On the radio, on billboards, on TV at the end of commercials, in newsletters and social media… The slogan is what you stand for, and the tagline is the stamp at the end. You don’t need both a slogan and a tagline, but whatever you use must stand out and summarize your brand’s reason to be in just a few words.
Slogans and taglines are fundamental identity content for brands — the essential, memorable words that differentiate a brand or company, and ideally serve to trigger consumer awareness and persuasion. Sometimes slogans and taglines take months of research, ideation and testing to decide. Sometimes they’re sparked in a moment of inspiration. Then, the world receives them — and hopefully they elevate public awareness of a brand or product in just a few powerful words. Entire campaigns and initiatives are created around these few words. Ideally they become part of popular culture.'Better Voices, Better Content' - @ClearVoice | #ContentMarketing | #Branding | #Freelancing | #Voice | #Tagline Click To Tweet
What’s a slogan?
The dictionary definition of a slogan is “a memorable phrase” — but brand marketers see it as a much more significant piece of content. A slogan encapsulates how your brand or product differs from the rest. It tells your potential customers why to choose you. It expresses your purpose.
Slogans have never been particularly constrained by the rules of truth in advertising, and thus, though they may need to convey a brand’s essence, they can really aim big with their interpretation of it. Take Miller Beer of the 1950s dubbing their product “The Champagne of Bottled Beer” — did it necessarily deserve the title? Not even probably at the time it was coined, and certainly not in later decades when craft beer came on the market. But did it catch consumers’ fancy and become a concept that transcended the brand? Yep, it did. So did Miller Lite, for different reasons, with “Tastes Great, Less Filling.” Does the beer really taste great? Most would say, meh… It tastes fine. But it does have slightly fewer calories — and that’s what primarily concerned the target consumers.
What’s a tagline?
In the Middle Ages, knights had mottos as part of their coat of arms. The imagery was their visual identity; the motto was their tagline. It let everyone else know what they stood for. It gave people a way to feel about their House. (Game of Thrones has done a really good job integrating this medieval tradition into its show, so if you never studied Middle Age knights, you can just think of GOT sigils, or the various funny parodies of them that exist in the meme-verse.)
The tagline is the modern business version of the house motto. It is typically the last couple of words at the end of an ad spot — or the bottom of a logo. It’s the phrase everyone remembers you by. It’s a catchphrase that, much like a slogan, is very meaningful to your brand–but it doesn’t necessarily contain the same brand purpose or reason people should choose you. A tagline might contain promise, like Lush’s “Fresh Handmade Cosmetics” — or Volvo’s “For Life.” It might evoke values, it might be a “battle cry” as an AdAge expert dramatically suggested, and it might just ask a question.
5 tips for writing catchy slogans:
1. Think of your company’s reason to exist.
What does your brand or product aim to do better than any of its competitors? What is the purpose it serves? Why was it created? A slogan should answer these questions without them needing to be asked.
2. Take the mission statement or brand manifesto and distill it down.
A lot of people think a company mission statement or manifesto is the same as a slogan. In fact, the slogan is the shortest possible version of the mission/manifesto. It might be the opening line, closing line, or a selection of the most powerful defining words. If you can’t figure out a slogan, write a mission statement or manifesto, and then look for your slogan inside of it.
3. Be specific.
“We’re going to make the world a better place,” really doesn’t work here, and never did. What is your brand or product changing? What area will it impact? Only ubiquitous service-provider companies like Microsoft or Samsung can get away with a very broad slogan. Even giants like FedEx focus on one expertise (delivering packages). Your slogan can be very lofty in its aspirations to impact one aspect of human existence — but definitely know what that one aspect is.
4. Think past the first thing that grabs you.
Sometimes inspiration really does strike fast and first, but more likely the reason that the first thing you came up with keeps jumping out is because you personally gravitate to it. Group ideation, or at least feedback from a sizable group, is the best way to find out what grabs the most people. If you really want useful feedback, put your first and favorite choice somewhere in the middle of the list and see if people choose it unprompted.
5. Know that you can change this if it doesn’t perform well.
Founders and business owners tend to get way too emotionally invested in coining the perfect slogan, as they think it’s going to get them customers and recognition in just one sentence. They expect it to make or break their business. And they don’t realize that if the chosen words don’t work, new ones can be tested out. Most successful companies have launched and retired many slogans and taglines over the years.
