A tagline, also called a slogan, is a brief sentence that encapsulates your company values. It serves often as a means to clarify your business, but can also instill trust, build dramatic effect and keep your business top of mind.
Creating and choosing a tagline is typically part of the branding process. As marketing executives go through logo designs and branding packages, the tagline shouldn’t be an afterthought. A successful tagline will keep your prospects interested, a bad one can turn them off and onto your competitor.
In this post we’ll outline what to consider when picking a tagline, but first…
Does your business even need a tagline?
Outside of behemoth brands like Nike, Coke and Apple, when was the last time you saw or recalled a tagline? Last year, AdWeek deemed the tagline as a dying advertising trend, noting that the most loved taglines were created before 1975. AdWeek continues that tagline started as a method to shorten lengthy ad copy. But as time progressed and ad copy itself became shorter, taglines seemed less necessary.
This isn’t to say taglines are incorrect in principle, it just means our way of thinking about them also has to change. For B2B industries, a tagline may still prove to be valuable. For one, they’re rare so it’s a chance to rise above your competition.
When considering if one is truly needed, think of how your business is perceived in the marketplace. Is your value proposition already clearly established? Or is it unknown? For newer businesses or one’s lacking in previous branding, a tagline may help accelerate brand recognition. Remember to think long term, a tagline is not a campaign slogan and should have longer staying power.
Our two rules to a successful tagline
Brevity is hard—really hard. For B2B industries with robust service offerings (think engineering and medical fields), it’s easy to want to make every part of the business feel included. Condensing a complex business into a short, emotional sentence is a challenge, but not impossible. Instead of looking inward, focus on your customers and buyer personas. What are they demanding from your business?
For example, consider accounting firm Grant Thornton. At its core, the firm is responsible for the same services as their competitors (business advisory, audits and tax consulting). Instead of saying they’re “revolutionary in audit strategies,” Grant Thornton’s tagline states “An instinct for growth.” Without naming any of their actual services, they instead address the core need of their clients (growth) and how they’re the best at it. Even better, it keeps their audience wondering and interested.
Not too vague
Yes, I know this seems contradictory of the first rule. In an attempt to say everything at once, many B2B taglines are too vague. Avoid fluff words that are overused like “innovation,” “excellence” and “premier.” Since your competitors are probably explaining themselves the same way (who doesn’t believe their company is the best?), they do nothing to differentiate your business.
Instead, focus on communicating your company vision. Where do you want to go? Who do you want to serve and how? Accenture does a great job at a short tagline (three words total!) that also communicates exactly what they hope to achieve. “High Performance. Delivered.” emphasizes their values of high-end technology to bring effective results.
Ideas for a tagline
You can go in many different directions for a tagline. Mood and tone can be modified to fit the desired message you want to convey. Here are some of our favorite directions you can take:
This is a popular choice among marketers as it expresses understanding and presents a solution to their audience. Vacasa is a vacation home search database with the succinct tagline of “Vacation rentals made easy.” While seemingly straightforward, the tagline acknowledges that planning a vacation rental is stressful and their service can help.
A tagline is also a short message to introduce your business to a new prospect. Creating a trustworthy message instills credibility and gets the prospect more interested in learning about your company. Tech support provider NetCom3 Global, Inc.’s tagline is “We improve PC’s”. It’s simple, but it also reinforces trust in their services. A word of caution with trustworthy taglines: avoid stating “America’s Best” or “#1 Choice” if you can’t back this up.
Another option is to build a sense of urgency or stress, encouraging the client to learn more about your solutions. Cisco Systems, Inc. states with their tagline “Tomorrow Starts Here.” Creating a sense of urgency to stay ahead, customers are compelled to partner with Cisco.
We’re not talking imaginary friends or far away lands. Even a “stale” B2B industry can excite and inspire. Sempra Energy’s tagline reads “For everyday life.” It’s relatable, it’s fresh—it stimulates the imagination by having customers thinking of the many ways Sempra affects their everyday lives.
Need to Deliver!
A tagline is most effective if you can deliver on it. If you can deliver on your tagline’s promise and utilize it consistently on all marketing channels, you will begin to hear clients and partners repeat the tagline. That’s when you know you have an effective, sustainable tagline.