5 Tips for Small Business Taglines

By Mash Bonigala

Do you have a small business without a tagline? It’s not unusual for owners to neglect this one very important aspect of branding. If you have a logo, a brand, a website, and a range of products, this may be the missing link that pulls it all together. While every tagline is different, here are a few basic rules for writing one that works for you and your business and some information on effective use of slogans in logo design.

Keep it short. One short line should do well; anything more becomes tedious and difficult to add to business cards and signs. You don’t have to use a complete sentence; a tagline is merely a short phrase that you would want people to conjure up when they think of your business. Adjectives and excessive punctuation logos merely detract from the purpose, so keep it as short as you can make it, under ten words at the very most. Consider the Altoids tagline: ‘Curiously strong’. In two words, this company communicates everything you need to know about their mints.

Evoke an image. Many people are visual thinkers and need something they can actually picture in order for a tagline to be effective. Your tagline will be most effective if it conjures up an image of customers doing something concrete, hopefully doing that something using a product bought from your business. HP does a great job of creating a very vivid image and a call to action in one word: ‘Invent’.

Be descriptive. This can be difficult to do in the relatively short amount of space available, but nonetheless it is very important. A tagline that describes the chief benefit of the product, the one thing that truly sets it apart, will be a huge success. The M&M’s tagline is a great example of this, because people know exactly what the company means when they say ‘Melts in your mouth, not in your hands’.

Ask around. There was a time when Jimmy Dean’s tagline was ‘Eat Jimmy Dean’. While the double meaning is humorous, it was not intended and certainly did not add to the brand. It’s easy to see how a misstatement like this might get in the way of company success, which is why it is so important for you to show your tagline to several different people before unveiling any tagline. Asking a few people should prevent catastrophic errors like this from sabotaging your brand.

Stay with the brand. It’s important that your tagline fit in with your brand and compliment it because it will be associated with your brand just as much as your logo. In fact, many companies actually use their tagline in their logo. Nike’s well known swoosh is one of the most memorable logos on the planet, but not nearly as recognizable as their ‘Just Do It’ tagline. When your customers cannot see your logo without thinking of your tagline, you will know you have found success.

To slogan or not to slogan. A tagline is an important part of your brand, so give it the thought and creativity that the process deserves. The perfect tagline will resonate with your audience and make your business’s core values known to potential customers. There is no way to overestimate the effect that this can have on the success of your small business.