5 tips for writing catchier taglines:
1. See how it fits into many campaigns and initiatives.
A tagline will appear in many different campaigns, and many different pieces of material. It will be surrounded with other messaging that clarifies it for different purposes. It always needs to fit into the campaign of the moment, and provide a consistent recognizable element. So, if you’re trying to figure out whether a tagline is right, see how it stands alone, and then how it works within other messaging frameworks.
2. Make a promise.
Not a specific one — in fact, the broader and more aspirational, the better. What’s the highest purpose your brand or company aims to achieve? For example, Revlon’s Live Boldly tagline (also a current campaign, as well as a cosmetics line) doesn’t just promise that your makeup will be bold (though it also does that); it encourages a brave, unconstrained life — whatever that means to each individual consumer.
3. Or, make a suggestion.
Some of the best taglines aren’t statements, but rather suggestions framed in the form of questions. “Got Milk?” is a great example of this. At face value, it asks what you’ve got at home in the fridge, but in the context of an advertising campaign, it was used to suggest a myriad of scenarios for milk to make things taste better, or to supply nourishment and fuel.
4. Go for immediate impact.
Would it be visible and recognizable on a sleeve in a crowd — or a MMA fight ring? On a bumper sticker? In a conversation where someone said it ironically? That’s what you want to go for with a tagline, because those are ideally some of the places it would show up — and your ultimate goal in creating it would be that people hear it and immediately, subconsciously associate it with a brand.
5. Think of a great exit.
Characters in movie and TV often make great exits. They throw down some statement that has their fellow actors, studio audience and viewers cracking up, and poof — they’re gone. That’s something humans in real life can rarely achieve, but it’s exactly what a tagline should do, as the last bit of an ad or bottom of a logo. So, which of the catchy phrases you’re mulling over would sound best if a TV character pronounced it before making a dramatic exit? That’s probably the one you want to use.'Find Your @ClearVoice' | #ContentMarketing | #Branding | #Freelancing | #Voice | #Tagline Click To Tweet
29 examples of catchy slogans and taglines we love:
1. “The Strength to Take on Tough Messes” — Brawny
Brawny is a big, tough, and used-to-be masculine brand that successfully positioned itself as the trusted leader in the formerly female-targeted home cleaning product space. It did so by promising to be the strongest in its category — the least likely to fall apart. In recent years, the brand has evolved what “strong” means to encompass more fluid gender roles, but its own promise of superior mess-fighting remains the same, and this tagline stays on the front of the packaging.
2. “Live Boldly” — Revlon
This is actually the name of a new-in-2018 campaign celebrating groundbreaking beauty role models. It launched with five faces, including body positivity advocate Ashley Graham and African-Arabic model Adwoa Aboah. In PR surrounding the campaign, the brand ambassadors put forth their own interpretation of the campaign slogan — Aboah said it means “unapologetic, knowing no boundaries, being vulnerable, strong, authentic and yourself.”
3. “Good to the last drop.” — Maxwell House
Not only did this slogan make marketing and advertising history — having been covered dozens of times since it was coined in the beginning of the 20th century — it even managed to get itself woven into “Great Presidents of America” folkloric history. There’s an unsubstantiated but persistent origin story that Teddy Roosevelt himself came up with the slogan after having a cup of the coffee.
4. “There is no substitute.” — Porsche
For decades, Porsche has intentionally targeted only the very specific consumer for whom price is no object, and who will not accept substitutions for their top choice in anything life has to offer. This car is as much about lifestyle and statement as performance — and it’s undeniably true that while other cars may be more powerful, no car looks quite like a Porsche.
5. “Don’t let a 1% difference cost you twice as much.” — Sprint
The mobile company battles for market share are brutal and brash, and no one plays the game harder than Sprint. Pretty much all phone companies jump from one slogan, tagline and/or campaign to the next, and in fact, Sprint had another one right around the same time as this one — the simple “Works for Me.” That got mixed reviews: some marketing industry folks felt it was the copy equivalent of a shrug. This one, however, comes out swinging at any competitor that might be charging twice as much — probably Verizon or AT&T, but it makes anyone not with Sprint wonder if they’re inadvertently paying twice as much for a 1% difference in coverage.
6. “Don’t Leave Home Without It” — American Express Co.
This phrase became iconic even though American Express is definitely not the only company that could have owned it. The AMEX card is no more indispensable than other credit cards, really. If most people were going to take just one credit card with them, it would be the one most widely accepted — probably not their AMEX. Also, this phrase could just as easily apply to your keys. Nonetheless, AMEX has a lot of respect as a brand, both for what it represents and for its legacy lifestyle and culture portfolio — offloaded in 2013 to Time and then absorbed by Meredith. So, what customers really don’t want to be without is that elevated AMEX lifestyle, which they get by putting that plastic to work.
