How does one develop a good, effective tagline?
I'm just curious about what goes in to the creation of a great tagline - like Nike's "Just Do It." What are the considerations one must have when creating a good tagline? Have any of you developed an effective or catchy tagline that compelled you to action?
There are certain marketing guidelines to follow, but I recommend thinking outside the box.
This really is going to depend on 2 factors, your industry and your purpose for the tagline.
Jingle's only work for brands advertising on TV or radio, somewhere they are heard. So jingles probably will not work for you.
Outside the box example:
My industry is online marketing and our company tagline is WeGetYouFoundOnline.com.
This helps us accomplish 3 things:
First, it conveys exactly what we do in five words.
Second, it helps commit our domain name to memory for those that see us.
Third, it connects the phrase with our brand.
Think outside the marketing guidelines box!
Other people have made great posts here. I'll talk about the actual creative process. First, you get a bunch of relevant people in a room to make a list or chart of all the meanings you need to convey. Start by talking about the audience, what they care about, what they do, what the thing means to them. Then boil that list down to 3 key brand messages. Then go back to your cave and brainstorm short phrases that carry those meanings---be absolutely non-critical at this stage, just blurt out whatever comes to mind. Go back through that list, checking against the 3 messages, and see if you discover any underlying themes that might lead you in new directions. Then throw out all the rules and blue-sky it, being as goofy as you can. Put it all away for a couple of days. Take it back out, and start killing tag lines until you're left with about 15. Go back to your collaborators for a group brainstorm, starting with your shortlist. Ask them to tell you what they hate! Then have them start tossing out ideas. When you get one that makes everyone look up in the air to the right, you've got something.
Tagline is to underline your brand-name or logo hence it should be about intent, content and extent, I believe. Your brand-name would not communicate necessarily what is it all about, but your tagline is ought to do it. For example the abbreviation BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke) wouldn't ring a bell unless supported by 'The Ultimate Driving Machine'. It's a different and inspiring story how BMW excelled to produce awesome machines that earned the position and respect it has in the industry...! You got the point, I guess!
The key is to summarize what the company does--and what makes it stand out form competitors--in a way that speaks to its customer base. A good tag line is short, memorable, original, believable, and specific. It doesn’t necessarily need to be funny, overly clever, or edgy.
The hardest part about creating a tag line is walking the fine line between being too vague and trying to say too much. We worked with one nonprofit that veered between wanting to say something akin to “We make the world better” and trying to cram in a full list programs and services. In cases like this, it’s imperative to remove the creative process from the committee setting.
Starting off with a committee is a recipe for blandness. That’s how you end up with “Excellence through quality” or “We offer [insert industry here] solutions.” The process we’ve used is to talk with a firm’s leaders about their target audience and what they have to offer that’s valuable and unique. Then we come up keywords and turn them into phrases that capture the heart of the business. THEN we run options past a focus group or company committee.
One more piece of advice: I would avoid a “Just Do It” type of tagline unless you’re working with a brand that’s already very well established. Nike can get away with it because the public is already aware enough of its products to understand what the tagline is getting at. For most of us, it’s better to say something more meaningful.
We do a brief, listing needs/targets etc. Brainstorm on a white board with creative team. Come up with say 5-10 lines that work. Test them on TM, preferably on-line quant. Get feed-back, revise. Re-test selected lines for nuance (like tense or case). Then client normally approves as stats prove what will work. Geoffrey.
You've got some great answers here, carrie. I would add that you should know your target audience. If it doesn't resonate with people outside of your target, don't worry. Creating a good, effective tagline may be like creating a video that will go viral. Follow Dave's list of guidelines below and then cross your fingers.
I think Dave's list is great. The emotional connection he mentions is best found not in what the company does but WHY they do it. That's where the strongest customer loyalty connections are made.
Dave's list is full of great suggestions on what to do. So as not be redundant, I would add some things NOT to do...
Since it's all about brand positioning, separating yourself from the competition is everything. Therefore...
- Avoid cliches.
- Avoid words and positioning that you cannot own. For example positioning words like "Quality" or "Excellence" are far too generic and common.
- Don't say something that is not believable. It is your brand promise, so you have to live up to it.
- Don't underestimate your audience. Push the envelope. Leading brands appeal to their markets early majority - not the sheep.
- Pay attention to cultural and regional factors. Some great lines like "Think Different" and "Just Do It" have global appeal, but several successful American tags, like "Got Milk" and "Lovin' it" were seen as lame, "nice try" tag lines outside of the country.
Speaking of which, "Quality is Job 1" was also an epic fail here in Canada. It was actually something of a joke and is used in sarcasm. Ford made a few of the aforementioned mistakes... it's not unique, it is a cliche and it's certainly not believable.
The answers throughout this discussion cover the key areas of creating a tagline.
Another way to look at is what does the line need to convey. It may depend on your company name, if it explains what you do, the line can go in many different directions (see Dave Worrall)...
If the name doesn't explain what you do then its recommended for the tagline to communicate what it is you do... I'm working with a Wine Broker who's name is about the owner... so the tagline is Fine Wine Broker. Not snazzy but now people will know what he does.
It's a function of branding. The more in touch you are with your brand the easier the tag is to write. Typically it is a reflection of the USP.
In my mind taglines are essentially creative compact bites that create an instant emotive impact.
