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As you work on your brand and how you want to present it to the world, communicating the heart of what you’re about is at the top of the list.

Eventually you’ll be able to share your vision and mission with your audience, but how do you get their attention and interest first?

In today’s episode, Cory examines the qualities of an effective tagline and how to capture people’s attention quickly.

Highlights, Takeaways, & Quick Wins:
  • Your tagline should pull people in, get them interested, and help them remember your brand.
  • A tagline is important because you want people to remember you and connect your narrative to their own.
  • Don’t use a single word as a tagline—it’s too vague.
  • Make your tagline simple, memorable, consistent, unique, and targeted.
  • Target your tagline for the people you’re trying to help and reach.
  • Condense the result of your product or service into a short sentence.
  • State a fact about your brand that makes it unique in your tagline.
  • Clearly state how your customer or client’s life is going to be better as a result of buying from you.
  • If the context is right, you can include your unique advantage or your brand’s promise somewhere in the tagline.
Show Notes
  • 01:08 Cory: I want to talk about what a tagline is, why it’s important, some examples of effective taglines, and some methods for coming up with effective taglines for yourself. A tagline can also be known as a slogan, and it’s basically a short, catchy, or memorable word or phrase that condenses everything it represents into something that’s memorable, short, and gives a little glimpse into what that thing is about.
  • 01:41 This can be for a company, campaign, product, or service. When we create a tagline, we’re trying to pull people in, get them interested, and help them remember your brand. A tagline isn’t necessarily meant to compel someone to buy. It’s just to get them interested. We just want to get them to say, “Oh, interesting.” We want them to have some kind of draw to your brand.
  • A tagline is important because you want people to remember you.

  • 02:23 Ultimately, that’s what a brand is. You want people to think about you in a certain way. You want people to connect your brand with parts of their everyday life. A tagline isn’t necessarily supposed to compel someone to buy, but it might. The purpose of a tagline is for someone to remember you. It doesn’t mean that you’re creating a banner that says, “Get 20% off when you buy today.” That’s not a tagline. That’s an advertisement.
  • 02:53 Or even something like, “It’s a really cool smart watch that’s better than all the other smart watches.” That’s not very compelling or memorable. It’s not really going to help anybody remember you. You want people to remember you, think about you, and connect your narrative with their own. They’re walking around their house, they look at something, and they go, “I remember that thing I read the other day, that website I went to, that company I saw.”
  • 03:24 All parts of a brand are meant to build up memorability, whether that’s in the visuals, the logo, or the way they’ve interacted with you in the past. The tagline is just a tool to help them connect the dots.

Effective & Ineffective Taglines

  • 03:42 Cory: I want to share some examples of effective taglines for companies, campaigns, and products. I chose some of the companies I’ve interacted with in my life or ones that are pretty well known. The first one is FedEx. Their tagline is The World On Time. They have a couple of different subsidiaries of the FedEx corporation. When There Is No Tomorrow is a tagline for the corporate FedEx. Nespresso, if you aren’t familiar with this brand, is the top of the line name for capsule-based coffee.
  • 04:26 There was Keurig for a while, and they’re still pretty big, but Nespresso is taking it to a whole new level. I just went to a Nespresso store the other day, an actual store, and it felt like I was walking into this really premium experience. They were selling capsules that make coffee. I find that very interesting. Their tagline is, What Else? You think, “That’s really short. That’s interesting.” They’re saying, “Nespresso. What else?”
  • 04:55 They’re trying to convey, “What other coffee is there? There’s no other coffee. Just get Nespresso. Why would you choose anything else?” There is all of this messaging. Their mission and their values are baked into these two simple words, which is really interesting. A few more… Verizon, for a while, was Can You Hear Me Now? I don’t know if anyone remembers that particular campaign, that particular push.
  • 05:25 In the commercials, the guy was walking around with a phone saying, “Can you hear me now? Good.” Basically everywhere I go where someone has a bad connection, I hear them say, “Can you hear me now?”
  • Taglines can use something people use in everyday life and connect that back to a brand.

