Creating Taglines: How Your Business Can Benefit From a Memorable Slogan

A tagline is the phrase that helps people link your name to your brand message. Taglines translate your positioning statement into a marketing statement meant to serve as a customer magnet. Taglines come in essentially two types, descriptive and expressive. “Improving Life, One Breath at a Time” for the American Lung Association is descriptive. “Just do it” for Nike is expressive. The rule of thumb is: if your name does not communicate what your business does, or if your business is new, use a descriptive tagline to bridge the gap.

A well-known business, or one whose name communicates the business it’s in, can use an expressive tagline to further communicate the essence and personality of the brand.

Taglines can play an important role in branding your organization. Taglines can strengthen and reinforce your brand essence, help describe what you do (beyond your name), and cement your company’s name or mission in the minds of your prospects and customers.

Another way to view a tagline is to think of it as a hook or grabber. Imagine yourself at a cocktail party and someone asks you where you work. You respond, “I work for Central Trust, right downtown.”

“Oh!” says your party-mate. “Tell me more.”

“Well,” you say, “we’re the bank with human interest.”

That’s it! No long-winded descriptions. No recitation of benefits. No laundry list of offerings. No hyperbole. Just five simple words: “The bank with human interest.” That’s the influence of a tagline.

A well-crafted tagline has the power to more clearly describe your business, support your value proposition, and help differentiate you from your competition.


Does your business currently have a tagline? If so, see if it passes this test:

 

  1. Is it memorable?

  2. Is it original and does it make a confident statement?

  3. Is it easy to say?

  4. Does it allow your prospects to recall your name?

  5. Does it communicate your brand essence or position?

  6. Will it help your business achieve its mission?


If you can answer yes to those six questions, you’ve got a real winner on your hands. Three or more? Not bad, my friend. Fewer than three head nods? You have some work to do.

Need a compelling and memorable tagline for your business? We can help.

Some tips for writing taglines and slogans:

  • Try short and simple (“Drivers wanted” VW)

  • Think jingle (“Winston tastes good like a cigarette should” Winston)

  • Differentiate the brand (“Everywhere you want to be” Visa)

  • Universal sentiment (“I’m lovin’ it” McDonalds)

  • Play with words (“So advanced, it’s simple” Panasonic)


Other tagline and slogan styles:

  • Elevate the business by looking at the highest possible benefit. (“It’s not just a package, it’s your business” FedEx)

  • Differentiate it from the competition. (“The curiously strong mint” Altoids)

  • Don’t sell features; sell benefits (“Unwrap a smile” Little Debbie)

  • Compare it to the alternative (“Pork: the other white meat” National Pork Board)

  • Find the human truth (“Live theater. It won’t kill you.” American Theater Company)

  • Parallelism (“You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.” Radio Shack)

  • Opposition (“It’s a great way to read. Just listen.” Audio Books)

  • Reform a cliché (“Life’s short. Stay awake.” Caribou Coffee)

  • Metaphor (“Courage for your head” Bell Helmets)

  • Rule of Three (“Heart. Steel. Promise.” Mack Trucks)

  • Novelty (“Best. Sipped. Just. Like. This.” Baker’s Bourbon)

  • Alliteration (“The softer side of Sears”)