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Five Steps To A Memorable Tagline

By September 5, 2012June 26th, 2015Writing & Content Marketing
Five Steps To A Memorable Tagline

“What’s the line?” Don Draper shouts at the copywriter in this season’s final episode of Mad Men. The team at SCDP is pitching Jaguar and after several days of agonizing creative work no one was hitting the right note. Finally, the young copywriter Ginsberg delivers “the line”:

“At last, something beautiful you can truly own.”

Love it or hate it, that line inspired lots of buzz in the blogosphere this year and that’s exactly what a good tagline is supposed to do – get people energized; talking about and recognizing your brand.

Your company’s tagline is part of the BIG THREE elements of your brand: name, logo and tagline.

  • Your name anchors your company in the minds of customers and prospects. It represents your business and creates a memory link between your company and the market.
  • Your logo is the visual representation of your company. It is the visual that people associate with your company, product and services when they SEE it.
  • Your tagline is the written/verbal representation of your company, product and services. It is the link that people associate with your company, product and services when they HEAR/READ it.

Because different people process information differently in their memory, you really need all three to create a strong brand awareness. Working with small business owners I’ve found that while just about everyone has a business name and most businesses have logos, very few have taglines.

If your business doesn’t have a tagline, you’re missing a key element of your branding and marketing.

Let’s see exactly how this works. Here are three taglines from three global brands. Do you know what companies these taglines represent?

  1. The Ultimate Driving Machine?
  2. I’m Lovin’ It!
  3. The Magic Begins Here.

I’ll give you the answers in just a minute.

Great Taglines Begin Here

Here are the five elements that every tagline needs to consider:

  1. Value. What is the primary value (intrinsic worth or merit) you want your tagline to express?
  2. Customer Experience. What is the primary experience you want your tagline to express?
  3. Feature. What is the most important thing that you offer your customers?
  4. Benefit. What is the most important thing (advantage or improvement)  that your customers receive when they work with you?
  5. Customer/Tribe. Who are you connecting with?

Elements 1 through 4 are often part of the actual tagline. Element 5: Customer or Tribe may not be part of the actual tagline or is often expressed as “You.”

Don’t be fooled, professional tagline writers know exactly who “you” are and exactly what “you” want when they create their tagline. When you create a tagline for your small business you need to know exactly who you are taking to as well.

And the Answers Are

Here’s how this works in practice with our global brand taglines:

  • The Ultimate Driving Machine — BMW. Expresses the value of BMW’s German engineering.
  • I’m Lovin’ It — McDonald’s. Expresses the customer experience of eating at McDonald’s and/or the taste of the food.
  • The Magic Begins Here – Disneyland. Expresses the feature of visiting the park and the experience of being there.

Taglines are just as critical for small businesses.  Here’s an example tagline for a CPA. The tagline for our CPA example is: The Knowledge to Act.

Here’s how that breaks down:

Value: Knowledge

Customer Experience: Act

Feature: Knowledge

Benefit:  Act

Customer: High Growth Companies

As you can see in this example, we repeated the value/feature and customer experience/benefit. That can make the tagline even more powerful and memorable – exactly what you want in a good tagline.

Although your final tagline may not use all four separate elements and often will repeat words to make the tagline easier to remember, I encourage you to start with four different elements and create at least three different taglines before you make a final decision.

Developing Your Tagline Elements

Now it’s Your Turn. For each of the five elements below, fill in the one to three words that best express that element for your business:

My Value is: _________________________________

My Customer Experience is ______________________

My Feature is _________________________________

My Benefit is __________________________________

My Customer/Tribe is ____________________________

Now that we have the elements you need for your tagline, let’s create the actual phrase.

Create Your Tagline

We recommend putting three to five taglines on the page and reviewing them with your team, your partners, a  mastermind group or a few of your best customers to do a little market testing before making a final decision.

You should consider checking to see if your preferred tagline is available as a URL or domain name.

It is a marketing advantage to have your company name, your product/service name (if you have one) and your tagline locked up on the Internet.

Rather than just writing the phrase down, let’s put it on a chart along with the features, value and benefits and experience it represents. It’s a fast and easy way to capture all the elements.

Tagline Formation Chart


Taglines are a powerful way to represent your company, products and services.

It’s a key component of building your brand.

That’s my take on taglines, what’s yours?

Join the discussion 34 Comments

  • Seems like you have broken down a simple tag writing into complex structure, Clare (that’s great, because, we can get more attention with our tagline, right?)

    As with my tagline, I have changed mine for the years, especially with my old blog. I have always been wondered my the taglines of popular companies, so I always used to experiment with the taglines of my blog/brand. But, I decided not to do that for my new blog. My new blog, I have always stuck with “Break the Rules”.
    Value is: Breaking the existing rules or norms of the niche – blogging and personal development and going beyond what others advocate.
    Customer experience: The experience of experimenting and going beyond the normal restrictions 🙂

    As with benefit, we will be able to find better strategies to get better results.

    • Jeevan, it sounds like you’re ahead of the game! I think I’ve only changed the tagline for my business twice but I can’t say I ever gave it this type of specific thought. Clare gives us some really good stuff to think about here.

