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7 steps to a company tagline that fits your brand

Big-IdeasComing up with a company tagline is no walk in the park. Capturing a big idea in one perfect, pithy phrase is like giving birth: lots of time is invested in “baking”… you tend to compare yourself to others (as if it makes any difference at all…) and bringing the baby into the world is agonizing work… but the joy you get every time you look at that baby is awesome and infectious!

Seriously, taglines—for companies, products or services—are often difficult to create, but both the process and the result are very important. A tagline’s goal is to capture the essence of your brand, connect with your audience, and make them want more. That’s a big job for just a few words (of course you’ll have other branding elements to support it, but still…). A tagline is a living thing, breathing extra life into your logo, and it plays a big role in attracting customers to your business.

It’s so important, we’re gonna let you in on a little secret: our true, honest-to-goodness (if tongue in cheek) process for creating one. Give it a go; let us know how you make out!

1.    Prep your work area: Find yourself some markers or crayons and a large sheet of paper; maybe even two. (Hey, stop right there! I know what you’re thinking. Now step slowly away from the computer and face the wall. Even a big screen is too small for this kind of thinking. You need an expansive surface.)

2.    Gather competitive info: On this awesomely blank canvas, start listing:

  • your competitors’ taglines,
  • lines from companies* (or products, or services) you love, and
  • any others you think are the cat’s meow.

Take a few days; research is part of writing. Don’t try to speed this up; you’re priming your pump. (Trust us, you have a pump, you’ve just been on 21stC pace for so long, you’ve forgotten; developing a great tagline is kind of… 18thC, you know? Slow down.)

3.    Trim ruthlessly: On day 2 or 3, scribble out any taglines that could apply to just about any company in your industry.  You know, “service is job 1” – that sort of thing.

Really, generic taglines don’t help unless MAYBE you invest a branding BUNDLE. Bite the bullet and invest in a tagline that wraps its legs around your audience and gives ‘em a big ole kiss—metaphorically speaking , of course. You’ll save thousands long term, K?  Let’s move on…

Axe those that don’t pump up their company’s brand, too. Those that remain should inspire you. Read them aloud; get a lock on their rhythm. Now dump everything. That’s right, throw away the paper and stick up a fresh one. Now, jot down as many words as you can in 10 minutes that describe your brand’s personality—edgy,  imaginative, real, results-oriented  (oops, those are ours, sorry). Do it fast, and have fun with this.

Go home, enjoy a glass of wine—preferably a nice red (the tannins nourish right brain cells)—get a good night’s sleep. See you tomorrow.

4.    Labor, Day 1: Have an extra cup of coffee, and on a second nice clean sheet of paper, write your company’s top 5-10 benefits, from the customers’ viewpoint; this will require standing on your head. Really, it’s harder than it looks.

Rules: Don’t list features (“we offer project management”). Don’t list descriptions of your features written in customer language (“we’ll manage your projects for you”). Pull out the real live benefits (“your business will be able to grow and you’ll still know what your kids look like”).

After a light lunch, throw down some one-sentence answers to the question:  “what’s so good about [your company]?” Write 10-20 of ‘em; use your personality/benefit statements to juice your work.

Tagline-exhaustion-300x1995.    Day 2 of labor: Nip and tuck the fatty words in your piece. Filet the flab until you have a handful of phrases that, when you read them aloud, sound like the person who best represents your company, speaking to your best customer.

Caution! This process may give you indigestion, cause involuntary bouts of potty mouth and shift the time-space continuum so that you forget when to go home. Don’t be alarmed, just stay away from sharp objects and anyone judgmental.

6.    Birth! When your husband, wife or co-worker picks you up from the floor, sit in a quiet spot, close your eyes and imagine your best employee chatting with your best customer… see them, imagine their conversation as they talk about what they love most about your company. Pick the tagline that resonates most with them. Then stand on the couch and do a happy dance.

Now, go make taglines! Boost your brand. And if you find yourself stuck in false labor, you can always us a call.

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