Creating the Perfect Tagline

They’re everywhere! We’re literally inundated with them day and night. No matter where we are, we can’t escape them. Yes, we’re talking about the ubiquitous, omnipresent TAGLINE!

You can pretend to ignore them, that you’re impervious to them, but that’s just not so, is it?

Take this little quiz and name the corporation, product or movie (answers are at the end):

1. See what brown can do for you

2. Something special in the air

3. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

4. Got milk?

5. The breakfast of champions

6. Drivers wanted

7. Houston, we have a problem

8. Let your fingers do the walking

9. Love means never having to say you’re sorry

10. We bring good things to life

So you passed with flying colors, did you? Admit it. You’re as “into” taglines as the rest of us. Why? Because taglines capture a company’s spirit in one clever little phrase. They’ve become an invaluable tool for briefly communicating critical business information and developing brand and name recognition.

But how does one dream up these little ditties that stay with us so long? The bigger question may be: how do you – as a business owner, marketing professional, salesperson or anyone, for that matter – create the perfect tagline for your company or client?

First, know your target audience

· Understand various benefits your target audience is looking for and rank them in order of importance to begin developing your tagline.

Define your target response

· What outcome do you want to create … what do you want your audience to think or say?

Brainstorm… brainstorm… brainstorm

· Write a list of words or phrases that communicate your idea and that also tie to your logo or a visual you’re using.

· Look up the words in a dictionary and write down different uses of the word and cross-references to other words.

· Use that list to generate new ideas.

· Cut the list to your top few favorites.

· Then “play” with the words by using tools like rhyming or alliteration.

Simplify… Simplify… Simplify…

· Simplicity adds power. People tend to remember the simplest slogans. Communicate your message quickly, using active verbs.

Rewrite… Rewrite… Rewrite…

· Once you complete your initial drafts, set them aside. Come back later and review them. You’ll probably want to make changes. Keep the process going. When you’ve got it, you’ll know it!

Finally … a few quick DOs and DON’Ts to keep in mind when creating a winning tagline:

· DO collect other company’s taglines and analyze what works and what doesn’t work. (Remember that test you just took? What made those taglines so memorable?)

· DO start by developing a list of what’s unique to what you do and your way of doing it.

· DON’T use hip or esoteric taglines. (You want lots of people to understand it … not just a few.)

· DON’T make your tagline too general.

· DO your own mini-market research. Ask strangers (and acquaintances) if they understand your business after seeing and hearing your tagline.

· DO use your specific target audience in your tagline, if possible.

· DO keep it short.

· DO turn the phrase around. If you can’t say it without skipping a step, then rephrase it.

And, the answers to our tagline quiz (as if you didn’t know) are:

1. UPS

2. American Airlines

3. Star Wars

4. Dairy Council;

5. Wheaties

6. Volkswagen

7. Apollo13

8. Yellow Pages

9. Love Story

10. GE