The power of a good tagline is hard to deny. Look no further than simple statements like “Just do it,” “Think different,” and “That was easy” to see why.
With just a few words, each of these famous taglines summarizes the most relevant benefits of a multi-billion-dollar brand and makes a compelling case for how it’s different from the competition.
Does your company’s tagline have this level of impact? Are you ready to retire your tagline after too many years of cringing when you hear it? Or are you just getting started on creating a tagline for your brand?
Wherever you are in your journey, we’ve got you covered. In what follows, we’ll break down everything you need to know about taglines, including a tagline definition, why these memorable messages are so effective, and how to create an unforgettable tagline for your brand.
Understanding the ins and outs of this vital branding tool is the first step in creating a business tagline that’s concise, meaningful—and impossible to forget.
- What is a Tagline?
- What’s the Difference Between a Tagline and a Slogan?
- Why Your Business Needs a Tagline
- How to Create a Tagline
- The Best Tagline Generators
- 25 Tagline Examples
- The Takeaway
What is a Tagline?
A tagline is a short phrase that communicates a brand’s value proposition and personality. An effective tagline is both memorable and unique, making a brand recognizable while differentiating it from its competitors.
Taglines appear in everything from marketing collateral to website homepages to TV commercials and beyond. And as we’ll see below, their power lies in their clarity, their meaningfulness, and—most of all—their memorability.
What’s the Difference Between a Tagline and a Slogan?
So, is a tagline the same as a slogan? Well, not exactly. As its Wikipedia entry says, a tagline is not to be confused with an advertising slogan.
While the two words are often used interchangeably, and definitions vary, taglines generally represent a brand, while slogans represent a product or marketing campaign.
The difference between a tagline and a slogan, then, is one of specificity. While taglines represent a brand and all of its offerings, a slogan is specific to either a product, a use case, a category, and/or a unique customer segment.
Generally, brand taglines have longer tenures than slogans, as well. While the former can change over time, its shelf life is a lot longer than the latter, which is designed to be ephemeral.
In the same way that branding is a longer-term endeavor than marketing, taglines are designed to withstand the test of time, while slogans come and go.
Take Nike, for example. Everyone knows the brand for its timeless “Just Do It” tagline mentioned above, but Nike has leveraged dozens of different slogans over the years to communicate messages to specific audiences.
“Hit the ball as hard as you can” is one such slogan that Nike uses to target tennis players. Originally born to evoke the rock-star playing style of Andre Agassi in the 80s, this slogan has recently been revived to promote the brand’s latest tennis phenom: Naomi Osaka.
Why Your Business Needs a Tagline
Not every business has a tagline, but after you understand how powerful they can be, you’ll probably wonder why more of them don’t.
As we’ll see in the next section, a good business tagline boils all the benefits and value propositions behind your brand down to a few punchy words—and delivers them in a way that’s hard to forget.
Let’s take a look at some of the tangible business benefits these high-level messages can deliver.
A strong tagline can help your business:
Boost Brand Recognition & Awareness
As we’ve already seen, two of the most salient benefits of a good brand tagline are that it makes your brand recognizable and memorable. It’s essentially the title to your brand story.
But here’s why this is so powerful: Because the human brain is wired for narrative, stories are usually easier to remember than just words alone.
Every time you see the words “Just do it,” only one brand comes to mind, along with a rich narrative of performance and achievement. Nike has owned the phrase to such a degree that they can use it without an accompanying name or logo.
Concisely Communicate Positioning
Taglines succinctly convey your brand positioning: what your company does, the value you provide, and/or how you’re different than your competitors.
As mentioned above, a good company tagline is a compelling, fully realized story told in just a few words. Nowhere else in marketing can you get so much out of so few words.
Create Positive Brand Associations
A brand is more than just a name, a logo, or a line of products or services. It is the bundle of associations that all of these things evoke.
Brand associations are ideas (positive or negative) that are forever tied to your brand in the minds of your customers.
A good tagline creates positive associations like trust, credibility, and humanity in a fraction of a second. Associations like these play a large role in fostering brand loyalty and building brand equity.
Facilitate Purchase Decisions
When customers are evaluating your brand against a competitor (or simply trying to decide whether or not to pull the trigger on a sale) a good tagline in the back of their mind can help to push them over the line.
Business taglines are easily remembered signifiers of your brand’s benefits. And as we’ll see next, their stickiness what makes them so effective—especially at critical moment like a purchase decision.
How to Create a Tagline
“Got milk?” “Let’s go places.” “We’ll leave the light on for you.” The best marketing taglines feel both effortless and profound. They speak volumes without saying much at all.
Understanding how to create a tagline starts by first understanding what separates a great message from one that’s unlikely to resonate with your customers.
While there’s a certain ineffable quality to the best taglines—that “you know it when you hear it” feeling—there are three things all great taglines have in common:
They’re Clearly Stated
Good taglines don’t mince words. They use an economy of language to plainly convey their intended message. This clarity is part of what makes them feel trustworthy and human.
They Convey a Benefit
Either directly or by immediate inference, effective taglines communicate a key benefit that defines their brand and/or differentiates it from the competition.
There’s something about a powerful brand tagline that’s creative or clever enough to be unshakably memorable. It lingers in the minds of customers long after they read or hear it.
A novel tagline that clearly communicates a key benefit is integral to the brand experience of some of the world’s most successful companies.
And while a little creative inspiration and unconventional thinking go a long way, creating a tagline that resonates with customers isn’t magic. As with most creative endeavors, the better prepared you are going into the process, the easier it is.
We’ve written hundreds of company taglines over the years and have learned a few things along the way that will help you find the phrase that best fits your brand.
The following four-step process will put you in the best position to create a tagline not soon to be forgotten:
Step 1: Understand Your Brand (and Your Competitors)
In all good branding, the first step is ensuring you have a good understanding of the business at hand.
When it comes to creating brand taglines, that understanding includes both the brand itself and its competitors. And the best way to glean these insights is with a brand audit.
The goal is to ensure you clearly understand your brand’s positioning and personality. Compile a list of brand attributes, the benefits you offer customers, and key areas of competitive differentiation.
For the external portion of your audit, make a list of your top competitors in the marketplace. Review the taglines and positioning of each to get a sense of the competitive landscape and identify opportunities for differentiation.
Step 2: Brainstorm Tagline Ideas
If there is magic in the tagline creation process, brainstorming is where it happens. But, as with luck, magic tends to shine on those who are prepared.
In brainstorming ideas, refer to your list of brand attributes, benefits, and key differentiators from Step 1.
It’s also important to think and write in the appropriate brand voice. Spending time with the messaging and brand personality in the assets you collected in Step 1 is good way to familiarize yourself with the brand voice.
From there it’s just a matter of having fun with tagline ideas. Rhyme, alliteration, repetition, reversal, and double-entendre are each literary devices that have been shown to be effective in the creation of memorable taglines.
But plenty of world-class taglines don’t draw on any of these tricks. Think about some famous taglines that have stuck with you over the years and use those as inspiration.
Generate a long list of potential tagline ideas and move on to Step 3.
Step 3: Refine Your List
Working through your long list of tagline ideas, determine which have potential, which do not, and which need a little help.
The goal is to whittle your list down to a shortlist of three to five candidates. The more editorial eyes involved in this step, the better.
Commission the help of colleagues, peers, and officemates from other departments. It’s always useful to get as many objective, third-party opinions as possible in making your decision.
Once you have some consensus around the top candidates, take the time to work on the grammar, style, and cadence of each.
After you’ve got a shortlist of candidates that have each been polished up to perfection, is it time to move on to vetting.
Step 4: Vet Your Final Contenders
Vetting a tagline against trademark conflicts is just as important as vetting a brand name. There’s nothing worse than getting excited about a final idea only to find out six months down the road that it’s already being used by a similar company.
The vetting process starts with good old-fashioned search engine research. Type the tagline and any close spelling or grammatical iterations into your favorite search engine and see what comes back.
If the tagline is already in use by a company in your industry, you can cross it off the list. If it’s being used by a company in a different industry, it may be ok.
Just remember the ultimate criteria of any trademark: will it cause confusion in the marketplace?
To see if your tagline is officially trademarked, just visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) useful online search system.
Pro tip: Company taglines should always be reviewed and approved by intellectual property attorneys before they are launched. You’ll save yourself a lot of legal trouble by crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s before moving on to the final step.
Step 5: Activate the Winning Tagline
Once you’ve decided on an idea that passes muster with your trademark attorney, it’s time for the fun part: introducing it to the world.
A new tagline is the perfect opportunity for a marketing campaign or other brand activation initiative to build awareness around the idea and solidify its association with your brand.
It’s often useful to write a narrative that unpacks the idea and how it relates to your business.
As we’ve seen, every good tagline has a story baked into it. Explore the story on your website or as part of an integrated, multimedia campaign.
From email marketing to social media to public relations events, there’s no shortage of ways to get media mileage out of a good tagline.
The Best Tagline Generators
Need a little help with your brainstorming process? As with most things in life these days, there’s an app for that. Quite a few of them, in fact.
Digital technology is still a ways away from completely replacing the ingenuity of great human writing, but that doesn’t mean it can’t help with the process.
The following tagline generator sites can help add some options to your list of candidates, or inspire ideas for original creations of your own.
As artificial intelligence has become evermore powerful and sophisticated, so have tagline writing tools. AI-powered tagline generators are everywhere these days, from Copy.AI to Unbounce. The most popular at the moment is ChatGPT.
Chat GPT’s generative writing capabilities can feel like magic. Just put in a prompt like “write a tagline for a financial advisor brand” and it will spit out a number of options in just seconds.
As with all of these tools, be sure to do a quick Google search to make sure your idea isn’t already being used (or isn’t too similar to another competitor’s tagline) before moving forward. AI is known to crib from existing sources from time to time.
Shopify’s tagline generator helps small businesses create short, memorable phrases around key words or benefits associated with their brand.
Does your company sell insurance? Start by entering “insurance” in the search field and see what comes back. Not all the results will be relevant, but you may find some diamonds in the bunch.
Similar to Shopify, to use Oberloo’s tagline generator, simply enter keywords that are relevant to your business into their search engine.
Tagline generators like Oberloo definitely prove the limits of online ideation tools—many of the options are downright silly. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find a spark of inspiration with a little searching patience.
Zyro is another tagline generator similar to Shopify and Oberloo. For Zyro’s generator to do its best work, you should enter a word or two that best characterize your brand.
Again, don’t expect a list of readymade, world-class taglines, but these tools are great for getting a sense of the type of language used in taglines. They can help you get in the groove to write a great tagline of your own.
25 Tagline Examples
The world’s most successful brands have famous taglines that seem effortlessly unique. These are the types of brands whose voice is recognizable even without an accompanying name or logo.
While they may be most readily associated with consumer-facing brands, a good tagline can be a great tool for B2B brands, as well.
After all, while they may be selling to businesses, at the end of the day, B2B brands are speaking to people. As much as even the most customer-centric B2C brand.
And like any good story, a great tagline resonates with people on a deeply human level.
Here are 25 tagline examples from some of the world’s top B2C and B2B brands:
B2C Tagline Examples
Eat fresh. (Subway)
You’re in good hands. (Allstate)
What’s in your wallet? (Capital One)
Is it in you? (Gatorade)
Save money. Live better. (Walmart)
Let’s go places. (Toyota)
That was easy. (Staples)
A diamond is forever. (De Beers)
Shave time. Shave money. (Dollar Shave Club)
The ultimate driving machine. (BMW)
The happiest place on earth. (Disneyland)
There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard. (MasterCard)
Breakfast of champions. (Wheaties)
B2B Tagline Examples
Imagination at work. (GE)
When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight. (FedEx)
There’s a better way to grow. (Hubspot)
High performance. Delivered. (Accenture)
Where work happens. (Slack)
Ingenuity for life. (Siemens)
One app to replace them all. (ClickUp)
Science. Applied to Life. (3M)
Be what’s next. (Microsoft)
Bridge to possible. (Cisco)
Dream big, work smart, deliver fast. (Atlassian)
Do what you love. (WeWork)
Whether it’s selling the wholesomeness and nutrition of a fast-food sandwich in just two words or evoking the steadfast reliability of an overnight carrier in a few more, the important thing about a world-class tagline isn’t that it’s short, just that it’s memorable.
So, what makes an unforgettable tagline? Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof recipe or definitive litmus test. Shorter isn’t necessarily better—some of the industry’s top minds would argue it’s actually the opposite.
The ultimate measure of an unforgettable tagline is its performance in the marketplace. Snappy messages that infuse their brand with profound meaning and unforgettable personality are priceless. But they’re hard to come by.
To put a spin on one of the most famous taglines of all time, there are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s a tagline.