Establish Your Brand: Create Your Tag Line or Slogan – The Branding Pen Article 6.2

Creating a good tagline or slogan can be a challenge for many business owners, mostly because people tend to focus on what their product or service is and neglect what it offers and what the benefits are.

Your tagline needs to convey precisely what it is you do. While some bigger companies can get away with a vague tag line and it becomes an icon, your company probably isn’t one of those.

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A good tagline will identify your business by capturing the essence of three critical elements:

  • Your mission – pick the focus and stick with it. If you primarily sell one breed of horse over another, or specialize in one discipline,  focus on that.
  • Your promise – what benefit are you delivering? Forget the features, what problem do you solve?
  • Your brand – Use words to convey the feel of your brand, i.e. soothing, strong, modern, tough, etc.

When a potential customer lands on your website, or you hand someone a business card, you want them to instantly understand what problem you can help solve, and why you should be the one to do it, or you risk them going elsewhere to find someone else to help them.

Tagline checklistA few guidelines to keep in mind before getting to the fun part:

  1. A tagline is a summarized version of your USP, so refer back to this for inspiration.
  2. Keep it short. A good tagline should be no more than 7 to 8 words, preferably around 6.
  3. Be clear. Don’t try to be funny or clever right off the bat. Better to stick with words that work and won’t come back to haunt you later on.
  4. Beneficial. Share the purpose and benefits of the product by conveying the message in a language the consumer can identify with. Turn bad into good. Suggest the risk of not using the product (Because So Much is Riding on your Tires). Create a positive feeling. Think of your brand and what promises you make to your customers.
  5. Do try to be different to help set you apart from the competition. Maybe you can tie your tagline in with your logo (Get a Piece of the Rock).
  6. If your business name doesn’t make it clear what you offer right off the bat, make sure your tag line does.

So how do you begin to narrow down your entire company into just a few words?

  1. Ask yourself some questions –
    • What are the main benefits of your product or service? Your potential customers are benefit driven, they want to know what’s in it for them and how your product will make their lives easier/better/happier.
    • What are some keywords associated with your company? If you’re stuck here, check out Wordstream’s Free Keyword Tool.  Remember to focus on key benefits of what you offer, not the features.
    • Describe your company in 3 words.
    • How would you explain what you do to someone who has absolutely no knowledge of your company?
    • Is your audience made up of consumers or other businesses? If your audience is consumers, focus on your customer’s experience with your brand – for example, if you want to inspire them to be better people, it should be in the tagline. If you’re marketing to other businesses, focus on what you deliver to your customers, for example if your company delivers a service because of its high-quality employees, it needs to talk about the sort of people on your team, so words like integrity are good. If it’s a product, encapsulate how it will change the world.
  2. Do some research! Check out your competitors. Look at their websites and see what keywords they’re using to describe themselves. Write down their keywords and taglines so you can see them all in one place.
  3. Don’t forget who your ideal client is! This is about them, not you. Will they get it? As with defining your ideal client, getting as targeted as possible with your tagline will help you refine it into something wonderful.
  4. Determine the tone of your tagline. Are you a really serious organization marketing to other businesses, or are you a fun loving individual with a whacky sense of humor. Depending on your business you may be branding yourself as much as your business, so it’s important to let your personality shine through here.
  5. Write down every tag line or slogan you come up with and don’t delete anything. Don’t filter yourself, just let the ideas flow, no matter how ridiculous they may seem at first. Let everything soak in for awhile before you decide whether you absolutely hate it or not. It just may provide you with additional ideas, or someone else may put a twist on it that you hadn’t considered.
  6. Create variations on what you already have. Every phrase you’ve written down now gives you a basis for even more. You can make the simplest variations such as adding an article, rearranging words to make things flow better, or even replacing words with synonyms.
    ⇒Example: “A tried and true method for the beginning rider,” can become “The perfect solution for amateur riders,” or even “Becoming an accomplished rider has never been easier.”
  7. More soak time. Yeppers, just walk away and come back to it later, with a clear mind and new perspective. Things will look different after a little mental vacation.
  8. Narrow down your choices to just three. Get some feedback from others, both clients and other people in your profession to help you narrow down your list to just a few choices.
  9. Pick one and give it a test drive. Fortunately our branding is not written in stone and we can fine tune and refine it as our business grows, as our experience and skill sets change and as we further define what produce or service we’re offering.

Keep in mind, that everything is subjective and there aren’t any hard and fast rules that you have to follow. Maybe you come up with a phrase that just fits who you are and people will get it, so I would encourage you to be creative and go with what feels right. Your customers will tell you, either directly, or indirectly in some cases, if it’s working or not.

Some memorable tag lines as inspiration for you –

Energizer – Keeps going and going and going.

GE – Imagination at work.

Loreal – Because you’re worth it.

KFC – Finger lickin’ good.

AT& T – Reach out and touch someone.

M&M’s – Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.

VISA – It’s everywhere you want to be.

Burger King – Have it your way.

Maxwell House – Good to the last drop.

Nike – Just do it.

Hallmark – When you care enough to send the very best.

Yellow Pages – Let your fingers do the walking.

Disneyland – The happiest place on earth.

Walmart – Save money, live better.

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