I think that you need to think outside the box, way outside. You need to view it from a potential customers perspective. And it has to be very top down & high level. This is sooo difficult if you are too closely involved with a product. Sometimes that's why it is easier for a 3rd party to get involved.
Maybe concentrate not so much on the product features but more on its benefits - how will it help your customer. At a very emotive level. As just do it does just that. So does Lovin It. They mention nothing about sneakers or burgers. But they do produce a positive emotion that you would associate with that kind of thing.
And remember - Think Different! (courtesey of Mr Jobs . . .)
Know your target audience inside and out is the simplest answer. Know their fears, hopes, and dreams. Write a tagline that provides an answer to those nagging questions in the hearts and minds of your audience. This is the key to formulating an effective tagline.
'Just Do It' gives the active person a reason to get out there and run those 5 miles... or sign up for that triathlon, etc.
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Dave makes many valid points, as does Jackson. For me though, it all starts with fully understanding your brand. For instance, if - as Dave rightly points out - you wish to differentiate from the competition, you first have to understand who your competition is and what makes your product or service different.
For most startup businesses, my typical advice is to find something descriptive about your business. Early on it's more important to let people quickly know what you do rather than trying to be witty. If you are able to boil your tagline down to the true essence of your brand, while still letting people know what you do, then all the better.
Carrie... your tag line doesn't have to rhyme, be cheeky, short... not short...
One rule and one rule only... what ever your tag line is... I just has to be TRUE.
the only way to be memorable is to stay in business. I know lots of "memorable" tag lines to companies that no longer exist.
What ever you choose, make sure it's true... then go focus on business development, relationships and serving those who buy from you.
A good tagline should sum up the brand essence in a short, powerful way. This is done by going through brand exercises to understand and distill what your company does, for whom, why should they be interested, and how your company is different from other businesses in the same space. This is a brief summation of the brand elements and not by any means a thorough description of what a brand essence is. Researching, creating lists, thinking about core values, brand attributes, vision, mission, competitive audits, unique selling proposition, unique value proposition, competitive advantage, the positioning statement, will help you hone in on your company's brand essence, which can be used as a tagline or the foundation for the tagline.
There are different kinds of taglines.
Imperative: Commands an action
Examples: "Just do it", "Think Differently", "Begin Today"
Descriptive: Describes the service, product, or brand promise
Examples: "Moving at the speed of business", "You're in good hands"
Superlative: Positions the brand as the best in class
Examples: "The ultimate driving machine", "There's no better way to fly"
Provocative: Frequently in the form a question
Examples: "Got milk?", "Where are you going today?"
Specific: Establishes a leadership position in the market
Examples: "Drivers wanted", "Happy hunting"
Good luck with your brand development! Please share what you come up.
I agree with Dave, it should convey your company's assets, into one phrase. Plus, if you can make it 'roll off your tongue', that's easy to remember, the better. No more than 4-5 words.
For my cleaning business, I used, "Quality Is In The Details!"
Do word clusters to fit your company.
It really comes down to figuring out your brand, it's "story" and it's unique selling points. From there, you'll have a bit more leverage to try out different tag lines. Aside from that, what I find to be beneficial is doing creative writing exercises like lists of adjectives regarding your brand, free-writing for a couple of minutes at a time, etc.. You'll also want to get a good amount of feedback and constructive criticism, so even using a service like Survey Monkey would help you out with some numbers to support your chosen tag-line.
I hope this helps! Feel free to message me if you have any other questions!
I have developed many. There is no recipe. And it's hard to argue that any tagline would compel to action. It resonates. It's memorable. It's branding. The only requirement is it must be memorable.
Coke is it!
Ford is Job 1!
Royal Carib--Get out there!
All are short, somewhat lyrical, easily memorable, and support the Branding strategy.
You'd be looking to convey your company's primary benefit with attitude and personality. Good taglines depend on a connection on an emotional level.
A decent copywriter will charge in excess of $1,000 to create you a good tagline so it's definitely worth trying yourself.
I've asked the copywriter I'm friends with and he pointed me towards the following content:
Try short and simple (“Drivers wanted” VW)
Think jingle (“Winston tastes good like a cigarette should” Winston)
Differentiate the brand (“Everywhere you want to be” Visa)
Universal sentiment (“I’m lovin’ it” McDonalds)
Play with words (“So advanced, it’s simple” Panasonic)
Elevate the business by looking at the highest possible benefit. (“It’s not just a package, it’s your business” FedEx)
Differentiate it from the competition. (“The curiously strong mint” Altoids)
Don’t sell features; sell benefits (“Unwrap a smile” Little Debbie)
Compare it to the alternative (“Pork: the other white meat” National Pork Board)
Find the human truth (“Live theater. It won’t kill you.” American Theater Company)
Parallelism (“You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.” Radio Shack)
Opposition (“It’s a great way to read. Just listen.” Audio Books)
Reform a cliché (“Life’s short. Stay awake.” Caribou Coffee)
Metaphor (“Courage for your head” Bell Helmets)
Rule of Three (“Heart. Steel. Promise.” Mack Trucks)
Novelty (“Best. Sipped. Just. Like. This.” Baker’s Bourbon)
Alliteration (“The softer side of Sears”)
Some times it requires a brain storming some time it just comes to mind, I have usually seen that many organisations change they tag line from time to time just because to attract customer related to product life cycle.