What’s the Big Deal About Taglines Anyway?

Oh, the tagline. The biggest anticipated thing of any brand strategy. And likely the biggest stressor. Just think about the work that went into these great taglines:

  • Just Do It (Nike)
  • Think Different (Apple)
  • Can You Hear Me Now? (Verizon)
  • Finger Lickin’ Good (KFC)

I could honestly go on and on sharing memorable taglines. And that is exactly why they work – they’re memorable.

At Syrup, we define a tagline as a short, memorable description that becomes identified with the brand. Taglines are emotional. They are intended to leave a lasting effect during a short encounter with the recipient. They should help your audience understand the bigger picture and leave them wanting more. It’s that emotional punch where you say just enough and leave them wanting more.

But you’ve likely also heard the term “slogan” before…so what’s the difference? A tagline is going to evoke an image and likely appears next to a logo associated with brand awareness, while a slogan encompasses what you stand for and promoted in other places to promote who the brand is. (Hubspot explains the difference in slogans and taglines here.) You don’t need both. For many brands, it’s going to depend on who you are and who your audience is when deciding if you need a tagline or a slogan. I suggest starting with a tagline. Find that strong, emotional phrase that piques interest. Then go from there.

Here’s why it’s important to start with the emotions:

Go back to that list of taglines up top. Do any of them describe the brand? Or say why they’re different? Nope. You likely only associate these taglines with a brand because they are emotional and connect with the brand. You can visually see the brand after seeing or hearing the tagline. That’s powerful.

When we brainstorm a new tagline, we make sure it is one or more of these things:

  • Short
  • Rhyme/Jingle/Alliteration
  • Speaks to issue or problem
  • Speaks to what you want for the client/customer
  • Creates a visual
  • Value or value proposition
  • Literal
  • Longevity
  • Punny – Double entendre
  • Clear over clever

I love to just start writing words on a whiteboard – adjectives that describe you, things that your audience wants, things you help your audience achieve with your product or service, how you want them to feel, etc. From there you can put words together and find those phrases that pique the interest of others.

But remember, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Sometimes your name and industry mean you should work on a slogan, not a tagline. Sometimes you need the tagline to be synonymous with your brand and included with the logo. And sometimes, the tagline just needs to be in the footer of your email or on your website. It’s different for everyone and you have to find what speaks to your unique audience. What connects with them emotionally?

If you’re struggling with a tagline, I would love to help. There is power in a Syrup team brainstorm. Reach out to me here or here.

Morgan Alverson