Sam Caron

Sam Caron

The ultimate guide to building your brand’s tagline

Coming up with a catchy sentence to describe your brand. Sounds easy enough, right?

Well putting together a tagline or slogan is in fact a struggle for a lot of people, with many even arguing that it is even more important than a brand name.

And you can see their point. While a slogan or tagline is defined in dictionary terms as a “short and striking or memorable phrase used in advertising”, it is so much more than that.

Your tagline will be responsible for conveying your brand’s mission statement and identity, but in a short, simple and catchy way. That is no mean feat.

You only have a few seconds to create that first impression.

In this blog I will guide you through the process of creating the perfect tagline for your brand. Just stick with me through this and you will be a whole lot closer to coming up with your killer slogan.

Step One – Defining a Good Tagline

To produce a tagline, first we have got to understand what actually makes a tagline great.

People often think that they are all about being creative. To a certain extent they are right; a great knack for creativity can help get ideas flowing, but to really formulate an effective tagline you must go through the process.

You have to be willing to put in the work.

So, what makes a great tagline then? Well it can be broken down into four important and easy to remember Cs…

Clear

Your tagline must show how you differentiate yourself in the market from the competition. It should convey your brand’s purpose, as well as what it stands for.

This must be done in a simplistic way. As fun as it might be to come up with a cryptic slogan, you do not want to confuse potential consumers.

Put being easy to understand above all else.

Good examples

·       3M Science- Applied to life

·       Audi- Advancement through technology

Catchy

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of a tagline, the catchiness will determine whether it will stick in people’s heads.

It will be the part responsible for reserving that spot in their minds for your brand so they can easily recall you when needing your services.

It is also arguably the most fun piece, as creating a catchy slogan often requires examples of wordplay.

Good examples

·       Gillette- The best a man can get

·       Maybelline- Maybe it’s Maybelline

Concise

Conciseness is crucial to many parts of branding. The name and mission statement to name just a couple. You are probably tired of hearing the word. However, it is no less important when it comes to taglines.

To be concise you must look at your tagline very critically. Any word in there that does not directly contribute to your message, needs to skedaddle on out of there.

Make. Every. Word. Matter.

Good examples

·       Goodyear- Get there

·       IMAX- Think Big

Clever

Your slogan has also got to be cleverly worded. This will instantly boost your reputation as a brand.

It demonstrates class and professionalism, showing how much effort you put into the process and that you take your brand seriously.

It gives you another chance to have a bit of fun with the wordplay, while also giving you a chance to be witty and to add some tasteful humour to really make it memorably clever.

Good example

·       Dollar Shave Club- Shave time, shave money

Step Two – Recognising Your Brand’s Strengths

Now you know what makes a good tagline. You should now know it is not just simply down to an impulsive thought or stroke of genius.

The tagline instead comes at the end of your strategy, once you have a clear idea in your head what your brand represents, and what gaps you wish to exploit in the market.

The more you know your own business, the easier it will be to produce an effective tagline.

So, let us now start finding out how to recognise your brand’s strengths.

What to find

To start, you must find and fully understand the key parts of your brand. These are:

·       Purpose statement

·       Mission

·       Vision

·       USP

·       Message

·       Values

·       Positioning

·       Our story

·       Our audience

Now you have found these things we can begin the process. For this you will have to create a table with three columns.

Column one

The first column should be titled ‘USP’, which I assume you already know stands for ‘unique selling point’ – well I sure hope you do. This is the most important of the three as every word in it will carry much more meaning when advancing through the process.

These are the keywords that differentiate you from your competition. In simple terms, things you can brag about that your competitors cannot say about themselves.

Column two

Titled ‘primary’, this is where you should note down all the keywords associated with the core of your brand.

Start by thinking about your target audience, picture the stereotypical consumer of your product or service and give thought to both their needs and problems.

Imagine in what ways your brand will satisfy their needs and solve their problems. How will they benefit from you?

Column three

Similar to the ‘primary’ column, the third column – ‘secondary’ – is where you should write all the keywords linked with the secondary core of your brand. This would be terminology associated with the likes of your mission, vision and values.

Try and come up with as many keywords as you can in all three columns, it does not matter how good you think they are at the time, just jot them down so as to create as many options for yourself as possible.

Next, plug all those keywords into a synonym and related words tool (I personally use Powerthesaurus, but others are available) and then write down every relevant synonym, thus creating an even larger plethora of related keywords.

You never know, that online thesaurus could well generate the killer word for your killer slogan.  