7. “The Human Network” — Cisco Systems
Cisco created a lot of messaging around the core concept of a network powered not by technology but by humans. Or alternatively, a technology network that serves humans. This phrase can be understood differently depending on what other language surrounds it — the key is making the human connection. This is genius because B2B tech products and services traditionally are challenging to explain in simple human terms.
8. “Be a Pepper” — Dr. Pepper
There was a time when Dr. Pepper the soda was a larger part of consumer grocery culture than chili pepper. This slogan really shows how strong the brand identity was at that time, that people could see the suggestion “Be a Pepper” and link it back to what type of spicy/sugary soda they bought, rather than their taste for spicy food. The brand has changed their slogan a couple times since then, but none as bold as this.
9. “Go Further.” — Ford Motor
When this tagline came out in 2012, Ford executed an interesting PR strategy, which was to tell all the marketing and trade media that this statement was as much aimed at employees as customers. It was about company culture as much as the intended physical use of the car, the executives explained. Whether the many thousand Ford factory employees really took that to heart in their inventiveness and work ethic isn’t as well documented, but it was very appealing to people who believe marketing should tie in with corporate culture and brand purpose.
10. “Science. Applied to life.” — 3M
We know that Romy and Michelle from the movie didn’t invent Post-Its… But who did? 3M decided it was time to claim due credit for that, along with all sorts of other essential products including Scotch tape, in 2015 with its first creative campaign in two decades. It launched it with an experiential installation at SXSW, a digital campaign and this slogan underlying — illuminating that one giant global company applies science to create solutions for problems large and small, from medical procedures to note-scribbling.
11. “What’s in your wallet?” — Capital One Financial
Cheeky yet pragmatic, nosy and a little challenging, this is one of the greatest taglines of all time. It is so on point for Capital One, which is not only daring with its creative campaigns, but also is the credit card provider most likely to be in anyone’s wallet, thanks to its wide range of products at different limits and interest rates.
12. “Be What’s Next.” — Microsoft Corp.
Does Microsoft really embody this message? Does it matter? They filed trademark on it in 2010, which was right during Apple’s peak of personal computer and device innovation. There were many other “next big thing” companies coming up then, and there are many now. But Microsoft has staying power, and is universally used — and it also has very smart branding, which is why the company trademarked a slogan that every tech innovator aspires to live by.
13. “Forged by the Sea.” — U.S. Navy
The Navy’s tagline is potentially powerful, achieved by modifying an ages-old saying (forged by fire) and using the symbolic meaning of “forged” rather than the scientific one. It only launched in late 2017, so we’ll have to see if it sticks, but the implication of tested, proven strength comes through.
14. “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” — Washington Post
This might be the most impactful — and most polarizing — tagline of the decade. It’s so dramatic and bleak, nobody would have known how to receive it a few years back. Now, everyone knows, and everyone has taken a position on whether they absolutely support this statement and publisher, or absolutely think it’s fake news.
15. “It’s everywhere you want to be.” — VISA
Props to VISA for figuring out FOMO and using it for marketing purposes as far back as the Eighties. This slogan was recently updated to just “Everywhere you want to be,” which connotes possibility of new experiences more than striving to keep up with the Joneses.
16. “Dare to Be Devoted.” — Jared the Galleria of Jewelry
“He went to Jared” was a tagline past its prime, even though everyone knew it due to ubiquitous television advertising. This new one is interesting because it’s a direct challenge to the Tinder dating generation. In an era where people are committing less and valuing experience over things, it’s actually controversial to suggest that traditional expressions of devotion are the strongest. But here’s the thing Jared knows, probably through extensive market research: Quite a few people still believe that jewelry expresses love, and they want that token quite badly no matter what they say.
17. “Be More Human.” — Reebok
When your largest competitor has D&I athlete marketing down to an art form, what do you do? You create a different vision of inclusion — one that doesn’t just celebrate elite athletes, but people being strong in the world. Specifically this campaign is targeted to women, and the CEO has said as much in interviews, but with traditional advertising’s history of centering on men, this is a welcome change of strategy.
18. “The Best Men Can Be.” — Gillette
Changing one word in a classic tagline can be a major statement, especially when you put out a values-driven ad spot to go along with it — and definitely when much of your advertising in prior decades had take the opposite approach. Suggesting that men should strive to be better rather than receive better (Better what? Shaves? Opportunities? Women in thongs? Who knows!) kicked off a noisy social media-driven culture battle. Did it drive sales? Gillette is probably watching to see that, while simultaneously testing out what the next few creative iterations of this could be.
