Mine (The best words. In the best order.) was repurposed from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s definition of poetry. (Like the works of Shakespeare, those words, in that order are in the public domain.)
So, what’s in your tagline—or are you flying commando? If you’ve eschewed a tagline as excess brand baggage, think again. The right line completes your brand identity. It’s free advertising wherever your logo appears. That means if you’re a small business—with a marketing budget of nil—you’re placing a mini ad with every e-signature, tweet, or Facebook post.
A tagline can do many things for you: enunciate your value proposition (We Try Harder), focus on your most stellar competitive edge (Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands; When it Rains, it Pours), challenge your audience (Just Do It), stake a claim for your brand’s superiority (The Ultimate Driving Machine), or strike an attitude (Think Different). It can help your audience connect the dots with what you do, which is particularly helpful if you’re in a niche market. It just can’t do all those things at once. It’s one line; resist trying to cram it like an overstuffed closet.
Overused words (like quality and value) have no place in a memorable tagline. Likewise, phrases that say nothing (The quality you value most) and anything that includes a founding date (Quality since 9:00 this morning), should send you back to the drawing board—unless you’ve got more than a few decades of skin in the game. And don’t piggyback on someone else’s creativity (unless it’s a dead poet). Got milk? Was a great tagline. Got semiconductor chips? Not so much.
Better to immerse yourself in the benefit you, and only you have to offer (pick one if you’ve got a list) and play with phrasing that creates emotional resonance with your audience. Whether you need a fresh line or you’re starting from scratch, if you had to distill your business into one key phrase what would it be? Pick your best facet, and get creative.