Step Three – Putting Together the Foundations for a Tagline

By now you should already have a list of keywords that are directly related to your positioning in the market.

Now, using the earlier mentioned Dollar Shave Club (referred to in future as DSC) as an example, I will show you what you need to do with said keywords.

Pick your best

First off you should go through your list of keywords in each column and pick the best ones.

Choose words that you feel best represent your brand.

DSC for example may have ‘price’, ‘humour’, ‘doorstep delivery’ and ‘the lack of a middleman’ amongst its key words for the USP column. From there we can choose, say, ‘price’ and ‘humour’.

In the instance of primary, DSC could have a list made up of ‘manly’, ‘expensive blades’, ‘having to go to a store’ and ‘quick, no hassle solution’. From that selection of needs and problems faced you could choose ‘quick, no hassle solution’ and ‘expensive blades’.

As for secondary, you could select ‘affordable’, ‘razors’ and ‘clever’ from a list that could also include ‘high quality’ and ‘disruptor’.

Just think to yourself for each column: ‘if my audience could only remember two things about my company what would they be?’.

In the case of DSC for USP, they want to provide consumers with a quick and easy solution to the average more expensive razor blades. Therefore, it makes sense for them to pick ‘affordable’ and ‘quick’.

Mind map

You now possess the raw material that is needed to form your slogan. The next step is to try and mix them in the best, most effective way possible.

A good way to do this is by creating a mind map, the type that can be described as a rough brain dump.

Write down your selected key words and start to branch off them with more ideas.

So, let us return to DSC as an example. One of the words they would have potentially selected was ‘quick’. From this keyword we can branch off into words such as ‘fast’ which could further branch off to ‘save money’, as well as other separate word branches like ‘impulsive’ and ‘delivery’. 

Some words’ branches could lead to the same destination. The word ‘affordable’, for example, can also lead to ‘save money’ this time via a word such as ‘price’. It can also lead off in different directions however, sprouting words such as ‘mainstream’ and ‘mass quantity’.

Once you feel you have made a suitable amount of progress in terms of forming ideas, try converting them into slogans. Just remember to write in your own tone. Afterall, you know your brand better than anyone else.

In the case of DSC, they want to be clever, to the point and want people to instantly know why they should choose them.

They also have a very actionable approach. Which means using verbs in their tagline fits them perfectly: Shave time. Shave money.

Step Four – Fine Tuning the Tagline

Here is the final part of the workshop.

The best taglines seem as if people just made them up on the spot. But it takes a lot of time and effort to make something so simple yet so effective, as I am sure you have slowly come to learn.

You have now begun to think about and play around with potential slogans. The final thing is to rewrite it in these five different styles to figure out which one fits your brand best.

Descriptive tagline

This is the type of tagline that literally describes exactly what people can expect from your service, product or brand.

It could be viewed as boring and obvious, but sometimes that is what the consumers need. It is so on the nose and simple that it becomes memorable.

And it is safe to say there will be no confusion over what your audience think they are getting from your brand.

Good examples

·       Target- expect more, pay less

·   TED- Ideas worth spreading

Superlative tagline

The cocky slogan. “We’re the best and we’re not afraid to tell you about it” – that is what this type of tagline would say if it were given a voice.

This type of tagline is very confident and in your face. This works well at attracting customers as if done effectively, they will believe you are the place to go should they require your service.

Just make sure the rest of your brand can back such a bold slogan.

Good examples

·       BMW- Ultimate driving machine

·       Budweiser- King of beers

Provocative tagline

These are the type of taglines that will get people to think about something. Such slogans are more likely to sit in people’s minds for longer, thus your brand will too.

A frequent way of using this method is by including a question, however this is not a necessity.

If your slogan has created thoughts and emotions within the audience’s mind, then it has done its job as a provocative tagline.

Good examples

·       Adidas- Impossible is nothing

·       Dove- You are more beautiful than you think

Imperative tagline

The bossy one. This is the type you want to use if you wish to get your audience to do something. Convincing them to take action.

You can do this by including verbs and commands within your slogan.

Good example

·       Youtube- Broadcast yourself

Specific tagline

This tagline pretty much states the industry they are in.

It works well if you already have a magical brand name that doesn’t really mean anything on its own.

Good examples

·       *whatever magical name*- skincare products

·       *a silly goofy name*- mortgage brokers

Take your time in forming your perfect tagline, and do not be scared to play around with all the different types and maybe even combine aspects of two or three. Just remember to keep it short, simple and catchy.

You should now have all the tools necessary for creating that killer slogan. Follow the process and create a tagline that will be the envy of all your competitors.

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