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Business Strategy

How to Create a Catchy Tagline That Tells Clients You’re ‘the One’

The ultimate driving machine.

A diamond is forever.

Think different.

I’m betting you know those taglines and you’ll have no problem naming all 3 brands (just in case… I’ve shared the answers at the end of this post).

That’s why businesses have taglines.

Great taglines are just a few words long, but that’s more than enough to evoke a brand name in the hearts and minds of ideal clients and customers.

When it’s done right, a powerful tagline can capture the essence of your business and attract a loyal tribe of fans and followers who resonate with your message.

So, your tagline is like a tiny but mighty vehicle — it transports your brand out into the world and can instantly give people insight into what you do and why it matters.

And in this post, I’m going to show you how to create a great one.

But first, let’s go over a few important distinctions…

The Two Types of Taglines

There are essentially 2 types of taglines — Type 1 and Type 2 — and very different directions you can take with each one.

The Type 1 tagline tackles the basics and it conveys what your business is about or what you actually do for people

A Type 2 tagline is an actionable tagline or what I call a slogan headline. It works like a call to action and it motivates your audience to get off the couch and do something!

So here are some great examples…

Mentorhub is a company we worked with and their tagline is “The Future of Online Education.”

This is a great Type 1 tagline because it instantly conveys Mentorhub is on the cutting edge of online education — it conveys what their business is about.

You might have heard of Susan Pierce Thompson and her New York Times bestselling book, Bright Line Eating.

We worked with Susan on her company tagline (you’ll see it on the book jacket) and we came up with “Live Happy, Thin and Free.”

This is a Type 2 tagline where we’re communicating the call to action — the thing that will motivate people — to experience Susan’s amazing Bright Line method.

Our tagline at Live Your Message is “Be the Superhero to Your Tribe.”

And this is also a powerful Type 2 tagline because it’s actionable… it’s essentially asking you to go out there and lead your tribe. 🙂

The Beta Tagline Test

So, when you’re in tagline creation mode, I recommend you put each new tagline you come up with through what I call “The Beta Tagline Test.”

This is a simple 3-question test…

Tagline Question #1:

“Can your tagline get you noticed?”

Tagline Question #2:

“Does it clarify what you do?”

Tagline Question #3:

“Does it communicate why people should care?”

If it’s a YES on all 3 questions, congratulations! You’ve got yourself a kicka$$ tagline. 🙂

But, an important note…

“The Beta Tagline Test” isn’t a do-or-die kind of deal.

If you get a no on a couple of questions, see if you can get to YES by adding your website banner content or company name.

So, let’s take Live Your Message…

As I said before, “Be the Superhero to Your Tribe” is our tagline. It definitely gets us noticed, so that’s a YES for Question 1.

There’s some clarity on what we do in our company name — you’ll get the idea that it’s something to do with messaging.

And when you look at our website, you’ll see our navigation menu bar at the top includes items like “Branding and Web Design.”

This adds even more clarity on what we do, so that’s a YES for Question 2 as well.

Then there’s our main banner or “hero banner” on our homepage with this provocative question in big, bold font…

“How do you stand out from the noise of a billion websites?”

This communicates why people should care. That’s a YES for Question 3!

And so, between our tagline, company name, and website banner content, we get a YES on all 3 questions. 🙂

One important pitfall to look out for…

Lots of entrepreneurs fall in love with a clever or witty tagline that doesn’t make any sense to their target audience. They’ll see catchy slogans or catchphrases like…

    • I’m lovin’ it (McDonalds)
    • Can you hear me now? (Verizon)
    • Think outside the bun (Taco Bell)
    • Melts in your mouth, not in your hands (M&Ms)
    • Got milk? (California Milk Processor Board)
    • Just do it (Nike)
    • The happiest place on earth (Disneyland)

…and think, “hey, I should do that too.”

But all it does is confuse their audience.

So, even if you think you have the smartest, sassiest, snappiest, tagline on the planet, if it’s confusing or unclear, there’s only one thing to do… dump it!

Not All Businesses Need Taglines (& What to do if Yours Does)

It’s true.

Not all businesses need taglines.

If you have a business name that’s extremely literal — maybe something like Coaching for ADHD or Be A Better Blogger — then you probably don’t need a tagline because you already have a Type 1 tagline in your company name. 

