5 tips for effective taglines

Got tagline? Ok, that’s a pathetic ripoff of Got milk?the most influential tagline since 1948. But it’s a good question. You know a good tagline when you hear one—when it’s another brand’s. But what’s the secret to developing your own killer tagline?

Before every moment, there’s a moment (Amp Energy), and behind closed doors that’s when people doubt themselves or think too hard and blow it. But don’t get mad, get GLAD, here are 5 tips for creating taglines:

1. Keep it simple. Don’t overthink your message. Nike’s Just do it may just be the best tagline ever. And yet, I imagine there were at least a few people in the room who said, “Do what? This doesn’t make any sense.” Don’t be that person.

2. Keep it real. Don’t promise something in your tagline that you can’t deliver. Notice no airline has the tagline On time every time.

3. Differentiate from competitors. Tastes great, less filling (Miller Lite) does this in four words. Light beer originally was a tough sell because it seemed too watery and didn’t taste like “real” beer. Takes a licking and keeps on ticking (Timex) directly tackles a concern watch wearers had. The few, the proud, the Marines. Two words, “the few,” set the Marines apart and seemingly above other military branches. The trick is you have to know what sets you apart.

4. Connect to your audience. Think about your customers’ needs. What’s important to them? Nationwide is on your side. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. You’re in good hands with Allstate. All three get the concept, but Allstate drives it home. Insurance should make you feel protected. Which one sounds more comforting and protective to you?

Connect to needs or connect to emotions or attitude. Impossible is nothing. Adidas isn’t saying you can do the impossible in their shoes, but they know athletes thrive on that attitude. Know your audience.

5. Make it easy to remember (especially in relation to your product). Welcome to the state of independence. It’s boring. It’s a sentence more than a tagline, and you’d never guess it’s for a car. If Saab was trying to express the feeling of freedom you get behind the wheel, why didn’t they use the word “freedom”? Freedom to just drive. Freedom on four wheels. Freedom is yours. Which one do you think is easier to remember?

All five points are important. If you focus only on keeping it simple, you might end up Moving forward (Toyota) with a bad tagline. Nothing will work if it’s not meaningful.

Test your ideas and trust your creatives. After all, we bring good things to life (GE).

Feel free to add your favorite and least favorite taglines below.


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