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Why Your Brand Needs a Tagline

by | Apr 18, 2019 | Branding

Hook them in. Bribe them with something they just can’t say ‘no’ to.

Can you guess the brands behind these famous taglines? And how do these phrases change the way you think about each company?

Just do it.
Open happiness.
Think Different.
Let your fingers do the walking.

A few well-chosen words is often all that is needed for a consumer to recall a favourite brand. There is power in the right words, so if you said; Nike, Coca-Cola, Apple and Yellow Pages then these brands have crafted their taglines successfully and allowed us a peek into the brand’s voice and persona.

Tagline vs slogan

A tagline is… a short, punchy sentence (sentence fragments are okay, too) that quickly and memorably communicates what your brand 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.

A creative, catchy slogan that performs well can become a brand’s tagline.

The Truth About Taglines

Taglines are hard to write. If you get it wrong, you’ll have to live with your terrible tagline being what’s memorable about your brand.

That said, a tagline can also force you to focus your brand 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.

You don’t even realize you see a company’s tagline as much as you do. 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.

The smaller the brand, the clearer the tagline.

It’s interesting that when I first launched designPartners, my brand’s tagline was “advertising and design.” 

But re-read that line: advertising and design, it isn’t truly a tagline. It’s not catchy or creative; it’s just a description. I hadn’t experimented with one yet. 

That said, it does make sense that a small, unknown brand or an individual who operates under their own name would have a more-straightforward-than-normal tagline. I feel like you can still give it some spark, though.

designPartners does have a name that immediately conveys what we do – there are a bunch of creative companies out there, and not necessarily all of them are in the same niche. This is exactly why your brand should have a tagline – at least starting out.

You may find that your customers search for your services online, find your website and then click on your homepage, which clearly says what you do, and that a tagline is unnecessary. Until you know that, though, don’t take a chance on losing customers because they can’t find the answer to the most basic question: what do you do?

WRITING YOUR TAGLINE.

Think about what your business does, who you cater to and how your customers benefit. How is their life changed after working with you? Write down 1-3 sentences with this information. If you need help, here’s a template:

We help [target audience] [result] and [result] so they can [purpose] and [purpose].

 

6 TIPS FOR WRITING A TAGLINE.

1. To get that too-long, mission statement-like sentence down to a tagline, pull out the most important points or words, then reorder them. Become best friends with the thesaurus to help you discover words that will make your tagline more succinct. For example, “brief and clear” boils down nicely into the word “succinct.”

2. Talk about the benefits, not the features.

3. Use positive words. Even if you use negative words to make a point, the negativity could be what carries over. To that point, don’t use anything that could potentially convey negativity. 

4. Don’t be afraid to be overly simplistic – obvious and meta taglines can be clever, too.

5. Make sure the tagline is synonymous with your brand. 

6. I don’t suggest taking one of their ideas as-is, but Shopify has a slogan generator that can help you brainstorm.

Taglines are not easy to write – you have to communicate a lot in ten words or less. Take your time with it.  To test out a tagline before making it permanent, use it as a slogan in a marketing campaign. It helps to work backward, too – try writing your mission statement first to get a handle on what you do, why you do it and who you do it for.

 

Design That Delivers.