Have you ever seen an ad online and had no idea what product was being sold? Or spotted a tagline in an email that was longer than the body of the email itself? Yeah, us too. If you’re not careful, your business can fall into the same trap. We asked 10 successful entrepreneurs to share their secrets for making a slogan or tagline really resonate (and make sense, too). Here’s what they said:
1. Keep It Simple
We see so many taglines that try to say too much. If you can’t explain to people in three to five words what you do, then it will be hard to communicate the vision to your employees. A slogan isn’t just about marketing success, it’s also about having internal customers see the vision and the mission that the company is working on. —Derek Capo, Next Step China
2. Avoid the Marketing Meeting Effect
Too many slogans and taglines today take what I call the “generic lifestylist” path. They’re vague and kind of hollow-sounding (think KFC’s “So Good” or The Source’s “I Want That”). You can practically see the soulless marketing meeting that happened behind the scenes. Instead, slogans and taglines should speak directly to a benefit.
—Amanda Aitken, The Girl’s Guide to Graphic Design
3. Tell a Story
What’s your story? What gets you emotional when you think about what you do? Whatever it is, that’s your positioning. Your logo and tagline should communicate precisely that feeling. Also, get a great firm working at your side. Our investors, Breakaway Innovation Group, helped us tremendously with our new branding. —Jordan Fliegel, CoachUp
4. Explain Your Offering
It’s true that the best taglines are simple and memorable, but they’re also something else: functional. A tagline should explain your product or service to potential customers or capture what it is that makes your business different from your competitors’ businesses. —Brittany Hodak, ZinePak
5. Communicate With Clarity
Make sure your tagline provides a picture of what you do. Branding is all about clarity. Most people try to be too cute. For example, Lexus’s old tagline, “Pursuit of Perfection,” connects with their audience of high achievers who are literally pursuing perfection. What Lexus is signaling is that their car provides the visual evidence that you as the driver are pursuing perfection.
—Raoul Davis, Ascendant Group
6. Describe Who You Are
You shouldn’t worry about being cool or edgy with your tagline. Your goal should be a tagline that encapsulates in a few words the best of what your company is. What is it about your product that will make people’s lives better? Now, evoke that with supreme economy. This is not easy to do. That is why there are copywriters. —Danny Boice, Speek
7. Require a Double Take
A good slogan gets engrained in consumers’ heads the first time they are exposed to it. A good example of this is a local air conditioning company that uses controversy for its tagline: “Your wife is hot.” Citgo grabs attention by leveraging a play on words: “Fueling Good.” The same goes for an energy company that kills two birds with one slogan: “Changing the Current.” —Logan Lenz, Endagon
8. Keep It Short and Simple
A tagline needs to say a lot with a little. For example, at Astonish, our tagline is “The Best Friend of the Local Agent.” It speaks to our audience and says a ton. It says we care, we are here, we will support you in your time of need, we will celebrate with you in your time of success, a friend of yours is a friend of ours, and an enemy of yours is our enemy, too. That’s a powerful tagline! —Adam DeGraide, Astonish
9. Say Just Enough
Taglines should evolve with the company and are not easy to create. Some easy pitfalls are trying to wrap what you do, why you do it, who you’re doing it for, and where you are doing it all in one tagline. Another easy pitfall is getting too cutesy. Not every slogan needs alliteration, a clever rhyme, or a pun.
—Abby Ross, ThinkCERCA
10. Be Scenario-Driven
The broader your tagline is, the more often people will forget about your product. The more focused it is, the more people will think about your product when a specific, real-world scenario happens. Then that tagline gets triggered, and they think about your product. You have to be specific and scenario-driven.
—Rameet Chawla, Fueled