TAGLINES: Clever and Active

Does your tagline send chills down the spine of your customers - or does it elicit a collective 'mm.' ?

If you've never given much thought to the tagline or message either on your website banner or underneath your company logo - you may be surprised at how much is riding on this five to seven word phrase.

Now, if you are carrying a household moniker such as, Google or iPad - you may not have the need for such a descriptor, but I would guess that most companies could use the added punch that a brand-driven tagline can provide. 

However, most businesses are uncertain how to effectively use this short, power phrase. Should it use adjectives or pronouns? Should it be descriptive and competitive, should it be idealistic and visionary? Should it include emotion?

From my experience, a tagline is most effective when it is always two things: Clever and Active. Notice I didn't say descriptive.  

I've been at a few boardroom tables where a brainstorm session will begin by "bouncing ideas around" to see what sticks. While this is a great collaborative practice, there needs to be a preceding conversation when it comes to picking taglines before throwing words around; about the audience and goals of the company.


Step 1 - Get to the core of the audience. To whom will you be delivering your business, product or service? What drives them to take action? What are they gaining by hiring/purchasing from you? By the end of our Catalyst key message process, we usually have formulated 3-5 taglines for clients based on core discoveries about their audience and their needs, wants and desires.

I.E. for a product targeting the direct consumer market, the message may resonate with more emotion; for an industry audience, expertise would weigh heavier. 

Step 2 - Consider the function of the tagline in relation to your company name. Does the tagline need to be more descriptive, or does the name already say all they need to know? 

I.E. if your company name is Quantum Enterprises - no one will know what it is you do - may want to put in some added descriptors or keywords. While Creative Bakery Inc. is pretty descriptive - so you have room to play on emotion and desires a bit more with the tagline.

Creative Bakery Inc. ‘No food filter needed.’

Step 3 - Does it leave an impression? Perhaps you are brand new to the market or have many competitors - this could be an opportunity to get creative, or even use humour to stand out. A clever tagline can say a lot about a company; confident, smart, tuned into their audience. Whatever you choose, you don't want yours to sound like it was picked from a hat.

I.E. Quantum Enterprises 'creative solutions for today's business owner'.....   I still don’t know what you do, or who you are.



Let's take an example of a former client of Catalyst - a networking website dedicated to helping people find platonic connections that would improve their social life and expand their support networks. (our words, not theirs)

When they came to us, they had the clinical tagline of:

Connecting Women for Fun and Enjoyment of Leisurely Pursuits and Socialization

Doesn't exactly tap into the emotional center of females does it? Nor does it elicit any call to action. After further review of the company's goals and the target audience, we discovered that it was leaving out an important segment of target website users;  Those coming to the site for other needs besides 'fun and social' but those who were looking for support, volunteering, local interests, and a variety of other needs. We also used an appropriate verb to elicit action with just the right amount of emotion.

Finally, we narrowed down to:

Find connections for a reason, a season or a lifetime.


So, what does your tagline say about you - more importantly what does it inspire in your target customer? Whether it rallies them to take action or leaves them chuckling - you're already on the right track.


Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash