Tagline defined: Beyond the brand’s name and logo, perhaps no other element in brand marketing is as readily identifiable, and totally memorable, as the tagline. Often confused for a slogan, the two (tagline and slogan) are, in fact, different in purpose. The tagline is a company’s definitive catchphrase. Or put another way, the phrase that catches the brand’s attitude and energy within a single statement of emotion, promise or action. “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking” made Timex synonymous with durability and adventure. “The Ultimate Driving Machine” made BMW and German engineering at once premium and exciting. And Capital One asks with more than a little nudge, “What’s In Your Wallet?”.

And while a favored tagline may live in the mind of the customer for all of eternity, they aren’t necessarily developed with a need to live forever. A tagline should reflect the tone and tenor of the company now. Coca-Cola has had well over 50 taglines and slogans in their history. Some brands even manage more than one at the same time in segmented markets.

We approach tagline development as we approach most brand-oriented projects; it starts with diligently coming to know the customer and having a clear understanding of the brand’s position. What is the energy that underlies the brand? What makes it unique? What does it aspire to do? And how does it do those things differently? Then it’s about careful consideration of conditional borders: How do the words, the attitude, the rhythm and the promise link together to create intrigue and meaning? How do we make it short? Memorable? Only then do we let our hands go. Full brainstorm. Reduce, reshape, revise. Edit down the list. Repeat. A few collaborative rounds should garner a small collection of core expressions. Google, WHOIS.com and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will help to weed out any conflicts. A trademark attorney can provide further vetting, if need be.

When (and if) the chosen list finalists adequately reflect the brand’s personality and makes a compelling and authentic promise and capture the expression that demonstrates the energy of the brand to the world, you can answer, ‘Does it speak to you?’

Yes? Then you’ve found your tagline.

Tagline process and deliverables:

  • Competitive analysis and availability research
  • A comprehensive list of suitable options which reflect the heart of the brand
  • In-use examples and campaign extensions

Tagline Work