Creating a Tagline for Your Business
Help people remember your business with a catchy, unique tagline.
Many of my clients are start-ups and freelancers who are at the beginning of their business journey, and whilst they're preparing for a brand or website design with me, I often find that one key element of their brand is missing.
It's understandable; next to choosing your business name, it's one of the more difficult things to decide on for your brand, and many people feel it's not that necessary from the outset anyway.
They're right; it's not 100% necessary to begin with. But it sure can help when marketing your business and making your brand stick in peoples' minds!
Taglines vs. slogans vs. mission statements?
What does it all mean?
Usually, a business would start off by creating a 'Mission Statement'; a short paragraph (or long sentence) that states what your business does and how it does it. These are usually just created for internal use in smaller businesses. You can use an 'Onliness Statement' as an exercise to create yours!
A tagline is a condensed, catchier version of your mission. It needs to be short, powerful and memorable, because its purpose is to be seen by customers. I'll discuss how to create one below!
Many people think that 'tagline' and 'slogan' are just interchangeable words for the same thing, but a slogan is actually different. Usually a slogan will used be for a specific marketing campaign or product, rather than for the whole business. A slogan may change regularly depending on the marketing focus of the business, whilst the business tagline would usually stay the same for years.
Examples of Powerful Taglines:
First of all, let's add some context to all this with some examples of real life taglines...
- Disney: "The Happiest Place on Earth."
- Apple: "Think Different."
- Coca Cola: "Open Happiness."
- Hallmark: "When you care enough to send the Very Best."
- Dollar Shave Club: "Shave Time. Shave Money."
- Visa: "It's everywhere you want to be."
Obviously these are all examples of big companies who probably spend millions on creating the perfect tagline.
I fell in love with Rachel's tagline for Ellie Beth Designs UK when working on her brand redesign; I think it perfectly captures the purpose of her business and how her customers feel when they use her journalling stickers.
When creating Candace's new logo, we made sure to include both the literal description and her tagline in the logo so that people knew what she offered instantly. I love how her tagline is a beautifully simple play on words using 'Mind' and 'Body'.
Questions to ask before creating a tagline:
1. What are your goals and the 'why' of your business?
Why did you start your business and what is your vision for the future? Why do you do what you do? These questions will help you get to the core message of your business.
2. Who exactly are your customers?
Who is your business/service/product for? Who are you marketing to? Be as specific as possible! I've written an in depth post on customer profiling so check that out!
3. How are you different?
What is it that you do differently and makes you stand out from the crowd? This is possibly the most important question to ask when creating a tagline, because including this will help you stand out and make your tagline memorable.
4. What is your business' personality?
Understanding your brand personality is paramount in creating an effective tagline. If the personality is fun and quirky, you don't want a stiff, formal tagline - and vice versa!
Tips for writing Your Tagline:
1. Write down your 'Onliness' or Mission Statements & highlight keywords
You might know your mission in your head, but writing it down on paper (or writing your full 'Onliness Statement') will help keywords jump out at you and means you can highlight phrases to remember for later.
2. Brainstorm other words to describe your business
Get a pen & paper and just write down anything that comes to mind to describe your business. This may include 'personality characteristics', products/services you offer, words to describe how you make your customers feel, benefits of your products/services etc. Just let it flow!
3. Research and get ideas
Do some competitor research and see what sort of taglines everyone else is using. I definitely don't encourage copying, but it helps to see what kind of things people include in theirs.
You can also take a look at an automated 'Generator' for taglines & slogans. This can be quite fun, and whilst I don't recommend choosing a template tagline from the list, it is helpful to get ideas for different layouts and structures you can use.
4. Prioritise your most important, core message
Take a look back at the words & phrases you brainstorms, and pick out the most important ones that make you different to your competitors, and that will appeal most to your customers.
Make sure the words/phrases relate to your goals, business 'why', what makes you different and brand personality questions I mentioned above!
5. Use verbs, and a thesaurus!
Now that you've got some words and phrases that sum up your business and message, and you've got some ideas on how to structure your tagline, it's time to make sure it's memorable, unique and interesting.
Try using dynamic verbs at the start of your tagline, and use Thesaurus.com to find alternatives to your adjectives.
6. Cut it down to keep it short and sweet
Whilst your doing all this, bear in mind that you want it to be as condensed and to-the-point as possible. Remember the examples of powerful taglines I shared above? They're all under 50 characters (~10 words). As a small business who may want a little more description in their tagline, you should still be aiming for under 60 characters (~12 words).
7. Get feedback & test it out
Once you've come up with some ideas, it's a good plan to select your top 3 and try to get some feedback on them. Be wary of asking friends & family for feedback - chances are they are not your target audience or branding professionals.
You could instead ask previous clients and customers, conduct some formal market research, or join Facebook groups where your clients hang out (or indeed Facebook groups where the branding professionals hang out!).
Some businesses choose to include their tagline in their logo and display it clearly on their website to help with brand recognition, but you may not feel that's right for you.
Depending on your business and how literal your tagline is, you might want the first thing people see on your website to be a clear description of what you do (eg. 'Brand and Website Design' on my website - you can't get much clearer than that!). If you prefer this, you can instead focus on using your tagline in other brand collateral - such as business cards or letterheads, or on your social media profiles.