What better place to spend a family vacation than “The Happiest Place on Earth”?

What better way to enjoy a healthier lunch than a place where you can “Eat Fresh”?

What better view of the road than from behind the wheel of “The Ultimate Driving Machine”?

While their phrasing seems so simple, Disney, Subway and BMW devoted significant time and resources to perfect their taglines. These highly successful companies know how a memorable phrase resonates with their audiences and provides an untold return on their investment.

If you own a small business, what you say and how you say it should be an important component of your marketing efforts. Complementing your creative logo, a skillfully authored tagline enhances your connection to your customers.

Taglines differ from slogans, although some business owners (and even marketing companies) use those terms interchangeably. A tagline accompanies the logo and is a longer-term brand tactic – as in Nike’s challenge to athletes to “Just Do It.” Slogans tend to be a little longer and are part of a specific promotional campaign – as in Clara’s demanding question to Wendy’s hamburger competitors: “Where’s The Beef?”

Here are a few tips about developing a tagline with impact:

It is short (usually no more than four key words) and memorable. Taglines are not mission statements. Very few employees, let alone consumers, remember corporate decrees. Every respectable suds sipper knows, though, that Budweiser is “The King of Beers.”

It is emotional. An effective tagline evokes action or reaction. When you are thirsty, you can “Have a Coke and a Smile.” When a headache is ruining your day, you can take a Bayer aspirin that “Works Wonders.” Humor gets it done, too. We laugh at the challenge of “Betcha Can’t Eat Just One” Lay’s potato chips.

It is specific. Customers want to know what your company or product can do for them. Your tagline should tell them with precision. Maxwell House assures you that their coffee is “Good to the Last Drop.”

It differentiates your brand. A Unique Selling Position says why your product is better (or different) from your competitor. It also appeals to your customer’s specific needs. Razor blades are razor blades, right? Well…not so fast, says Dollar Shave Club. Their blades “Shave Time. Shave Money.”

It is honest. Your tagline should nurture the relationship with your customers. It should be a promise to deliver. Your company culture should live your tagline. Burger King’s servers have to be ready for any type of order, because they told their customers to “Have It Your Way.” At Avis rental car company, we assume they are being truthful when they say: “We Try Harder.”

When considering a new or updated company tagline, take your time. Do your due diligence and engage your stakeholders – employees, customers and targeted audience members. Don’t just pick one that came to you while taking a shower or walking the dog. There is too much at stake for your brand.

A marketing professional or advertising agency can be helpful guiding your company through the process.

Jeff Owen is proprietor of J Owen Media, which provides Inbound Marketing strategies and content for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.


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Johnson County Development Corporation
Franklin Chamber of Commerce
Greater Greenwood Chamber
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City of Franklin

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