19. “Inspire the World, Create the Future” — Samsung
Many ambitious startups have tossed around this kind of promise, but Samsung actually puts out products that inspire and power creativity, every day. That’s why this big, lofty dual-purpose slogan actually fits the brand instead of seeming too big for it.
20. “Taste the Rainbow” — Skittles
Simple, happy, evocative. It’s a great example of selling junk food as easy wish fulfillment. When you look at those colorful little packages, you know the contents are not going to taste like fruit, exactly, but you do not want to think your beloved Skittles are pure artificial flavors and sugar. Eating the rainbow is a much nicer concept, and since the actual rainbow is an impossible bite, this is the next best substitute.
21. “Your Pet, Our Passion.” — Purina
Purina knows its target consumer well. Pet owners really do expect anyone servicing or providing products to their pets to be as passionate about those pets as they are. And why not? If you don’t love dogs and cats, pet owners don’t want you deciding what they’ll eat every day. Purina’s current tagline promises that they get it, they see you, and they are dedicated to providing the best for pets.
22. The Best Bed for Better Sleep — Casper
The mattress startup wars are even more brutal and digital-age cutthroat than the mobile phone ones, and Casper dominates the field. But the name Casper doesn’t immediately imply what the product is. So the slogan has to really spell out why this mattress is superior to all competitors — and it does, by harnessing the promise of something that most adults want more of every day.
23. “All for Freedom. Freedom for All.” — Harley Davidson
This slogan is so American, it seems like it could have been in the national anthem. Or any modern democracy’s national anthem, for that matter. But Harley’s target customer particularly values freedom not only in an ideological sense, but in the logistic sense of being able to hop on their bike and go anywhere, faster, without all the traffic jams that encumber regular people in cars.
24. “We Exist to Inspire the World to Play.” — Electronic Arts Inc.
Along with a couple other video game publishing giants, EA actually changed the definition of “play” over the past couple decades, turning it from what kids did outside in free time to a mega-mega billion dollar industry and substitute for real-life action. This slogan puts the most positive face on gaming, as it should.
25. “You’re going to like the way you look, I guarantee it.” — Men’s Wearhouse
Appealing to self-esteem, promising convenience and reliability, this slogan is effective because it promises a no-hassle solution to something men have to consider every day. Customers of Men’s Wearhouse probably don’t worry about their attire as much as others do, but they still have to think about it, and they like a guarantee that this part of life will be smoothly handled in just one store.
26. “Together We Can Prevail.” — Bristol-Myers Squibb
This is a pharmaceutical company. On the one hand, it is part of the industry that puts the biggest hit on consumer pocketbooks of anything outside natural disaster. On the other, without its products, many more people would die young or be gravely ill or in pain. So, it makes a lot of sense to build a public-facing platform around the cures and support it provides, and just pretend the attending costs don’t exist.
27. “They’re G-r-r-reat!” — Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes
This slogan wouldn’t exist without cartoon pitch-man Tony the Tiger. His kid appeal has always been strong, and this is his line. It’s something we’ve all grown up hearing on TV and seeing in the grocery store. At this point, no one can imagine the cereal without Tony on the box and his growly catchphrase right there with him.
28. “Travel Brilliantly” — Marriott Int’l.
This slogan is broad and somewhat indefinable. What, exactly, is a brilliant traveler? Traveling, like eating, is something that people mainly do without being rated on it or hoping to leverage it as a skill. So maybe this slogan’s strength is that nobody wants to travel badly. We’ve all been on a trip that was just not good, and we did not enjoy it. Nobody wants that. Everyone would prefer brilliant travel, however that might be achieved.
And our favorite, of course…
29. “Better Voices, Better Content” — ClearVoice
When it comes creating compelling content marketing, your success ultimately depends on the creatives and voices who craft your brand’s message and story. And ClearVoice knows this, values this… highly. This tagline aligns with their brand name and overall philosophy: “We believe a clear voice is the most powerful voice, no matter its volume or medium.”
On a deeper level, they’re saying they can help your brand cut through the clutter (the volume of noise in our media-flooded world) and achieve something greater — and they do. By mastering a clear voice, you will rise above and be heard.'We believe a clear voice is the most powerful voice, no matter its volume or medium.' - @ClearVoice | #ContentMarketing | #Branding | #Freelancing | #Voice | #Quote Click To Tweet