Why do you need a Brand Strapline?
Because your brand strapline (or tagline) is a great tool for building your brand.
And here are just some of the reasons why…
Five reasons to use a brand strapline
Your brand strapline helps to build your business because:
- It confirms your brand positioning. It helps to attract the customers you serve. (And it could also define who your brand competes against).
- It engages your prospects emotionally. Your brand strapline expresses your brand personality. It sets the tone – whether it’s serious, smart or tongue-in-cheek.
- It helps people remember your business more easily. Sometimes the brand strapline is one of the first things customers say about a business. For example, John Lewis is known for ‘Never knowingly undersold’ – a brand strapline that has stood the test of time.
- It communicates what your brand stands for. L’Oreal started using the strapline ‘Because you’re worth it’ to express their commitment to ongoing product innovations and improvements. And now this strapline plays a key role in brand messaging and customer communications. They use variations such as ‘Because we’re all worth it’ and ‘Show Us You’re Worth It’ (great for Instagram). This shows how a brand strapline can evolve over time, yet stay fresh and engaging.
- Perhaps most importantly, your brand strapline helps to differentiate your business – and it makes it harder for competitors to copy.
If you don’t have a strapline, or you want to change the one you have now – here are some tips to get you started.
Getting started on your brand strapline
If you want to create a brand strapline that lasts, try to get clear on the three key areas below, before you start brainstorming ideas.
(Otherwise, you’ll end up with a generic phrase that sounds the same as everyone else).
Remember, the aim is to be authentic, represent the essence of your brand and differentiate your business.
Be absolutely clear and committed:
- Understand your target clients
- Track competitors
- Love your brand – because if you don’t, who will?
Here’s your quick checklist:
1. Understand your target clients
Be aware of what they know, want, need and desire.
Stay in tune with them and what’s changing for them.
Because, in a nutshell, your brand strapline needs to make sense to the people you serve.
If it doesn’t make sense to them, you could alienate them.
Which in turn could damage your brand.
In the long run, alienation reduces sales.
In the short term, it creates confusion.
Remember, your aim is to build your brand.
2. Track your competitors
Keep asking questions about competitors.
What do they say about themselves?
What do they say to customers?
What’s their tone of voice?
Do they appeal to the emotions?
Or are they more practical?
What makes your business different from theirs?
3. Love your brand
Your choice of brand strapline is a strategic decision.
You want a brand strapline that serves your business exceptionally well.
Hence take into consideration:
- Brand name
- The brand life cycle
- Market sector
- Target customers and your relationship with them
- Your brand values, personality and essence
- Brand ambitions
Let’s take a look at five types of brand strapline
Hopefully these examples may inspire ideas for creating your own brand strapline.
Firstly, we’ve got the list of five. And then we’ve shown examples of each type of strapline, from both big and small businesses.
- Imperative – a call to action
- Provocative – thought-provoking
- Superlative – simply the best
- Assertive – masters of the universe
1. Descriptive strapline
A descriptive brand strapline describes what your business does – which makes it easy for customers to understand your service, product or brand promise.
Descriptive straplines can be particularly useful if your business has an abstract or evocative brand name because they help customers understand which sector your business is in.
Descriptive straplines are useful if the brand is the name of the business owner. This happens with coaching, interior design, fashion and many professional services.
(Read more: 7 useful tips on choosing a business name)
And a descriptive brand strapline also works really well for small businesses and for new businesses – because it’s a great way to get your message across quickly, succinctly and clearly.
Here are some examples:
2. Imperative – a call to action
Call to action brand straplines are often emotionally engaging, because they create a sense of involvement and inclusion.
This means they can feel personal, dynamic and motivating.
A call to action helps customers imagine the pleasure of using the brand or the satisfaction that comes afterwards.
Like descriptive straplines, this type of brand strapline also works very well for small businesses.
Here are a few examples:
3. Provocative – thought-provoking
Thought-provoking brand straplines are ideal when you want your customers to rethink their opinions of your brand. They’re also useful for communication campaigns. They have the potential to be high impact (which could also be high risk).
This may be why the examples below are from big brands. Smaller businesses could use this approach too – it’s a good idea to use this type of strapline when you’re rebranding.
4. Superlative – simply the best
I love this type of brand strapline because they make me smile.
They’re powerful, because of this ability to amuse us with humour, fun or through tapping into the sheer joy of life.
The other reason I like these straplines is they are smart.
- Because they make it difficult for your competitor to compete in precisely the same area. So they differentiate your brand.
- Because they make it a bit difficult to disprove the claim.
Using this type of brand strapline helps your business appear to be the best in its class.
Here are some examples:
5. Assertive – masters of the universe
This type of brand strapline is all about leadership.
If you want to establish leadership in your category, then consider taking a leadership stance.
There are at least three different ways to do this:
- Aim to ‘own’ the generic benefit of your category.
- Here’s the example of Facilities Management specialists myfm. They’re a small business with a big brand promise, which is summed up in their strapline of ‘Totally Dependable’.
- Assert technology leadership.
- Audi is a good example with ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’.
- Or there is the example of Specsavers, who make us laugh with ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’.
- Another option is to ‘own’ the high ground.
- Look at Sky with ‘Believe in better’.
- It’s an abstract concept, yet it sets them apart from competitors.
Guidelines for creating your brand strapline
Before you get started, remember:
- It takes time and effort to create the best version of your strapline.
- Great straplines are difficult to create.
- Big brands have great straplines because they invest time, energy, money and love (yes, they love those brands) in their brand strategy. And they work with clever copywriters.
However, this doesn’t mean that big brands have the monopoly on great straplines that are apt, intriguing and engaging.
This sets the challenge for smaller businesses.
Yes, you can create a great brand strapline too.
And one of the joys of straplines is this – you can change it.
It’s absolutely fine to evolve and change your brand strapline over time…
So, here is our checklist for your new brand strapline:
- Keep it short
- Be different from competitors
- Aim to be unique to you
- Make your strapline easy to say (and therefore easy to remember)
- Be positive (and avoid negative connotations, if you can)
- Evoke an emotional response
- Stay true to your brand essence
Once you’re happy with your brand strapline, you could explore protecting it by trademark. Here’s the link to discover more about how to register a trademark (for UK readers only).
Creating your brand strapline is a strategic decision.
It can evolve and grow with your business over time – like the example of L’Oreal with ‘Because You’re Worth It’.
Your strapline inspires your brand messaging and marketing campaigns.
It is meaningful and relevant to your business – and your customers.
It is different from competitors’
And it is easy to say and remember.
Finally, check that you can register and protect your new brand strapline.
So, have fun with working on your brand strapline.
However, if you want help, we’re always here for you.
When we work with clients on their brand strategy, we often find this work generates the ideas for the brand strapline.
Simply drop us a line here
Other things we do include creating brand names and product names – either as part of a branding or rebranding project or in tailored workshops.
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