Just do it.
The ultimate driving machine.
A diamond is forever.
Finger Lickin’ Good.
You’re In Good Hands.
I guarantee you’ve heard all of these famous brand taglines before, and it’s more than likely that you can name all of the brands that are connected to them.
It’s amazing how powerful just a few words can be.
Like the examples you just heard, a brand tagline is a short phrase that describes what the brand does and captures the brand essence, personality, values, and positioning.
Its function is to influence the customers behavior and distinguish the brand.
A tagline is similar to your mission statement, but a little different.
Your mission statement is an action oriented promise to the customer, while your tagline should connect emotionally to your customers and express what your company or product can do for them.
A tagline is also not a slogan.
The difference is a tagline represents your brand and a slogan represents a specific product or ad campaign.
Common characteristics of an effective tagline are:
- It is short. Typically just a few words
- It can be included alongside a logo.
- It differentiates your brand from the competition.
- It is unique to your brand.
- It supports your brand’s purpose, vision, and values.
- It reflects the brand’s identity, character, promise, and personality.
- It is easy to say and remember.
- It invokes positive feelings and has no negative connotations.
- It can be protected and trademarked.
- It evokes an emotional response.
To begin creating a great tagline, you need to understand the different types of taglines:
Imperative taglines are a command, action, or direction that usually starts with a verb. For example: Nike “Just do it”, Apple “Think Different”, Crocs “Feel the love”.
Descriptive taglines describe the service, product, or brand promise. For example: Target “Expect more. Pay less”, TED “Ideas worth spreading”, Allstate “You’re in good hands”.
Superlative taglines position the company as the best or top of their category. For example: BMW “The ultimate driving machine”, Budweiser “The king of beers”, Debeers “A diamond is forever”.
Provocative taglines are thought-provoking or ironic. Frequently in the form of a question. For example: Verizon Wireless “Can you hear me now?”, Dairy Council “Got milk?.
Specific taglines define and reveal the business or products. For example: Volkswagen “Drivers wanted”, Skittles “Taste the rainbow”, Olay “Love the skin you’re in”.
Depending on your business, the type of tagline that works for your brand should be fairly obvious.
To help get you started here is a 6 step process to crafting your perfect, unforgettable tagline.
Step 1: Get Inspired
The first step is to get inspiration from the taglines of other brands.
Specifically those who are using the same tagline type as yours.
Pay close attention to how you feel when you see the words, and when you hear them.
Do you instantly know what the brand does and what it stands for? Is it memorable?
Take a look at your competitors’ taglines, and think about how you can differentiate yourself from them.
Step 2: Review
Always review your brands Purpose, Vision, Mission, and values before beginning the process of crafting your brand tagline.
If you have not defined these 4 pillars of your brand, I will link each of those building the brand episodes in the description below.
Your tagline should support your brand values, solidify your promise, and establish consumer trust.
Step 3: Brainstorm
Gather your team for a collaborative brainstorming session.
Armed with your core values, your differentiators, your target audience, and your competitor analysis begin writing out a few paragraphs that describe what you do and who you do it for.
Think about your brand promise and how you help people.
Try to inject emotion and add your brand personality that you defined in the previous module.
In your brainstorming session, constantly be asking yourself these questions:
- What’s our promise?
- How do we help people?
- Who’s our customer?
- Who’s our competition?
- How can we say this simply?
Step 4: Condense
Next take the paragraphs you wrote and combine and consolidate them down into a single sentence or two.
The goal is to distill the core of what you’re trying to say. Aim for 2-3 options.
Step 5: Refine
Now it’s time to tighten up and polish these sentences even more.
This is the toughest part.
Continue working with your team all along the way.
The collaborative environment will help you flush out the unnecessary words that are not supporting the tagline.
Once again, try to narrow your options down to 2-3 well-refined, short, but powerful taglines.
Step 6: Test
Finally, it’s time to test out your tagline.
Show your taglines and speak them to your employees and customers.
Pay attention to what resonates with them, how they respond, and if there are any unexpected associations people make.
Throughout this entire process, remember that your tagline does not need to be a literal explanation of your product.
For example, “Just do it” does not explain shoes or athletic apparel.
Some of the most successful brand taglines express the benefits their products deliver.
And please remember, this process will take some time.
But don’t settle. Keep experimenting, tweaking, and refining until you have a winner that everyone feels great about.