How to Write a Catchy Tagline
Taglines, aka slogans or catchphrases, according to Entrepreneur.com's small business encyclopedia, are “small groups of words that are combined in a special way to identify a product or company." They are all important – taglines catch attention, spark interest, and highlight whatever it is you’re selling. It’s really difficult to show a lot of emotion and information in just a few short words; add in that most small business owners don’t totally understand how a tagline should be used, and it’s no surprise they are often not used to their fullest potential.
Tagline, slogan and catchphrase, for the most part, can be used interchangeably, though there are some small differences. Taglines and catchphrases can be used in specific marketing campaigns for individual products or services, while the term slogan typically represents the brand as a whole.
Logo, Meet Tagline. It’s Love at First Sight.
Companies use taglines for the same reason as logos: as a marketing strategy to create a lasting memory in the minds of consumers. Together they are like peanut butter and jelly or wine and cheese; tagline’s audio to logo’s visual form the perfect pairing.
The Desired Outcome
Let’s take a step back for a minute and look at the bigger picture. Every business has the same two primary goals. First, to provide a desired outcome to their ideal audience: meaning the products and services offered should be valuable, high quality, and solve a need that the customer has. The second, is to convey that desired outcome to their audience. All great marketing campaigns illustrate the customer’s “before” and “after” of receiving the product or service. They convey what the customer will have that they didn’t before, how their life will be better, and what the customer’s new status will be. It’s not about you and your business, it’s about them…and this is where the slogan comes in.
A great slogan, first and foremost, conveys the desired outcome to the audience; it sells the benefits, not the features. It is also comprised of most or all of the following characteristics.
It’s memorable; brief and catchy.
It imparts positive emotions about the brand, or specific product.
It highlights what sets the brand/product apart; differentiates it from the crowd.
Let’s look at some examples
I’m so confident you’ll be able to identify almost all of the companies that belong to these great taglines, that if you can’t, I’ll eat my hat. They are memorable, highlight something unique about the brand, and put a smile on your face.
“America Runs on Dunkin”
“Can You Hear Me Now?”
“Just Do It”
“A Diamond is Forever”
“Breakfast of Champions”
“The Few. The Proud. The Marines.”
“Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There.”
“Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.”
“Good to the Last Drop”
“Once You Pop, The Fun Don’t Stop”
“I’m Lovin’ It”
“The Quicker Picker Upper”
“There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s Mastercard.”
“Tastes so good, cats ask for it by name”
“Because you’re worth it.”
Let’s dig a little deeper and really look how you create a tagline. First you need to know your audience, what they need, and what problems you’re solving with your products and services. Ask yourself, why your customers come to you – what is their desired outcome. I’ll use myself as an example. Folks come to me for brand design, why? Because they want a beautiful logo or high-quality website? Of course, on the surface that’s true. But why is my audience so interested in their brand? Because they want to create memory cues in the minds of their audience (read more about this here), and they want their business to stand out from the crowd. That’s their desired outcome. Once you know your own audience's desired outcome, try writing it down a few different ways, condensing it as much as possible, until you land on one that feels good:
Let’s go through the four requirements of a slogan with that last phrase, “be remembered:”
Conveys the desired outcome?
Memorable, brief and catchy?
Imparts positive emotions?
Highlights what sets the brand apart?
Yes. I don’t just create pretty designs. I create brands that stand out from the rest - brands that are memorable.
Smack dab at the top of my homepage I have a featured image overlaid with a short introductory statement followed by my tagline:
"Stop fading into the background. Be remembered."
I was talking about this concept with my client Amy, from Able to Give not long ago. Her company connects parents with charities and organizations with volunteer opportunities for kids and families (great idea, right?), and she was concerned about her slogan “Small hands. Big hearts.” So we analyzed it together – I asked her; “Why do parents want to use your services? What is their desired outcome? To help others? Sure. To involve their kids? Of course. But WHY? Because they want their kids to be caring, empathetic, giving, loving, to do good and make a difference. They want their kids (those tiny humans with the small hands) to have big hearts." The phrase “small hands, big hearts” conveys the desired outcome; it's also memorable, catchy, and absolutely elicits positive emotions.
The Purpose Statement
Amy was concerned that her slogan doesn’t clearly and immediately inform people of what she does. That’s when I introduced her to another catchy, slightly longer, group of words that are combined in a special way to identify a product or company: the purpose statement. A purpose statement is an informative statement describing what you do and who you do it for. You want your purpose statement to be front and center on your website and, in a similar way, other marketing collateral too. On my website, directly below the image featuring my tagline, you'll see my purpose statement:
"I specialize in branding and graphic design for small business, entrepreneurs, and solopreneurs who are seeking a consistent brand image, to reinvent their existing brand, or to adapt to a new market."
Now when someone lands on my website, they'll immediately know "Nope this isn't what I'm looking for" or "Yes! Perfect, just what I needed."
Let’s sum up. Slogans, taglines, and catchphrases are small groups of words, combined in a unique way, to identify a product or company. They are memorable, they convey the desired outcome to the audience, impart positive emotions and highlight what sets the brand/product apart. Taglines are the audio to your logo’s visual, and they are critical to the successful marketing of your brand.
What are some of your favorite taglines?
The answers to the taglines, just in case:
California Milk Processor Board (CMPB)
The United States Marines
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