from, especially when creating content & branding materials. They can help prevent bottlenecks from occurring during any brainstorming phases (that will inevitably arise throughout the lifespan of a business). With a clear, succinct message, this can serve as the cornerstone of future advertising. You’ll have a clear message to send to consumers. Having that message dialed in and ready to go can make all the difference in terms of marketing strategies and brand recognition efforts.
Customers are drawn in by taglines even when they only have seconds to decide if they want to learn more about you. Once they land on your homepage (or see a short marketing ad on social media, for example), they will make a split-second decision on whether or not to click through. Your tagline is a tool that can be leveraged to keep customers interested in what you are offering. It helps keep them engaged and allows your materials to educate further.
Have you already developed a brand identity? If you haven’t, this is a significant first step. Write or type out all of the things that make up your brand. A short description, marketing materials, style guide (complete with typography and color scheme), and of course — your logo (if it already exists). Fill in this sheet with the most important details about your brand. Include your mission statement, messaging, benefits, overall value proposition, visual materials, and written marketing materials. Gathering this information in one place will help you use it more effectively moving forward.
Now that you have your brand identity sheet in front of you, what does it say as a whole? Do you feel like it represents your brand? Does it effectively represent your brand’s positioning in your industry and your messaging to customers?
If your brand identity sheet is truly representative of your brand, then it’s ready to be used to create your tagline. We want to make sure that your mission, promises, and messaging are all successfully conveyed.
Far too often entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses make the mistake of wanting to be cool, overly witty, or trendy when creating their tagline. The problem is that this can easily result in a phrase that comes across as lofty, complicated, or downright vague. Since taglines are linked to a world of split decisions and first impressions, clarity is of the utmost importance.
Taglines are meant to succinctly explain what you do as a business/product/service. It needs to be concise and explain exactly why your business matters.
What is your value proposition?
When potential customers arrive on your website or see your ad, you want them to quickly glance at your tagline and make the decision to learn more. If there’s any disconnect (or uncertainty about what your focus is), this becomes far more unlikely to occur.
If your tagline is so general that it applies to any business in existence, then you need to toss it. Your business is unique, and so is your industry. If your tagline would work for any company in your industry, then that’s ok, but it’s always worth taking the time to ensure that it’s custom-crafted.
Would your tagline make sense in the pet food industry, but also in the health/weight loss category? That’s a problem. You want a tagline that speaks to who you are as a person, business owner, and brand. The tagline is an opportunity to set yourself apart from your competitors. Showcase your strengths, tell your audience why they would benefit from your product/service.
What are the benefits of connecting with your brand? If needed, refer back to the brand identity sheet we mentioned earlier and go over the benefits that your business provides to customers. What can you do to harness these benefits and translate them into an intelligent, clear tagline?
One highly effective way to do this is to continue asking yourself, “Why?” and “Who cares?” when considering the benefits previously listed.
Do you sell premium dog food? …“Why?” “Who cares?”
You then might answer these questions with, “Pet owners who care about the health of their pet stand to benefit the most from premium dog food.”
Again, follow your new statement with the same questions. “Why?” “Who cares?”
“Pets are part of the family. Therefore, they should be treated like family in every way, shape, and form. Poor food quality can also lead to costly vet visits and overall lower quality of life for your loved one.”
The above example touches on important concepts that could all be considered for the tagline. This company could focus on the fact that pets are family, and at the end of the day, good health is one of the most valuable resources available.
By continually challenging yourself, you’ll quickly reveal a wealth of information about what you have to offer to the customer. There is always a tagline waiting to be discovered when you start pushing the limits of your very own purpose and ability.
Your business has a personality. This personality is apparent to anyone who interacts with your brand. Not only does this personality need to be accurate, but it should come through in your tagline.
How do you inject personality in a tagline that is only a few words long?
One of the best ways to do this is through the use of an adjective. Pinpoint adjectives can help sell a personality when you don’t have the luxury of leveraging an entire phrase.
What kind of environment are you trying to convey? What kinds of benefits are you providing your customers? The best way to discover adjectives worth adding to your tagline is by considering the feelings that you want your customers to experience when they think about your brand.
Should they be energized, relaxed, confident? These are all different feelings that your customers might experience. What emotion is most vital in terms of your brand?