  • 05:48 H&M, Fashion and Quality at the Best Price. Now, they’re making very compelling statements about their brand, their company, and their values. They want people to know that they’re going to get fashion and quality, but they also want people to know that this is at the best price. You don’t have to pay a lot of money to be fashionable or have quality clothes products. In fact, I went to H&M’s website, and the main tagline I saw at the top was, Sustainability: Look Good, Do Good, Feel Good.
  • 06:20 I guess with this new campaign they have going on, this new product line and venture of theirs, they want to make sure that their clothes are sustainable. They want their clothes to be sourced from sustainable resources. I thought that was fascinating. With seanwes, the company that I work for, our tagline or slogan, if you go to our website, is Build and Grow an Audience-Driven Business. Again, this isn’t necessarily our mission or our vision.
  • 06:57 This is something we’re trying to get people to remember, so when they’re like, “When I think about growing my business, what do I want to think about? I want to think about seanwes.” That’s what brand is. Here are some examples of poor taglines that I’ve found. 3M’s tagline was: Innovation. That’s a terrible tagline.
  • People aren’t going to associate a single verb, adverb, or noun with your company.

    A single word is too vague for a tagline.

  • 07:31 It’s very difficult to do one or two word slogans. You can do it, like Nespresso. What Else? Apple, for a while, was Think Different. I don’t know if that’s their current slogan. You can do it. It’s very difficult. Single word slogans are very difficult, and I don’t recommend it. Innovation? Bleh. Another poor tagline. Diesel: Be Stupid. I chose this as a poor tagline because I think that’s really dumb. Maybe that’s really effective for their target audience.
  • 08:02 “Okay, I’ll remember that. When I want to be stupid, I’ll buy Diesel.” I think it’s pretty terrible. Mazda: Zoom-Zoom. Really? Personally, I think those are terrible, but maybe you have a different opinion. Then there are campaign or product taglines. Those were all examples of company taglines, but I want to get into more campaign and product taglines in this next section.

Campaign & Product Taglines

  • 08:30 Cory: Aerie is a subsidiary of American Eagle Outfitters. Aerie recently ran a campaign with the tagline, The Real You Is Sexy. That whole campaign was about how they were changing to no longer photoshop their models to make the image look “better.” They were just going to take pictures, and that was what they were going to use for their models. I thought that was pretty cool. That’s an interesting way that they’re setting themselves apart as unique.
  • 09:11 All these other clothing companies are airbrushing and using photoshop. I thought that was interesting. Here’s an interesting one. California Milk Processor Board, in 2003 to 2014, if my memory is serving me correctly, ran the Got Milk? campaign. What’s fascinating about this campaign is that it wasn’t necessarily to raise awareness about their company, organization, or their brand, but they were trying to help people remember to drink milk, to be healthy, rather than going to other soft drinks, soda, and juices.
  • 09:57 They wanted people to remember, “Oh, milk.” It was wildly successful. They were able to partner with all of these different celebrities, organizations, and companies. You’d see Wolverine with a milk mustache, and it would say, “You going to drink that milk, bub?” That was the headline. They’d get Serena Williams, NSYNC, and whoever was big at the time. That was fascinating. Microsoft Surface, for that particular product, used the tagline, Performance Made Personal.
  • 10:34 I think that’s great. seanwes conference, if you’re coming to that or interested, is an event we put on every year. It’s going on this fall, September 28th through the 30th, in Austin, Texas. Go to seanwes.com/conference, and we would love to see you there.
  • Our tagline for seanwes conference is Think Bigger.

  • 10:58 You can make taglines with two, three, or four word phrases. I recommend having something that’s really short that you can say really quickly, somewhere between three and ten words. If you can do it in two, that’s great. Those are some examples of campaigns and product taglines. Again, we’re trying to get people to remember you, to get them to associate words, ideas, and results with you.

Coming Up With an Effective Tagline

  • 11:39 Cory: Make your tagline simple, memorable, consistent, unique, and targeted. When I say simple and memorable, those things tie together, because the simpler something is, the more memorable it’s going to be. It all builds up together, the consistency, uniqueness, and targeted-ness. That all builds up into something that’s memorable. When I say consistent, I mean consistent with your brand as a whole.
  • 12:05 If your brand is more upbeat, colorful, and targeted towards teenagers, having something that’s drab and has dark imagery in the words doesn’t really fit. You want it to all fit together under your entire, cohesive brand. Also, you want it to be unique. Let’s use the Apple example and say that their tagline is Think Different. If yours was Think Differently or Differenter, that’s not very unique. That doesn’t make me really interested in what you’re doing.
  • Target your tagline for the people you’re trying to help and reach.

