How to Write a Great Tagline in 10 Steps

How to Write a Great Tagline in 10 Steps

What is a tagline, slogan, motto, or strapline (if you're British)? They're all one in the same. A short and simple catchphrase that represents your product or company and communicates the key benefit you want consumers to associate with your brand. If written correctly, an effective tagline can keep your brand front and center in the minds of consumers until they’re ready to buy. It goes straight to the heart of your brand and what you want people to remember about it.

You'll usually find a tagline paired with a brand name, logo, or both in marketing communications.

A tagline may serve to communicate:

  • A call to action (“Just do it”)
  • The essence of your brand (“The ultimate driving machine”)
  • A key benefit (“Can you hear me now?”)
  • The driving force behind an advertising campaign (“Got milk?”)

An effective and memorable tagline will complement your brand name and fill in other parts of your brand story. It will also reflect the personality of your brand.

Some great examples of taglines include:

  • M&Ms: “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands” (beneficial, descriptive)
  • Capital One: “What's in your wallet?” (confident, serious)
  • DeBeers: “A diamond is forever.” (formal and a bit snooty)
  • Red Cross: “Do more than cross your fingers.” (pragmatic)
  • McDonald’s: “I’m lovin’ it.” (casual and energetic)
  • Chevy: “Like a rock.” (macho, solid)
  • Wal-Mart: "Save time, save money" (practical, rational)

Sometimes a tagline captures the spirit so well it becomes a motto not only for the brand, but for an entire subculture. Apple’s “Think different” is a great example.

While taglines are everywhere, finding a good one isn't as easy as you'd think. The truth is, when it comes to marketing a company and its products, a bad tagline is worse than none at all.  Unfortunately, this easily describes a large portion of the market.  Is your tagline a good one? How can you tell? What steps can you take to write a tagline that’s effective?

Below, take a look at the 10 steps or qualities that describe the best taglines. Use them to evaluate your tagline and see how well it works!

1. Clear: Your tagline is not the place to be subtle; it should be informative. Its job is to communicate, quickly and clearly, what it is that you do and what you have to offer.

How to Do It: Ask yourself what your company’s mission is. What is your purpose? What’s your focus? Knowing that is half the battle because once you know what you’re trying to say, it’s much easier to find a way to say it. 

2. Concise: The best taglines have one thing in common: they’re simple. It doesn’t matter what your industry is—even a company that makes electrical rubber gloves can do this with a tagline like “the best value in safety solutions since 1946.” Write your tagline to be easy to remember and within 10 words or less.

How to Do It: Streamline your company’s message into one simple, short phrase. 

3. Relevant: So you make flame resistant clothing—so what? Why should anyone care about that? Your tagline needs to be the answer to that question, the information that speaks to the reader’s “What’s in it for me?”

How to Do It: Take time to name client benefits: these clothes will protect you from fire, keep you comfortable while you work, free you up to focus on your tasks, get you home safely, last a long time, dry quickly, etc. Then take that knowledge and build your tagline around it.

4. Branded: A good tagline is reflective of the brand it represents. It must seamlessly match the overall sense of your style and other marketing efforts in order to enhance your impact.

How to Do It: Ask yourself what differentiates you from the competition. What is your style: witty or formal, clean-cut or colorful? Take your particular business tone and find a way to work it into your tagline to strengthen your other marketing efforts.

5. Consistent: Don’t be one of those companies who changes its tagline all the time. A tagline’s greatest strengths lies in its consistency—that clients can count on it, year after year, to stay the same.

6. Consider Your Target Market: You’ll also need to consider if your customers are local, national or international. While some locals get Philadelphia’s new slogan, “PHL: Here For The Making,” it may have left tourists scratching their heads. And if you do business internationally, keep in mind that translating your slogan to another language can significantly change the meaning. When KFC launched in China, their “Finger Lickin’ Good” slogan translated to the less appetizing “Eat Your Fingers Off.”

7. Make it Timeless: Verizon had a good run with “Can You Hear Me Now?” but it was only a matter of time before technology made nearly all cell phone calls clear. You have to change with the times, but when you’re working on a slogan you want to think of its longevity. That’s why references to technology and phrases like “the only” are risky. Good slogans use wording that can stand the test of time, like Rolaids and their “How Do You Spell Relief?”

8. Ensure it Can Stand Alone: Your slogan shouldn’t be a mystery! You want a slogan that tells your audience what your business is without needing any additional information. For example, Cartoon Network’s “The Best Place for Cartoons” tells people exactly what they’ll get when they tune in.

9. Get Input: Being creative is a tough job, but there are ways to avoid going it alone. Use SurveyMonkey to generate surveys to get opinions from your customers and followers. Take to social media like Facebook or Twitter to host a slogan contest with a designated hashtag to track entries. Or consider some free tagline generators, like Slogan Generator, to get your brain warmed up.

10: Focus on What Makes You Different: Figure out what your unique selling proposition is and use it. Is your delivery business done with a fleet of electric cars? Does your dental practice cater to those with high anxiety? Crossoak Family Dentistry features a big chicken on its website, along with the slogan “We cater to cowards.” Incorporate what makes you special into your slogan if possible.

What do you think? Does your tagline hold up to these qualifications?

Done right, a memorable slogan will stick around long after consumers interact with your brand.

Contact Benchmark Design to learn how we can help your company or brand.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

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