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How to Write a Terrific Tagline

Taglines are words that accompany your business name.

Here at the Big Brand System, the tagline is, “Your business may be small, but your brand can be BIG.”

A tagline can be an asset if you know how to craft it.

It’s like a little salesperson who proclaims what’s best about what you do. So why do so many companies either not utilize them, or simply get them wrong?

Not enough attention has been paid to the humble tagline and I’m here to remedy that.

Let’s talk about what makes a great tagline, and go through the steps I follow when I’m working with a client to craft one for their business, so that you can create one, too.

Rule number one

The most important rule is that your tagline should be short and it should be clear.

Every time I work with a client to create one, I use the same, tired joke:

“Your tagline should be short and clear enough that if it’s on a billboard, people won’t drive off the road trying to read it.”

This means your tagline should be no more than seven or eight words, and you should pick words that are crystal clear. If your business name is long, keep your tagline even shorter.

Complement and complete the business information

If your business name isn’t descriptive, your tagline should complete the information.

So if your company is called “Jones & Smith, Inc.,” and you manufacture doll house furniture, use these additional words to do the job of explaining exactly what you offer.  In this case, you could write one like this:

creating a brand with a descriptive tagline

Since your company name doesn’t explain what you do, your tagline completes the information.

On the other hand, if your name states exactly what you offer, your tagline can complement it by stating the benefit of your product or service.

Let’s use the same company and change the name:

creating a brand tagline is different when your business name is descriptive

Adding “Fine Furniture for Tiny Homes” would be re-stating the information conveyed in the company name. Instead, let’s try one focused on a benefit:

creating a brand tagline that focuses on the benefits your business provides

And that’s good because … ?

Use this question to help you discover the benefit your tagline should state. To find the benefit, ask (and answer) the question above. Keep asking, and keep answering until you run out of answers. (Actually, this is an important marketing exercise that I wrote an entire post about).

If we go back to our example, here’s how the brainstorming might go:

Q: What benefit does our product offer?
A:
It provides high-quality furniture for doll houses.

Q: And that’s good because…?
A:
It allows children to play with the furniture for many years without worrying about breaking it.

Q: And that’s good because…?
A. Those children will grow up, and they can pass the doll furniture on to their own children.

Q: And that’s good because…?
A. The furniture will live on beyond the buyer’s life.

Q: And that’s good because…?
A. Well, because immortality is always good.

You get the idea: keep answering the question “and that’s good because?” until you can’t answer it any more. You’ll end up with benefits that get to the heart of what will motivate your customers. That core motivation is what you should reference in your tagline.

The secret power of a well-crafted tagline

You know what’s great about taglines that no one seems to talk about? They offer you fantastic flexibility. Your business name has to be registered with the authorities, and is in all your legal documents, your web site URL, your signage and more. If you decide to change your name, it’s a real hassle.

Taglines aren’t as permanent.

You can create a new one for your business pretty easily. If your company changes direction, or you add to the services or products you offer, you can simply re-write or add to your existing tagline.

Taglines are terrific vehicles for communicating your offer. Does your business have one? Are you happy with it?

Note: This post was originally published on April 14, 2010.

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Need a tagline but you can't afford to hire an expensive copywriter to create one for you? No worries — you've got everything you need to write a tagline that drives the right kind of attention to your business! Just click and follow this easy, step-by-step process. #copywriting #branding #diybranding

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15 thoughts on “How to Write a Terrific Tagline”

  1. We’re a client of Pamela’s and she explained tag lines to us so clearly. We came up with our tag line within 10 minutes with her guidance and we’re using it in so many different ways. Thanks, Pamela!

  2. Great post! I’m in the middle of website revamp and you just helped me figure out in 5 minutes what I’ve been agonizing over all day! Thanks!

  3. This is an amazing article.
    First of all, I never had a tagline and never thought about its importance.
    Now you have not only explained why I should have one, but also how to create it. It took me 2 minutes to relize what should my tagline be. Thank you!

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