  • 12:51 Those are the people you’re trying to impact. When they see that, you want them to resonate with it. You need to ask yourself, what does your target customer or target audience want or need? What life do they want? What are they coming to you to solve? I have four quick methods. Some of them are similar, but you might resonate with some of the methods a little bit differently. Again, this is all very condensed. This is just to get you out the door, and that’s what this show is about. It’s about getting these super complex topics, these complex ideas, and making them very simple and tangible for people.
  • 13:42 One method for coming up with an effective tagline is to condense the result of your product or service into a short sentence. Let’s use the world renowned example of Snazzy McJeans. This is the company I’m going to create someday. The result of buying from Snazzy McJeans is to have comfortable jeans with functional pockets. My idea is to make a jeans company, specifically targeted towards women, because women’s pockets in general are fake or don’t go down as much. It’s a huge problem.
  • 14:16 I came up with a few taglines for that company for that product. For example, Travel Light? Yeah, Right. I crack myself up. Another tagline: The Jeans for Hands. When you have actual pockets, you can put your hands in them and use your pockets. If you wanted to make something really obvious, Comfortable Jeans With Functional Pockets. That makes it really clear. This is the result of buying this product.
  • Another method for coming up with a good tagline is to state a fact about your brand that makes it unique.

  • 14:59 For example, let’s say you have a website design agency, a web agency. You’re WebsitesRUs. Let’s say your agency is focused heavily on the results of the work. It’s not just about, “Hey, we’re going to make a really cool-looking website. We’re focused on the results of the work and the success that it brings to our client’s customers.” It’s not just about the client. It’s about the client’s actual target market, their target customers.
  • 15:26 Something really simple? Your Success Is Our Success. Then, that means we’re not just trying to make that thing look really cool. We aren’t just trying to earn a buck. We want to make something for you that’s going to be successful for you. This doesn’t necessarily mention web design. It could. You could mold it and shape it to include that. This is just an example.
  • 16:05 Method three, clearly state how your customer or client’s life is going to be better as a result of buying from you. This is similar to method number one, but we’re talking about the client’s life, something they can gain or a way they’re going to change as a result of buying from you. Let’s say that you’re selling a course that will teach people how to become better at public speaking.
  • 16:32 You could say something like, Become a Master Public Speaker Faster Than You Thought You Could. That’s kind of long. Or you could even say, Become a Public Speaking Master Faster, or something. That makes it catchy. That’s memorable. Suddenly, I’m looking at that and I’m thinking, “My life is going to become better.” That tagline also includes a little bit of a promise.
  • 17:03 You’re saying that you’re not only going to become a master, but you’re going to become a master faster. This has become Dr. Seuss. That bleeds into method four, which is to include your unique advantage or your brand’s promise somewhere in the tagline. As an example, I’ll use one of our mini courses at seanwes called 30 Days to Better Writing.
  • 17:30 The main tagline for that mini course is, Build a Writing Habit in 30 Days. There is a huge promise that is made there. In 30 days, we’re going to help you build a writing habit. This isn’t necessarily about learning to write effective sales copy, like Supercharge Your Writing. This is about building the actual writing habit. Let’s say you have a new website tool, a drag and drop, click, what you see is what you get, browser, web-design tool.
  • 18:05 Then you could say something like, The Fastest Way to Design Websites. It’s memorable, you’re making a claim, and you’re including your unique advantage or brand promise. Let’s say you have a termite company, and let’s say your tagline is, Never Worry About Termites Again. You have Premium Termite Exterminator Inc. That’s kind of a boring company name, but your tagline is, Never Worry About Termites Again. This isn’t just, “Hey, we’ll get the ones you have out,” but it’s, “You use our service, and we’ll make sure you never have to worry about termites ever again.”
  • You can make huge promises in your tagline.

  • 18:56 These are just four methods, and there are a lot of different ways you can do this, but these are some ways I’ve compiled to get you started. I want to get you on the right path.
    1. Condense the result of your product or service into a short sentence.
    2. State a fact about your brand that makes it unique.
    3. Clearly state how your customer or client’s life is going to be better as a result of buying from you.
    4. Include your unique advantage or your brand promise.
  • 19:24 You can use any variation of all of these things. You can do something completely different. That’s totally fine. These are just some ways that I have found helpful to get started on the right foot when coming up with an effective brand tagline or slogan.