    • clarestweets says:

      Yes, taglines can get more exposure than logos if done well. Got milk? Probably the most famous and copied tagline of all had no logo with it. Sounds like you have given great thought to yours Jeevan. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  • Adrienne says:

    That’s a great post Clare and this is an issue I’ve had ever since I created my blog. As most know, I just threw up a tagline and yes, it’s very generic. I had no idea even what direction I was going at the time.

    I had several copywriters tell me that my tagline was too generic but I struggled with what to say. Then I joined a program last year just to dive deeper into how to brand me and my tagline. Funny this is, they did a review of my blog and said “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I get a lot of comments on my posts and a lot of traffic to my blog so here I’ve been worrying about this all this time and it doesn’t even matter anymore.

    Okay, it probably does but I’m past that now. I wish I had this advice early on, I’d probably have come up with something way better then I have.

    Thanks for these pointers and great post Clare.


    • I remember hearing you tell that story, Adrienne. It’s funny how something so small and short can be the cause of so many headaches. I could write a 3000 word blog post easier than I can write a 5 word tagline. They trick is to get the right combination of elements that Clare talked about and most of us don’t have this kind of guidance when we start out. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to check out Clare’s marketing system, you’d have a pretty good jump on the competition 🙂

    • clarestweets says:

      Thanks Adrienne. Glad to hear you are getting a great response to your blog today abut if you ever want to stimulate a conversation, changing your tagline is a great way to do it. Keep it in your back pocket for slower time.

  • Annie Sisk says:

    What a great little system for taglines! Love it. So many folks I help are stuck on the tagline in ways that they aren’t with respect to logos and names. This will be very helpful!

    • The short stuff is the hardest! Take it from someone who’s never been accused of writing a short post 🙂

      • Annie Sisk says:

        Preaching to the choir, Sister Carol Lynn! 😀 I don’t think I’ve EVER written less than 500 words – and the vast majority clock in around the 800-1200 mark, LOL.

        • clarestweets says:

          Me either! Except today when all I did was refer my readers to this blog. I hope many come and stay as subscribers for more great advice. This site never disappoints!

  • Love this post — it’s a simple, but not necessarily easy process to do. Will be recommending our mastermind group do this as an activity soon!

  • Hi Clare,
    Excellent tips. I surely jot them down for future use. The tag line is indeed not only important, but a sale driving tool as well.
    I like how you dissect the tag line to help us create our own. I am going to try that for a video presentation of my business that I am going to make.
    Thank you for this 🙂

  • Donna Merrill says:

    Hi Clare,
    These are excellent tips. I have to go back and re-check my tag line. I’ve been blogging for almost 2 years. You know how much change that involves. Two years on the internet world equals about 15 in real life time. So As I evolved, I realize my tagline did not.
    You have successfully made my wheels turn! I thank you.

    • It’s great that you’re open and willing to change, Donna. I know once we picked our first tagline I was just, DONE, didn’t think about it again for years! But things change and no doubt it pays to look at your business with fresh eyes.

  • geofflivingston says:

    Really great post here. I love the pragmatic how-tos. Thank you for writing this!

  • Sue Price says:

    Great information Clare and I love the process. I struggled with mine when I came online as I was much like Adrienne not knowing which direction I was taking.
    I am not clear and my tag line says it exactly. It is not very catchy though.


  • Sonia says:

    Excellent post Clare. I never thought of the process in this sense, but it comes to me with great timing. I love how you broke it down in sequences so we can truly “get” how it all ties together. There is some improvement I need to take and this information will come in handy. Thank you!

  • Hi Claire,

    That’s wonderful how taglines comes out and play for our brand awareness 🙂 I was curious about the mystery logos which reflects more complex meanings than we see in it. Well, gotta zoom and stare at it few more minutes 😉

    I think taglines are powerful but needs to be visible to our customers 🙂 Correct me if I’m wrong. Mostly they comes along with logo or in advertising/publicizing. Else taglines will be not to catch attention but for people do research in businesses to find out and teach fellow students do business or management studies.

    McDonalds, Disney are really good at it. If I take industries, I can recall fast food companies for example.

    I like the part of “Creating Tagline”. Rather than thinking on a line, it can help to be consistent with integrity and either way (reading it all or braking in to pieces), it has a meaning.

    Got a question for both of you (Incl. Carol): Is it really necessary to lock up tagline if it’s available on internet as a domain?

    Have a lovely weekend ahead for both 🙂


    • It’s not necessary, no, just consider it a nice bonus. If you CAN then grab it. In fact, “web search social” is part of the tagline for my production company. We bought 2 domains to go along with it, and we’re using one for this blog and the other one is just hanging out waiting for the next great idea 🙂

      Of course, you have to be smart about it because depending on your tagline it may not work as a domain. You might want to modify or shorten it. Do you have one in mind?

      • Well, What I’ve got is “Tips to Optimize Your Blogging and Web Experience” 🙂 It’s been using since day one dear. If I go for a domain I gotta need a shorten version of it, right? 🙂

        • hm, yes you need something punchier for a domain~! I think you could also remove “tips to” and just start with the verb: Optimize your blogging…”

          Maybe you could try

  • Stacey Shimabukuro-Lui says:

    Loved this post. I especially liked the “worksheet” which helped me work through the process of developing effective taglines. It helped to personalize the article for my own circumstances. Thanks for writing this!