The Tagline Creation Process

Flickr photo courtesy of theakshay

My marketing friends Paul Williams and John Moore ask the question: Are Taglines Important? My answer: “You’re darn tootin’ they are.” (It’s a Texas expression)

Their conclusion is that taglines have a place…sort of:

The more undifferentiated a brand is,THE MORE it needs a tagline.

The more distinctive a brand is, THE LESS it needs a tagline.

They could have also included, the newer a business is, the more it needs a tagline.

So I basically agree with their notion, but let me add this: a good tagline can help you differentiate your business and make it more distinctive. To understand why, you have to understand the function and purpose of a tagline:

The function of a tagline is: To communicate a brand’s promise in a sticky, or memorable, way.
The purpose of a tagline is: To get attention and cause people to want to learn more. Good taglines cause potential customers to ask, “What is that?” and “Why should I care?”

A tagline is an entry point into the mind and the decision process of the consumer. There are other entry points too, such as word of mouth and advertising, but taglines, good taglines, can be your brand’s spear-point. Your brand has to fight for the attention of the distracted customer. As my friend, Tagline Jim Morris says: “A Great Tagline is Your Best Brand Communication Tool

So, are taglines necessary to have a successful brand? No. But is it better for your business to have a tagline than not have one? Yes… if it’s a good one. With that in mind here’s how to get a good tagline.

How to Create a Good Tagline

First, understand your goal: To create a tagline that gets people’s attention and gets them interested. It is not to create something you like or customers like.

Rules of a Good Tagline:

  1. Create contrast with words
  2. Break a pattern
  3. Imply a promise

The Process of Tagline Creation:

I. Explore

Start with your brand’s promise, then ask yourself several questions about that promise from the perspective of a customer. Start jotting down keywords while you are answering these questions, words that jump out at you. IE: “collaborate” “innovative” and other words from your values.  Keep these keywords on a list. Pull out a thesaurus and look for synonyms to those keywords.

II. Get  Colorful

– Choose a metaphor for your business.

– Write a story about your business.

– While you do, collect those keywords and key phrases

III. Borrow

Collect Other  Clever Taglines. Get your mind tuned to taglines. Start noticing them. Collect the ones you like and write them down.  See the article below from my blog with several tagline examples. You don’t have to read the entire article, just look at the taglines and see if there are any you like. Collect them.

IV. Assemble

– Insert your keywords, phrases, metaphors into borrowed taglines. See how your keywords fit into popular taglines.

– Synthesize – Then change them up and rearrange them a little bit.

–  Play – Have fun. Be silly. Be serious. Be mysterious.

For more on creating taglines, I recommend this book: The Micro-Script Rules

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