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How to create a sticky tagline that doesn’t suck

Just Do It. Think Different. Maybe She’s Born With It. I’m Lovin’ It. 

You don’t even need to be a marketer to recognise these iconic taglines. In this digital age where whole stories can disappear within minutes of being posted, making a big first impression can be the life or death of a brand. 

Of course you need a solid brand strategy, and to know your audience intimately, but it’s the humble ol’ tagline (or slogan) that’s responsible for that first, and lasting impression. A well-crafted tagline has the potential to differentiate a brand from its competitors, evoke emotion, and importantly be memorable. 

So how do you create a sticky (memorable) tagline, without the process sucking the life out of you? 

After almost 15 years helping brands be more human and more memorable, I’ve whittled down the process to five steps. 

ONE: Know your brand. 

Before you do anything, you need to know your brand. What’s your Unique Selling Point (USP)? What are your core brand values? Why do you do what you do? What’s your personality? Tone of voice? If your brand was a character, who would you be? 

All these brand considerations should be embedded in every aspect of your business, and should naturally be reflected in your tagline. Creating a tagline that’s utterly and authentically you, means you won’t be vanilla, you’ll scream it from the rooftops because it feels so you, and you’ll resonate with your ideal client.  

TWO: Know your audience.

And just like Step 1, knowing your audience as well as you know your bestie, is key to making sure your tagline hits its mark. You could come up with the best tagline in the world, but if it doesn’t mean anything to your ideal clients, then it’s bound to flop. Knowing their basic demographics is a start – age, location, disposable income, life stage. But to really nail it, you’ll want to go deeper. What gets them out of bed? How do they spend their weekends? Why do they need you? 

THREE: Brainstorm.

The fun part! Once you know your brand spirit, and your target audience, it’s time to brainstorm. No idea is too silly in this phase. Google idioms related to your brand/product/service, focus on the benefits, throw around key words or core values, and go back to how your ideal client feels after working with you. Jot down anything and everything that comes to mind. 

FOUR: Walk away. 

In my opinion, this is the most important step in creating a memorable tagline. Evidence tells us that stepping away from your desk helps you to think more clearly, learn faster and come to more creative solutions. And bonus points if you walk away outside and get some vitamin D!

FIVE: Refine and test. 

Once you’ve experienced the magic of Step 4, you should have a clearer focus and be comfortable culling ideas down to a select few. Now’s the time to test with your nearest and dearest, and go back to the basics. What options speak directly, succinctly and cleverly to the benefits of working with you? What’s the most memorable? What packs the biggest punch?

When the most recognised adaptive fashion brand in Australia asked me to work with them on refining their tagline, this is the exact process I used. The brand had recently undergone some major changes, including bringing a new partner on board with lived disability experience, and launching a bright and sparkly new range. 

We turned their brand spirit from Meryl Streep, to more Samantha Jones, honed in on their actual customers (versus their perceived customers), brainstormed over 300 possible taglines, and clocked over 10,000 steps ‘thinking on it’. The end result? 

Christina Stephens’ new tagline: Where What You Want

A tagline that speaks to the end result, the ‘feels’ Christina Stephens gives their customers. They get to wear what they want, not just what they’re given. 

A tone that conveys sass without spelling it out. 

And a memorable one-line that leaves a lasting impression. 

Want to know more about crafting memorable taglines? Or need help developing a brand strategy? Comment here, or send me an email. Just do it. I’ll help you think different. Because you’re worth it.

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