Taglines serve an important purpose. They take out the guesswork by efficiently summing up what the company is all about. A good tagline sets you apart from other companies that offer similar products and services.
Today, we’ll explore some tips on how to write a good tagline for your business.
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Definition & Importance
A tagline is a short catchphrase that is used to represent a brand as a whole. It’s like your business’ mantra that tells people who you are and what you stand for in a few succinct words. Taglines are used for marketing materials and advertising. This memorable phrase sticks in people’s minds and helps them identify your brand and marketing message.
Don’t confuse this with slogans. A slogan is a short phrase used in advertising or promotion to capture the audience’s attention and get them interested in the product. However, a slogan is tied to a single marketing campaign while a tagline is connected to the brand as a whole.
Here are 4 reasons why taglines are important and why your business should have one:
- Brand Recognition
- Brand Mission & Value
- Virtual Personality
- Edge Over Competitors
Questions To Ask Yourself Before Creating A Tagline
Before jumping in to create a tagline for your business, ask yourself these questions:
What message do you want to convey?
There are 2 meanings to this. Literal and metaphorical.
Firstly, literal means the obvious factual message that you want to convey. Perhaps, this could be the products or services that your company offers or the unique selling proposition (USP) of your brand.
On the other hand, metaphorical is like the symbolic message that you want to convey. This could be a tone, mood, feeling or emotion. Or a certain brand image that you want to communicate.
Who is your audience?
Next, consider your target audience.
If your products or services target certain age, gender, location or any other demographics, this might affect your word choice, jargon and style of writing.
Let’s imagine that I write books about good vs evil. If my target readers are adults, I will use words like “eradicate”, “obliterate” and “sins”. But if my target readers are children, I will use words like “destroy”, “remove” and “bad”.
See how your target audience will affect the word choice in your tagline?
1. Align With Your Brand Identity
The first thing you need to do is ensure that your tagline aligns with your brand identity, everything from word choice, tone to voice.
For instance, if you want to convey a professional image, you might use formal language and sophisticated words. On the contrary, you might use casual language to portray a friendly image.
Another key tip is to use jargon that your target audience use. This way, they can more easily relate to your tagline.
2. Describe Your Brand
You should describe who you are and what you do or sell.
Let’s look at KFC’s tagline: “It’s finger-lickin’ good.”
The tagline doesn’t explicitly mention that KFC is a fast-food restaurant chain that specializes in fried chicken. But you can tell from the tagline that they sell food and that it’s finger-licking delicious. And that’s enough. It already sends a message that you should get a taste of this delicious food.
KISS stands for keep it short and simple.
Your tagline should be short, catchy and memorable. As a guideline, you could keep it to fewer than 6 words. Try to get your point across in these 6 words.
Rather than a tagline that tries to say too much and squeeze in too many things, it better’s to laser focus on that one single crucial element.
A short tagline will make it easier for your audience to remember. You can also let your audience see the company’s vision and mission.
4. Tell Your Story
What’s your story?
What inspired you to start this business? What gets you emotional when you think about what you do?
Whatever your answer is, this is your positioning. Your tagline should precisely communicate that feeling.
It might be difficult to squeeze in everything you feel or convey that entire brand story in a few words. As mentioned, the key is to zoom in on that one detail that’s important to you.
Just look at TOMS Shoes. Their tagline “Start something that matters” captures the brand’s aspirations perfectly. In 2006, Blake Mycoskie founded TOMS Shoes with a simple business model: “With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One.” This revolutionary business model marries fun, profit and social good. Mycoskie’s passion for purpose inspires today’s entrepreneurs to build businesses for good, not just for profit.
5. Evoke Emotions
Think about the emotions that you want to evoke in your audience when they think about your business.
These can be simple emotions like happiness and pride. Or more complex ones like confidence and hunger.
Here’s a wheel of emotions to get you started:
6. Tap Into Literary Devices
You can consider leveraging literary devices, such as alliteration.
Or just simply tweak the punctuation in your tagline to give it a different spin.
You can also play on the words like the sound and spelling so the tagline is snappy.
7. Leverage Power Words
If you’re getting stuck or having trouble conveying what you want, consider expanding your vocabulary and using power words instead.
From this pool of words that you don’t use frequently, you might just find the right word!
Here are 401+ power words that evoke emotion and trigger curiosity. See if there’s anything that catches your eye~
8. Research Your Competitors
If you’re unsure where or how to start, you can look at your competitors’ taglines to get fresh ideas and be inspired.
Just like how advertising copywriters and creative directors have swipe files (a collection of tested and proven advertising and sales letters), you can create a swipe file of your competitors’ taglines. Take note of what you like about their taglines, what emotions their taglines convey or even, what you dislike about their taglines. This can help guide you and give a sense of what you want to include and exclude in your tagline.
9. Take A Break & Revisit Later
As a writer, I often experience creative blocks. Maybe your mind is blank like how I just stare at the page and words don’t come to mind so I can’t continue the story. It’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, such creative blocks are quite common, especially when your brain is tired. The solution is simply to walk away, take a break and perhaps, do something else then revisit later.
There’s no need to rush. You can also choose to come back a few days later. This is especially important for tagline where it’s printed across all your brand and marketing collateral, social media, email and more. You’ll want to spend some time crafting a tagline that effectively represents and aligns with your brand and vision.
10. It’s Okay To Be Imperfect. Taglines Evolve.
Do you know that Coca-Cola has changed its tagline numerous times since 1886? Here are the first 15 changes they made:
Due to its importance, many business owners aim to get their tagline right. But bear in mind that this is almost impossible. When you just start your business, the tagline probably fits your brand and vision then. But as your business scales, your tagline will also grow.
Let’s a look at the evolution of a tagline as the company grows in size:
Notice how the tagline grows from descriptive to more aspirational?
This makes sense. When you’re just starting out, you’ll need a clear and descriptive tagline so your target audience will know at a glance what your brand is and what products or services you offer. It’s only after your company grows and has an established market presence, you can choose to create an aspirational tagline. By then, everyone knows what you do and sell and thus, you can be more vague and inspirational in your tagline.
Now It’s Your Turn
How did you craft your tagline? What tips would you like to share with fellow entrepreneurs?