Creating a company tagline is not an easy exercise, especially for a small business. A small business tagline needs to communicate the “why” of your business in a few words.
When you nail the right one for your business, it is a highly valuable piece of your brand identity.
What is a tag line?
A tag line is a short phrase that captures and projects the overall value you offer your customers. It is part of your brand identity that provides clarity about who you are and the promise you make to your customers. A tagline can help highlight your mission, purpose or culture and is the most concise way of defining your brand.
What makes a great tag line?
The best tag lines should be simple and memorable. Sometimes called a memory hook, it should communicate the value of your business and reflect its key strength.
A great company tagline can differentiate your business from your competitor. It should also complement your company name and logo.
Slogan vs. tagline
Many people use these terms interchangeably, but they are not the same thing.
- A tagline applies to your entire business. An example of a tagline would be Procter & Gamble – Touching Lives, Improving Life.
- A slogan applies to a specific product of your business and is used in marketing campaigns. An example of a slogan would be P&G’s Pantene – For hair so healthy, it shines.
How to develop a tag line
There is no one way to develop a tagline. You need to create one that represents your business and is not just a catchy statement.
Just remember to not over-complicate the process. Come up with statements that describe what your company stands for and what you do for your customers. Keep iterating to reduce the number of words without losing the meaning.
Then test your options with a few people who you trust. Use them as part of your introduction when meeting new people at networking events and see how they resonate.
Let it evolve as you work on it. Don’t aim at perfection immediately
Guidelines for writing a tagline
Know your audience
Just like with all marketing activities to be effective, you must intimately understand your target audience. Creating a powerful tagline is no different.
What are the emotional pain points that your product or service alleviates?
If your company tagline can express how your business can solve that problem for them, you will have created a connection between your company and your customers. Make sure you always keep your customer as the target of the tagline.
Focus on your benefit
In your tagline, clearly and succinctly convey the benefits your customers get when they experience your business. Communicate why you are in business and what outcomes your customers achieve by doing business with you.
Try not to be too cute and make it hard for people to know what you do that benefits them.
A great tagline will make your benefits clear to your audience.
Keep it short and simple
Make your tagline clear, memorable and easy to understand. Any longer than a few words and your customers won’t remember it. Short taglines create a lasting impression on your customers.
Get to the point quickly as possible and don’t make people think. If you are too clever and it takes work to figure out the meaning, it will be just ignored.
What not to do in a tag line
For small businesses, your tagline should be straight-forward and to the point. Try not to stray from your brand identity or it will create friction. If your brand is serious, having a funny tagline won’t work.
Stay away from overused buzzwords that are meaningless because everyone uses them in their taglines. Words like quality, best in class and excellence are in that category unless you can use them uniquely.
Being too cute and clever won’t necessarily work, but sounding the same as your competition definitely won’t work. If all of your competitors are using a similar tagline, how will your customers know why you are different?
Evolving your tagline
Businesses can and do change their tag lines periodically, which is fine as long as they don’t make a major shift in positioning.
A good example is General Electric. For 25 years, GE’s tagline was “We Bring Good Things to Life”. As the company evolved from primarily a lighting company to more diverse business divisions of which GE Lighting is one, the company switched to “Imagination at Work”. You can read about their brand story and evolution.
Do you have one for your company? What does it project to your target audience?