But if you’re playing a bigger game and you do lots of different things and have a lot of different offers in your business, then it’s good to have a tagline that helps people get a clearer picture of what you do.

And when you’re ready to create a tagline, here’s what I recommend…

Decide early on if you want to focus on a Type 1 or Type 2 tagline.

Then see if you can answer YES to all 3 questions on “The Beta Tagline Test” either with just your tagline or, if that doesn’t work, think about getting those 3 yes-es with your website or company name.

Before I go, here are the brand names that match the taglines at the start of this post:

  1. BMW
  2. De Beers
  3. Apple

Did you get all of them? 🙂

Your Turn

What’s your company tagline? Is it a Type 1 or Type 2? Does it pass “The Beta Tagline Test”?

And if you don’t have a tagline yet, what are some of your favorite brand name taglines?

Share in the comments below… I read and reply to every single one!

Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. Jim Brown

    My business is real estate working with Seniors as they downsize into retirement. My tagline is Making Retirement “Rockin’ Chair Easy! Any thoughts?

    Jim Brown

    Reply ·
  2. Nguyen Tran

    Marisa,
    I need your support on taglines.

    Reply ·
  3. Nguyen Tran

    Marisa, that is a great suggestion about taglines. I will think about setting up a few taglines and let you know. My business has five systems so taglines are a good start.

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      Totally great place to start!

      Reply ·
  4. DIANE M DEVENYI

    My company is called “The Learning Force” and we specialize in literacy and learning fundamentals that merge the science of happiness with the science of learning. Our type ! tag line is, “Bringing learning to life”

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      Love that merger Diane… I like the tagline but it doesn’t quite capture this intersection which feels really exciting and unique to you.

      Reply ·
  5. Nancy Shanteau

    I’m playing around with “The Collective Liberation Toolkit” as my tagline. What do you think? I teach Skills for Change, a power-informed, embodied change methodology that empowers people to do their human homework, design their lives, and take collective action in their communities.

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      It’s a great start. And I’d recommend something more personal and benefit-oriented. 🙂

      Reply ·
  6. Kriszti

    Hi Marisa!
    I am working with Chinese astrology and Qi using coaching tools. I do 1:1 consultation and group programs but I don’t have a big online presence.
    My Tagline idea: Your Energy is Shaping Your Future
    My 2nd tagline: Step into Your Superpower with Astrology.

    What do you think?
    Thank youuu!

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      I prefer the second to the first! 🙂

      Reply ·
  7. Valerie-Ann Fischer

    Hi Marisa. I help entrepreneurs grow their business with digital marketing and sales strategies using research-based brain science.
    I was thinking along the lines of..
    Sales is in the Brains
    Mind the How of Your Business
    Brain Marketing

    Thoughts?

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      I love the approach and I’m not sure the tagline quite captures the full benefit.

      I prefer something like The Science of Sales Conversion.

      Reply ·
  8. Francis Wasajja

    Thank you madam Marisa for that article, but when am choosing a tagline does it need to be in line with philosophy of my business or more about my business value preposition?

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      Francis there are different kinds of taglines… and you want to match your tagline to your business name so the answer is that it depends. 🙂

      Reply ·
  9. Robin Hardy

    Great article, this is so true. So many times we forget the company name, however that tagline is stuck in your head. Definitely has started me to think differently about that tag line, far more important than I had previously thought. Thank you for the nudge!

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      Thanks Robin! And certainly…taglines matter 🙂

      Reply ·
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About the Author Marisa Murgatroyd

Marisa is the founder of Live Your Message, where she turns entrepreneurs into Online Superheroes, and the creator of Start With You where she helps people just like you to discover the business they're meant to build, not just the business they can build. At 4’11 and a quarter, she’s called the shortest woman in marketing — and that doesn’t stop her from having huge ideas. She’s the “go to” brand builder for industry luminaries and heavyweights such as Justin Livingston, Callan Rush, Danny Iny, Alexis Neely and Susan Peirce Thompson. Marisa helps entrepreneurs create a business that is authentic and aligned with who they are, to empower them to turn up the dial on their “inner superhero”, so they can be the superhero to their tribe, as well as in their own lives.

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