“Just do it.” “I’m Lovin’ it.” “Rethink Possible.” “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” Do these phrases sound instantly familiar? So familiar, in fact, that you immediately envision the product, you imagine the sensation, you taste the sweat and smell the Big Mac, you grip the wheel with your dream hands and stamp down on the accelerator. You experience the brand – all thanks to a few simple words. That’s the power of a great tagline.
Many people may assume that since typical taglines use just a few short, crisp words, a great tagline should be fairly easy to create. Fewer words, less trouble, right? For those of us who make a living one letter at a time, nothing could be further from the truth. Crafting an impactful tagline involves many steps, from researching the product to identifying strengths and weaknesses of the competition to learning the likes and dislikes of the target audience. Plus, tagline creation requires a comprehensive command of the subtleties of language, an ear for poetry, and an eye for design. Here are a few great tips to use when creating a tagline for a company, product or brand:
- Make it Memorable: It sounds easy, but the most important factor to consider is that in addition to the brand name, the tagline captures the minimum information that consumers need to know about a product or company. The only information a consumer has access to when they are not face-to-face with the product, is what they have stored about it in their heads. Short, concise phrases that capitalize on existing idioms or conventions of speech are always great places to start.
- Keep it Modern: Just like fashion or interior design, language has cycles in which certain words, grammatical conventions and patterns of speech become more popular and more commonly used. Today, with the prevalence of social media, there is a trend toward casual and conversational tones in nearly all writing outside of academia. You can see it overtly in blogs and tweets, but it’s even present in journalism and editorial work. A tagline of today should capitalize on this informal tone – the brand and the consumer can speak on the same terms.
- Add Aural Appeal: Taglines love great rhymes. With clear rhythm, meter and time, good lines stay stuck in the mind. Alliteration packs a powerful punch. Plus, repetition is a really, really, really relevant tool. Lame language games aside, infusing aural appeal – or highlighting the sound, not just the meaning of the word – can be a very effective tactic in tagline creation.
- Ignite the Imagination: The tagline is a conceptual piece. A tagline that relies on nebulous or conceptual language is much more likely to inspire new ideas and stimulate the imagination than one that uses declarative language to describe precise details of the brand. A good tagline should take risks, should be open to interpretation and should entice the mind, without shifting focus away from the brand, or mixing up the message. Don’t be afraid to break the rules.
- Trademark It: During the ideation process, it’s important to check each tagline concept thoroughly on Google and USPTO.gov. It can be quite a disappointment (and legally tenuous) if you’ve developed fantastic messaging around a tagline someone else owns. If there’s no record of the tagline in existing patent files, the word or phrase can be trademarked – then it’s yours.
Finally, keep in mind that taglines are temporary. Each tagline should reflect the current moods and market trends. If you continue to strive to develop new tagline ideas based on these easy principles, your brand will stay relevant, captivating and profitable.
For more information on branding strategies in the B2B and B2G arenas, please give us a call at 703-385-8178, or visit our Contact Us page.
Do you have any tagline tips you’ve used in the past? How does the tagline play into your current digital marketing efforts?