A Good Tagline Needs to be Clever and Clear
- 2/11/2019

A Good Tagline Needs to be Clever and Clear

The right tagline or slogan can help your business stand out from the crowd. With a few well-chosen words, you can convey what you want customers to know about your brand and what sets you apart. Think about the taglines or slogans used by some of the well-known fast food chains. Subway’s “Eat Fresh” lets you know that they’ll make your sandwich with fresh ingredients, and they won’t make it until you order it. Burger King’s “Have It Your Way” tells you that you can order your burger fixed just the way you want it. Taco Bell uses “Think Outside The Bun” to let you know you should choose them when you want something other than a burger.

A tagline can do the same thing for your small business: give customers a reason to choose you over your competition. So the first thing you should do if you want to create a strong tagline is to define not just what you’re selling, but why customers should do business with you: What’s the benefit of buying from you instead of from another similar business?

Once you’ve defined your particular value to your customers, figure out how to express it in a catchy and memorable way. Jot down all the words and phrases that come to mind. Think of words that reflect your actual product or service, but also words that illustrate the experience you’re promising your customers. Ask your staff to contribute. Play around with word combinations, rhymes and alliteration, like the sporting goods company Fila’s “Functional…Fashionable…Formidable”. Avoid overused words like “quality,” “solutions,” or “excellent.”

Typically, you’ll put your tagline in the form of a statement (Visa’s “It’s Everywhere You Want to Be”), command (American Express’s “Don’t Leave Home Without It”), or question (Capital One’s “What’s in Your Wallet?”). Shorter is always better. Clever is of course good, but clarity is critical. You want people to understand the message you’re trying to get across. If you have a hard time coming up with something that meets all the criteria, you might want to engage a professional copywriter. You understand your business, but a professional can supply the way with words you might lack.

Once you have a tagline that resonates, you’ll want to use it on your website and in your email signature, on brochures, letterhead, purchase orders, invoices, envelopes and business cards. Repetition is key to building your brand.