Play On Words: 5 Tools For Creating Your Next Great Tagline

Taglines, mottos, and slogans have been the mainstays of marketing since modern advertising’s dawn in the 1960s. From “It’s the Real Thing” to “I’m Lovin It” to “Think Different”, consumers are exposed to countless advertising slogans, but only the most unique stand out. Dreaming up the perfect tagline entails many factors, from implementing consumer psychology to learning how to convey your message in only a few words. The goal for businesses large and small, though, always remains the same: to create a unique and witty tagline. It can mean the difference between gaining widespread notoriety and cultural relevance to slipping through the cracks and fading away.

Exposure Is Everything

Consumer psychology is an invaluable asset in the marketing toolbox, and you don’t have to have a Ph.D. to use basic thought patterns to your advantage. Take for example the concept of the Mere Exposure Effect. This phenomenon describes how consumers gravitate towards products that they have been repeatedly exposed to. Repetition breeds familiarity in a consumer’s mind and drives them to seek out the brands and products they can recognize even subconsciously. Taglines are vital to building this sense of familiarity with your customers and ensuring that your brand is recognizable even on a subconscious level. An advertising banner featuring impressive graphics will catch a customer’s attention, but a corresponding creative and memorable tagline takes that engagement to another level. It will greatly enhance your graphics and logo’s ability to build brand recognition.

Short and Sweet

If there is one rule to remember when developing your next great tagline it’s to keep it simple. Nike’s “Just Do It” and Airbnb’s “Belong Anywhere” are renowned for their clarity and straightforward language. When advertising you have only seconds to make a lasting impression on potential customers. By keeping your tagline to a maximum of 5 words, you have the opportunity to convey a strong message without losing the consumer’s attention. There is a time and place for detailed descriptions, but your company’s tagline is not one of them. Capture the essence of your brand in as few words as possible and you will reap the rewards of an engaged customer base. 

Get to the Heart of It

There is a fine line between emphasizing pain points and evoking positive emotions in a slogan. Pain points are widely used in the advertising industry as a means of offering a solution to a customer’s problem. Your tagline, on the other hand, cannot focus on the negative, or in this case the pain points because you can send unintentionally pessimistic messages that drive customers away. Remember, marketing and advertising are balance. Each piece of messaging has a job to do. The tagline’s job is to capture the positive, transformative essence of your brand. Just Do It. Run Fast and Break Things. Your various specific initiatives and campaigns are where you can develop and expand upon a clear and concise plan of messaging with your marketing and advertising. 

You’ve Got Character

Finding the hook to sell your story is the key to successfully understanding and communicating your brand. Every business has a story to tell, and in some instances, mascots and brand characters come into play. While they’re not for every business, in the right scenario these characters can be the perfect vessel for promoting your small business’ tagline. Start by understanding the appeal of the big brand characters. From the instantly recognizable Jake from State Farm to Mayhem for Allstate to the friendly stylings of Flo from Progressive, these iconic characters often develop a catchphrase that takes on a life of its own, even eventually transcending the idea of the tagline itself. Wendy’s classic catchphrase Where’s the Beef? comes to mind. Having an iconic character deliver these phrases adds another layer to your tagline and brand. Take inspiration from the most popular advertising characters and feature your prominently on photo banners, web advertising, and any commercials you produce. The more your customers are exposed to your character, the stronger the impression and engagement become.

Moving Backward

If you’re struggling with penning a tagline, consider a change of strategy. Many writers recommend turning the creative process on its head, starting from the end and working backward. Visualize your goals and how the benefits of a successful tagline can transform your business. You can even create a mock-up design of how your tagline will appear on marketing materials such as roll up banner stands so you can brainstorm with a solid visual concept in mind. Having a set vision in mind when brainstorming your business’ slogan will keep you on track and get the creative juices flowing. The end goal remains the same: a tagline that brings your vision to life and manifests the branding goals you have set. 

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