Good taglines are hard to come by, which is why so many brands choose to not have one. This is a mistake. A company name and logo and all the bullet points in the world do not have the same, lasting impact that a tagline does. Sometimes a company’s name can tell us what the business does, or what product or service it provides. And sometimes, brands are based on a person’s name, location, or they’re merely invented or license plate words that keep us all guessing. It seems the attitude is that if you can’t come up with something as iconic as “Just Do It!” then what’s the point?
The point of a tagline
The point of a tagline is threefold. In just a few words, the tagline communicates your mission, promise and brand. It helps people to quickly cut through the immense clutter of information. And it’s short enough and memorable enough that it’s repeatable. Taglines helped brands go viral before there was such a term. Because they bring good things to light.
Name that brand
Here’s a quick quiz for you. How many of the taglines below can you match up with the brand?
Now that’s the power of a tagline. You may not remember the ad or commercial but the tagline sticks with you. The newest tagline on the list came out in 1991.
What makes a good tagline
Now that’s the tricky part…and part of the reason many brands decide to move forward without one. It takes a lot of thought, effort and revision to strip away the superfluous and get to the pithy essence.
Here are some things to consider when thinking about your tagline:
- Remember when you came up with your elevator pitch? Or your mission statement? That’s a great place to start.
- What are the benefits of your product or service?
- What’s your brand all about? What kind of image have you created?
Like brand design, don't sell your tagline short. Work with a professional who specializes in taglines. A tagline, like your logo, has “stickiness” and staying power.
How to use it
When you took the quiz, did you also get a quick flash across your mind’s eye of the logo? At the very least, you probably saw essence of the logo—a color, the swirl of the font used. Use the tagline with the logo to reinforce the brand whenever possible. If the tagline can’t be with the logo, it should be a part of your overall brand design system—e.g., in the banner of your site, in any advertising headlines, or the cover of brochures and presentations.