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Creating the Perfect Tagline Can Be Tricky – What Works and What Absolutely Doesn’t

Should you add a tagline to your logo? My clients ask me this all the time and the answer is, it depends.  Consider the following questions:

  • Are you a start-up company with zero name recognition?
  • Is your company name not descriptive or self-explanatory?
  • Are there many similar companies out there and you need to differentiate to compete?
  • Are you changing your offerings significantly through acquisition or reorganization?
  • Do customers constantly confuse you with another company with a similar name or logo?

If you said yes to any of these questions, then adding a tagline to your logo may be helpful to communicating your value to prospects. Taglines have one central purpose: to allow you to stand out for one good, specific reason, setting you apart from your competitors.  It should work in conjunction with your company name, providing the customer with a little better understanding for – and hopefully a connection to – what you have to offer. But did you hear me? You need to pick ONE thing.

So how do you pick the ONE thing? The best taglines are a simple, creative representation of your value proposition to your customers. What is the one thing that you provide to clients that meets a need or a want AND makes you different? Now why does that MATTER to your clients? That’s your value prop. Once you’ve finished that work, you are ready to move to the creative process.

What works in a tagline?

Imagery Works

Fresh Handmade Cosmetics.

This is the tagline for Lush, a cosmetic brand that touts all-natural, cruelty-free products. This simple tagline perfectly communicates the brands unique positioning and benefit, and the descriptive language dovetails nicely with the company visually stirring name, Lush. Every Lush product comes with a sticker cartoon of the person who handmade it for you, so their tagline actually paints a picture. With imagery-rich descriptors like “fresh” and “handmade,” it immediately makes you want to indulge in their products.

Casual Tone Works

Your Stuff, Anywhere.

This is Dropbox’s tagline and the casual simplicity is relatable and memorable, yet it clearly communicates the value prop.

Subtle Fear Works

Travel Wisely.

This is the tagline for Travelocity. It works because they are implying that if you use one of the many other travel sites, you aren’t making the smartest, most economical choice.

Pulling on Emotion Works

Help is a Four-Legged Word

This is the genius tagline for Canine Companions for Independence, which is a non-profit that matches free assistance dogs to adults, children, and veterans with disabilities. Their tagline explains the value the organization brings, in a heartwarming, inspiring way that sparks imagery as well.

What absolutely doesn’t work?

  • A tagline that talks about your company itself; using overused words like “world class”, “quality”, “solution”, “team”, “service”, “customer focused” and “excellence”.
  • Ambiguous, sweeping terms that any company could use.
  • Mentioning several products or services you offer.
  • Cliché lines that are painfully over-used and communicate nothing like, “From the Ground Up” or “Made by X for X”, or “Efficient and Effective”.

Creating an effective tagline that connects with your audience is tricky, hard work. If you find yourself stuck or lacking internal consensus on the right path to take, it’s definitely a good idea to get some professional consultation and do it right the first time!

This post is courtesy of MMC Account Manager Jeni Stephens

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