Once you have a few ideas, head over to thesaurus.com and see if any other words might work better for your tagline. Be sure to consider the connotation of the word. Denotation is what the word means, but connotation refers to the meaning that a word can imply. You should take into consideration the emotional associations, societal associations, and cultural associations that are attached to certain words. Make sure your adjective choice — and all word choices for that matter — will be understood and appreciated by your target audience.
Taglines often tell stories (albeit in a highly shortened fashion). These are not traditional stories with beginnings, middles, and ends. Instead, these are the kinds of stories that exist as a short sentence. Think about the most common scenario that would make sense for your customer. Try to find a way to embed that scenario into your tagline. Telling a story through a situation can make your tagline come to life.
Need some ideas?
Conveniently enough, one easy way to identify a convincing story (that might be worth telling your audience) is to watch commercials. Head over to YouTube or Vimeo and see what brand commercials are currently running. What stories are other companies telling? Do any of those stories resonate with you (or your brand)? What stories keep you engaged and might have the most significant impact on your audience?
We all have commercials that we love, and those that we hate. Typically, our personality aligns with our business. If there’s a strategy that you successfully relate with, chances are it has a good chance at resonating with your customers too.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of storytelling, rest assured that not every tagline needs to have a story element. Taglines also exist as part of a larger story across a wealth of marketing materials. If you choose to go the story route with your tagline, keep it simple.
Depending on the audience (as is always the case), your tagline may very well benefit from a play on words. Playing up the linguistics can help make your tagline memorable. You can implement rhyming or ride the coattails of a famous phrase. Alliteration and onomatopoeia are advanced options that can also make your tagline stand out. These types of linguistic devices have been successfully used for decades in the advertising world.
One potential pitfall, however, is that you never want any linguistic liberties to outshine the messaging. Consider the way that you use any catchy linguistic moves and make sure that they align with your overall brand positioning.
Google is one of the more all-encompassing tips out there, but for a good reason. The last thing you want is to come up with the most excellent tagline in the world, only to find out that someone beat you to it. If your tagline is the same as another brand’s, it’s time to start over. The last thing any company wants is to receive a cease and desist letter in the mail after you’ve just paid for a bunch of marketing materials.
What if your tagline is only similar to another tagline?
If it is similar (and in the same niche or industry), then you should probably head in another direction. If the tagline is targeting a different audience, however, then you can feel comfortable moving ahead.
Whenever you’re dealing with marketing/advertising, feedback is priceless. Do you have any friends/family in the industry? Do they also happen to fit the profile of your target audience? While it’s always fun to think of something catchy on your own, the reality is there’s a reason the big brands have marketing departments.
Try it, ask for help.
Pull together your team (or trustworthy friends/family) and bounce some ideas around. Even if you’re brainstorming with someone who isn’t a specialist, sometimes it just helps to say things out loud. Group efforts can quickly lead to fresh ideas that you can continue to finesse until they strike a chord.
If friends/family aren’t an option, there are plenty of other ways to seek feedback. Have you tried reaching out to potential customers asking them for their thoughts? How about past clients? While the internet can quickly become toxic from time to time, there’s also the potential to connect with like-minded individuals on a forum or social media group.
If you are asking others that you do not personally know, you don’t even need to ask for tagline suggestions specifically. You can simply explain to them who you are as a brand, what services you provide, and run your value proposition by them. See what they focus on and ask what their pain points are. Feedback from these efforts can help you formulate a tagline that is custom crafted to your ideal customer.
Once you’ve honed in on a single tagline, why not take it for a test drive? Put it on your site. Incorporate it into your messaging. Stick it at the front of your marketing materials. Then reflect.
What do you think? Is it perfect? Or is it missing something?
Sometimes, seeing your tagline in action can help you know whether or not you’ve made the right decision. Let yourself experience what it would like to use your newly created tagline as an integral part of your business. Make sure that your tagline encompasses the entirety of your brand.
Ready to create your own?
Feel free to reach out to us, and we’ll be happy to serve as a sounding board. Once a tagline is finalized, we can help create a logo that seamlessly integrates any supporting text with your business name. Crafting an original and consistent visual identity is a perfect way to stand out from the crowd and build recognition for your brand.