Thursday, November 7, 2013

Does Your Brand Need A Tagline?

These days, every brand needs to stand out in order to attract customers and also keep customers. So how does your brand do it? Do you bake amazing chocolate cakes? Do you manufacturer ergonomic chairs? Do you provide insurance for classic automobiles? Whatever your business does, one way to differentiate yourself from the competition is with a unique tagline. But since not every business has one, how do you know if your brand needs one?

Everyone can recognize the brands behind these famous taglines: Just Do It, A Diamond Is Forever, and Think Different. But Nike, DeBeers, and Apple would have been just as successful without those taglines – or would they?

According to Wikipedia, “A tagline is a small amount of text which serves to clarify a thought for, or designed with a form of, dramatic effect. Many tagline slogans are reiterated phrases associated with an individual, social group, or product. As a variant of a branding slogan, taglines can be used in marketing materials and advertising. The idea behind the concept is to create a memorable dramatic phrase that will sum up the tone and premise of an audio/visual product or to reinforce and strengthen the audience’s memory of a literary product. Some taglines are successful enough to warrant inclusion in popular culture.” (1)

However, taglines are also referred to as slogans. According to Wikipedia, “Advertising slogans are short, memorable group of words used in advertising campaigns. Some slogans are created just for specific limited-time campaigns; others are intended as a corporate slogan, to be used for extended periods. Various slogans start out as the former, and are, over time, converted into the latter as ideas take hold with the public. Some advertising slogans are memorable after general use is discontinued.” (2)

Can you identify these taglines or slogans?

  • We’re Number Two. We Try Harder = Avis
  • The Ultimate Driving Machine = BMW
  • Expect More. Pay Less. = Target
  • Breakfast of Champions = Wheaties
  • Bags Fly Free. = Southwest Airlines
  • What’s in your wallet? = Capital One

So what should your company consider when the “do we need a tagline” discussion arises? And make no mistake, one of these days, a member of your senior leadership team – and 99% of the time, it won’t be the head of marketing – will enter a conference room for a team meeting and say, “I think we need a tagline.”

If your team can answer these five questions, then you may be ready for a tagline:
[1] Would a tagline clarify the brand’s competitive strength or strengths?
[2] Would a tagline speak to the target audience?
[3] Would a tagline get lost in the visual representation of your brand (the logo)?
[4] Would a tagline reflect the personality of your brand?
[5] Would a tagline be easily associated with your brand (memorable)?

Remember, the key for a successful tagline is to integrate it into all aspects of your marketing strategy from online marketing to in-store displays, from email marketing to advertising, from public relations to social media, etc. The tagline has to become an appendage to your brand story.

And lastly, to quote Benjamin Franklin,
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about. If you have an amazing tagline, it will accomplish both.

Whats your favorite tagline? To see some of my favorites, check out my Pinterest Board:

Sources for this post:
(1) Wikipedia: Tagline

(2) Wikipedia: Advertising Slogan

Image Credit: Stuart Miles via

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

1 comment:

  1. Without a doubt, yes. People need something short and sweet to remember you by. Most people only know what you tell them about yourself


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